3 Uses For a Family Tree

Carmen D. Lade

The number one reason to make a family tree is to answer questions. If you love jigsaw puzzles, mysteries and detective work, you will love genealogy. If you are doubtful about facts and are full of curiosity, you will enjoy genealogy. If you are thorough, cautious, resourceful and have a scientific bent, you will be able to answer these questions.

  • Who am I? Where did I come from? Who are my grandparents, uncles and aunts? I have eight grandparents? Wow. Today with many remarried and divorced parents, you may have many grandparents and great grandparents.
  • Why do I have green eyes? Why do I love to dig in the dirt looking for gems and minerals and to plant flower and vegetable gardens? Maybe it is because three of my grandfathers were miners. Why am I drawn overseas? Maybe it is because my grandparents and great grandparents sailed across the ocean sometimes many times.
  • Who are those people in those old pictures hanging on the walls? Why do people whisper about some people mentioned in letters or in phone calls? So many unanswered questions.

Another good use for a family tree is to follow genetic differences in the family. Many, many diseases are known to have a heredity factor. Since the cracking of the genome, scientists have found more and more about genetic diseases and how abnormalities in your genetic material cause disease.

If your ancestors had or have a known genetic disease, you may consider your choices when you plan a family. There is more and more help available to unravel these mysteries of unknown diseases. If nothing else, you will understand why a child or parent behaves as they do.

The third reason to make a family tree is to see the entire family all at once. It is too easy to lose a member if you do not carefully chart and document him. There are many software programs online that help you make a complete family tree. They can be plain or as fancy as you want. There are family group sheets, research logs, pedigree charts, census forms and correspondence sheets to keep track of the letters you send and receive. There are ascending and descending charts and different fan charts. If you can do calligraphy, there are blank charts you can fill in. Be sure to have your family members identified and confirmed before you start the family tree.

You will have a reason to be proud if you make a beautiful family tree with all the facts confirmed, all the pictures identified, and all the members included.

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