Family Tree Outline - How to Present Your Family Tree in the Best Possible Way
- You have the research material to build your family tree but have trouble organizing it all in a coherent visual presentation? If that's the case, your best bet is to take a look at various family tree outlines and decide which one best serves your needs. There is no universal one size fits all formula: family trees can be very varied, ranging from highly skewed to highly dense to very deep. Here are some possible outline formats in a broad categorization.
Simple Outlines. These include the traditional branching of nodes from the root. The branching can take place horizontally (from left to right or from right to left) or vertically (from top to bottom or bottom to top) depending on your preference. You may want to decide ahead of time if one of your goals is to display your final product. If that's the case, then its size, depth and breadth will determine the type of orientation of the tree you are building. A variation on this theme is the pedigree family tree that can be used for more complex genealogy projects. Choosing this option will make it easier to show relationships among the family members.
Individual-centric outlines This type of family tree outline is used to present the ancestry of a particular individual and can come in a variety of designs. The bow tie outline keeps the individual at the center and the parents on either side. This is repeated for the parents, and as a result, a bow tie family tree extends outwards, resembling-- you guessed it!-- a bow tie. A variation is the fan chart in which instead of branching off horizontally, the parents are placed in concentric circles around the individual at the center. This format is generally better for deeper family trees extending to include many generations.
Media friendly outlines Today most genealogists build their family tree online. This approach offers such huge scope for inclusion of data, as well as for editing, modifying and researching. Chances are, you will also want your tree to be rich with data like pictures and videos. Therefore there are special outlines that are especially suited for the job of displaying media rich information along with the basic information for each family member. No wonder that these outlines are gaining prominence.
The great thing about the many online tools available to today's genealogists is that they give us a chance to try various formats and compare them. They also allow us greater flexibility: it's always possible to use one format for the purposes of sharing certain data with other family members and another for the purposes of coming up with something you can display.
The final outline you choose should be determined based on the structure of your family tree and also on your needs. For example, to share online, a media friendly outline would be naturally preferable. On the other hand, for display purposes, you might want to choose a traditional family tree outline with custom made designs to make the family tree unique in appearance.