Humanities › History & Culture How to Design and Catalog Your Family Tree Share Flipboard Email Print Andrew Bret Wallis/Digital Vision/Getty Images History & Culture Genealogy Genealogy Fun Basics Surnames Vital Records Around the World American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated September 03, 2018 While tracing your ancestry back as far as possible is fun, it's even better when you can present the findings in a handsome family tree chart. From hand-drawn genealogy charts to computer-generated ancestor trees, there are many different ways to chart and display your family history. Create It Yourself If you want to create something personal and your family is fairly small, consider creating your own family tree. You can draw the basic connections in a line-and-box format, or get more creative by embellishing with vines, flowers, etc. You can also display the family in an actual tree format, using the roots for descendants and leaves (or apples) for the ancestors. Can't draw a straight line? Try a flowchart or diagramming program to create any chart you can imagine. Branch Out With Software While most genealogy software programs offer basic computer-generated family tree charts, you can get even better results by taking advantage of add-on programs. For example, Legacy Charting Companion expands the charting capabilities of the Legacy Family Tree program, allowing you to create and print a variety of ancestor, descendant, hourglass, fan and bowtie charts ranging in size from 8.5-by-11-inch printouts to 9-foot displays. Use a Chart Printing Service If you want a pretty family tree chart without having to deal with designing and printing, try one of the many Family Tree chart printing services that specialize in printing large family trees in both color and black and white. Some, such as Family Tree Illustration will custom design a chart for you, while others allow you to select from a number of different formats. Some require a family tree file in GEDCOM format, but some work from your own handwritten family tree. Perfect for family reunions and large frames, charts can usually be printed in large format. Pre-Printed Charts Make it Simple From basic pedigree charts to elaborate, rose-covered fan charts, pre-printed genealogy charts make it easy to display your family tree in style. A number of simpler family tree charts are available for free download online. Other, more elaborate family tree charts are available for purchase from various vendors. Designer Family Trees If you're looking for something a little fancier, innumerable calligraphers and artists can render your family tree on vellum or parchment with hand-drawn letters and elaborate designs. For example, Marie Lynskey charges anywhere from $150 for a simple four-generation family tree lettered on parchment to more than $1500 for an illustrated family tree with numerous generations displayed on vellum. Park City, Utah-based artist Saundra Diehl turns dull family tree charts into a work of art, using watercolor and pen and ink to create a custom watercolor painting of your family tree on aged parchment.