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Family-Tree Fan Chart




We exist today because countless generations of ancestors met, married, and had children, yet we often know little or even nothing about them. As you begin exploring your past, you may discover an ethnic or a national heritage you never knew about, find a family name to give to a new baby, or just explore how your own story fits into the American epic.



  1. Step 1

    Download and print the template onto 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper. For a bigger chart, copy it onto 11-by-17-inch paper at 175 percent. For a 16-by-24-inch chart, copy half of the 11-by-17-inch chart at 125 percent; repeat for other half. Carefully tape enlarged halves together to form template. 

  2. Step 2

    Go over the template's lines with a permanent marker; then trace them with pencil onto a sheet of paper thinner than card stock (you could tape the template to a window, center the paper on top, and lightly draw lines with a pencil, using a ruler if necessary).

  3. Step 3

    Begin by calligraphing your name and birthdate; then proceed to your parents, grandparents, and so on, incorporating dates when you can. Don't worry if you make a small mistake; if you want to undo any calligraph, gently scratch it away using a utility knife or a razor blade. Be careful not to cut through the paper.

  4. Step 4

    Frame the finished product with colored paper behind it to create a decorative border, or take it to a frame shop.

Martha Stewart Living, Volume 68 April 1999



Reviews (25)

  • Cathy Miller 9 Sep, 2012

    I found this very interesting. Thanks for the share.

    family trees

  • cdfyf 17 Sep, 2010

    To StarGaiz, I like simpledelight's suggestion, and since you are only tracing the lines onto a new paper how about using the the space in the middle for your wedding date and place. Also try using a faded color page, like faling leaves or a tree instead of a white page, light enough so the calligraphy is clearly seen.

  • simpledelight 31 Mar, 2010

    To StarGaiz, a little improvement to the template would do. Why don't you put your name and your husband's name in the 2nd row, then put your child(ren)'s name(s) in the "NAME". Hope this help.

  • StarGaiz 22 Mar, 2010

    That last comment (below) I just wanted to add my e-mail address, incase anybody would like to help me out with some answers and suggestions directly :)


  • StarGaiz 22 Mar, 2010

    How might one find a similar template as pretty as the one in the photo? Though appreciated, the offered template is a little modern and not quite so nice looking.
    And as I'm thinking of doing one for our home, I wonder what your suggestions are for a married couple. Do we pretty much just have to make 2 seperate ones, one for each of us, and hang them side-by-side or something? Thanks for your time and consideration :)

  • cann928 12 Feb, 2010

    I need a little help. Just to clear things up a little and make sure I am doing this correctly:

    Above my name - where the first set of arcs are (above "2nd") this is where my mom and dad would go? What goes underneath their names on the second line?

    Then i would continue the same format for the "3rd" arcs for my granparents and so on.

  • benish 6 Mar, 2009

    Very helpful..i Would have never sat down and wrote it...until I found a template..thanks !

  • erinluvstocraft 23 Feb, 2009

    I thought this was such a good idea and filled one out for both of my daughter's rooms. Went to to get some name and birthdates. Turned out great!

  • nikkininer 23 Feb, 2009

    does anyone know a company that will do a family tree for you?

  • Sissy 23 Feb, 2009

    I have the same question as SarahMBruce: what goes on the bottom line, "First Generation"?

  • granmaboat 23 Feb, 2009

    This looks nice hanging. A bit different than the usual "tree". It is harder to include everyone and not take up the whole wall. LOL

  • boring4546 22 Feb, 2009

    Doing a Family Tree you start with yourself first then your mum and dad on the second line, their mum and dad's the third row and so on as far as you can go. This chart doesn't have any room for siblings and their children or spouses family. But if you just want tlo follow the direct line back this is perfect. I have over 2500 people so far in my Family tree and counting. I have also included stories anmd pictures where I can.

  • GabrieleRdB 22 Feb, 2009

    If you are interested in doing an online chart check out the web site; .You can show brothers

  • GabrieleRdB 22 Feb, 2009

    This looks interesting to do. The parents go on the first arcs. Then their parents on the second set of arcs

  • CarolKlar 21 Feb, 2009

    I agree with AuntyRel. Where do you begin writing the names? Do you lay it out vertcially or horizontally? Do you write on the diagonal dotted lines, or the horizontal lines? I need some help here. Thanks, ck

  • AuntyRel 21 Feb, 2009

    I like this idea and would like to do my family tree, but I can't figure out how to do it. Could someone please explain it in more detail starting from my name at the bottom.

  • LisaAhart 21 Feb, 2009

    Fluffnick, you only put your imediate family on the trees. Your siblings would do there's. You list yoru parents, there parents and so forth. some break it down to where they write sheets and put all that info on those sheets. has family info sheets not sure about now but they were free for so many packs of them sent to you. I use them for all the information and use my chart for my parents, grandparents and so on. if you do a google search for family tree charts you can find several there too and your local library will or might have them.

  • winterbeach 21 Feb, 2009

    nice, easy, well explained, timeless and the exact type of craft idea that MS is so famous for.

  • SarahMBruce 21 Feb, 2009

    What is supposed to be entered in the "First Generation" blank? Also, to the commenter about Adobe/Word -- you can download a free copy of Acrobat Reader at

  • georgiaclark 21 Feb, 2009

    Thank you for both of these templates! The calligraphy template is exactly what I have been looking for, and now, I can print out sheets to use so easily. And, the genealogy template is so versatile and easy to use.

    I find so many inspiring ideas here--I don't know how you come up with them.

  • dorrainelmt 29 Aug, 2008

    all this stuff runs with templates on adobe...for some reason mine will not open them...I wish they were on word

  • kimjharvey 7 Aug, 2008

    I also wish I could see a better picture or guideline for this project. It looks really neat, but I can't really tell how to do it.

  • Fluffnick 23 Jun, 2008

    My family is making a family tree and some of the family has eight brothers and sisters. This is cute for very immediate family but doesn't take into account any siblings.

  • barbarabayliswordpresscom 27 Apr, 2008

    It would be nice if we cold see more of the handwriting in the picture, I will try this, I know they sell very narrow calligraphy pens, that should work great on this project.

  • iris68 21 Apr, 2008

    This is very neat project. I would like to see the picture more clearly, though.