You have heard the phrase "family tree" many many times, and yet do you think you can clearly answer the simple question of "what is a family tree"? Is it a chart? Is it a flesh and blood something that is hard to describe? Is it a combination of both?
I decided to answer this question AND actually begin making my own family tree. (You see...I already had my own ideas about just what a family tree might be!). So, the first thing I realized was that "genealogy" and the family tree were not exactly the same things...well, not for my project.
Genealogy is usually defined as a "study of the line of descent", and this does apply to the process of making a family chart, but the family tree is the chart. So, I knew that I wanted to explore our genealogy with the family tree in order to see just how many famous people I might be related to, but I also wanted to make a family chart in order to keep track of our rapidly growing family too.
For instance, I was jotting down the holiday shopping list and realized that I was buying for four generations! Clearly, it wasn't just the history of the family tree, but the current family tree that would be pretty useful.
That's when I ran into my first hurtle. Which "branch" of the tree was easiest to "reach" in order to begin making the family tree chart? You see, I had already decided to make this whole project a sort of "visual" thing and to picture the family tree and genealogy project as an actual tree. There I was, hands on hips, gazing up into this enormous giant of a tree, catching glimpses of a few familiar faces peeking down, but not sure how to make sense of it all.
My solution was to begin using a "ladder" that allowed me up into those branches in order to explore it. What is this ladder? It is the family tree maker available here! It became my primary tool for conducting a thorough search of the family tree, and also for actually diagramming and charting the details.
That means that YOU can also enjoy access to the different family tree templates that can serve as your first "climb" up into those branches. Just start with YOU and follow the many lines running to and from you...believe me, you will be amazed!
So, this is where I leave you for now...no, not stuck up in some tree but happily exploring your own family tree and genealogy. In the next post we'll start to get you a bit more organized up there in all of those branches!