October is Family History Month and there is no better way to celebrate than by making a family tree. There are several ways to make a family history tree, from simple to elaborate. Here are some ideas that will get you going on tracing your lineage.
The simplest form of a family tree is to start with your name at the top or bottom of a piece of paper and then branch off each generation to as far back as your grandparents. Chances are your parents will know the birthdays and full names of your grandparents so you can ask them. This simple tree is just recognition of your direct relatives by their names and birthdates. You can draw in a tree first or just list their names on a piece of paper.
If you want your project to have more pizzazz and still be on paper, get a piece of poster board and add text and pictures of your relatives and ancestors. Go back as far as you can with photos or portraits of people that you know of. Start with a photo of you at the bottom of the paper and then branch upwards to your parents. Write their names and birthdates under their pictures. Then proceed upward to your grandparents and so on.
Pictures can be wallet-sized to save space. Try to use scans of original photos if they are older pictures that have only one copy. Your local photo processing store or photocopying service can provide a way to scan them electronically into a computer and print out a viable copy for you so the original picture stays intact. Use these copies to post on your poster. When you’re finished, hang the poster in a prominent place in the house.
Perhaps the most elaborate family tree you can make is on your home computer. Make it a web-based design that you can post to your homepage. Start with you and your picture. Have an audio clip and video clip of you talking about your life and what your family tree means to you. Then have a link to a similar page about your parents. Have their picture and voice and video as well. Add links about where your parents were born, where they lived, and add pictures of as many people as you want.
When you go back far enough to ancestors that are no longer living, add links about the history of the places they are from and people they knew. Scan old letters or diary entries that your ancestors may have written. Add your own audio comments on their page and talk about your thoughts when you first discovered new information about your family.
A family tree, and especially an online one, is a fantastic way to celebrate Family History Month. Preserve your family memories now and add information as you find out more to your website.