Your family is one of the most special parts of your life. Creating a family tree is one of the easiest ways to preserve your family history and recall the lives of those who have gone before you. It is both fun and meaningful to organize a craft like this. But it’s no small task! Here are a few tips for how to build a family tree.
Start With the Names
The best place to start is with the names of your nearest relatives. Build off the people you already know since you are familiar with their names and lives. Try finding some family records or heirlooms to get the process going. The hardest part will be finding the names of relatives beyond two or three generations in the past. But it will be rewarding once you discover their names and see where you came from. Who knows, you might find a really fun and unique name if you go far back enough!
Define the Relationships
Once you have all the names written down, look to draw the lines and define the relationships between the people you have recorded. This can be a tedious process, so take notes during the name-finding phase to make this part easier. Come up with a system that makes sense to you when drawing the connections. As far as the design, use lines at this stage—this is just a helpful way to take notes. Consider marking marriages, children, divorces, stepchildren, and even second cousins with different types of lines or colors to keep it all straight.
Check With Your Relatives for Information
Connecting with your relatives to gather information can be an especially meaningful part of the family tree–building process. Reach out to the oldest relatives in your family and ask them about their parents and grandparents—try to gather information about your ancestors as far back as they can remember. In the process of contacting various relatives, ask about a favorite story they have with the person you are talking about or see if they have any special items from them packed away in their homes.
If you are estranged from some relatives in your family, try reaching out to offer an olive branch. Though this may be hard, making a family tree is all about remembering your connections with others. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about your family history together.
Note Any Stories
In the process of researching for your family tree, you may come across old stories or memories. Ensure these beautiful narratives of family history do not get lost to the ages! Assign a central place where you can record the stories you hear either when chatting with your family or when researching back into the past. When you put it all together, you could have a special family history book to go along with your family tree. You can even consider adding more information to that book as well. There are a lot of ancestry tests you could use to figure out where your family is from and what ethnicities run through your lineage.
Bring It to Reality
Now, decide on the medium you want to use for building your family tree. You can create and order a personalized family with names of your relatives online like what we offer here at Love Is A Rose. Or you can make your own at home with some craft materials. If you are skilled with drawing or painting, you could use a big canvas or poster to artfully create the tree. No matter what route you choose—online or at home—make sure to double check the name spellings and relationship lines before you set anything permanently.
Share With Your Family
If your other family members have not been a part of the process thus far, go ahead and let your family members in on your project! Allow them to see the beautiful family tree you have spent so much time researching and creating. You can host a family reunion or another type of party to honor the occasion and bring your family closer together. Invite family members to share some of the stories you have been hearing through the process. If you decided to compile a book of family stories, have someone read a few of them aloud for everyone to reminisce about and enjoy.
Display It Somewhere Meaningful
Every family is different, so where you decide to display your completed family tree is entirely personal. But no matter where you put it, make sure that it is somewhere you or your family will see it often. You don’t want to hide the beautiful reminders of your past! For example, if you have a mantel or a desk, try putting it there so you can admire it often for many years to come. You put a lot of work into remembering the people in your life, so make sure you put it on display in a place that is just as meaningful.
Update It Over Time
Many families have new additions over time. Marriages and births are causes for celebration, giving you a great excuse to update your family tree. You may not want to completely start over from scratch, but if you do decide to make a new one, pass your old family tree on to a relative. You could also hold more family reunions through the years to mark these new additions to your family and your family tree.
As you embark on your journey into the past, take these tips for how to build a family tree with you. There are many ways to continue learning about your family. When you find something noteworthy or meaningful, keep a record so that you can cherish every little detail. Building a family tree is a fun and sentimental process that is so rewarding when you complete it. You will end up forging deeper connections with your relatives and creating more beautiful memories to hold on to forever.