16 Tips for Managing Your Family Tree

Genealogy research is a rewarding and fulfilling hobby that allows you to learn about your family’s history, roots, and ancestry. However, as you uncover more information about your family tree, it can become overwhelming to keep track of all the data, details, and relationships. That’s why it is important to have a solid plan in place for managing your family tree. Here are 15 tips for managing your family tree effectively.

  1. Start With a Family Tree Template: A family tree template provides a visual representation of your family tree and helps you to organize your information in a clear and concise manner. You can find many templates available online, or you can create your own using a spreadsheet or drawing software.
  2. Use a Genealogy Software: Genealogy software is a powerful tool that can help you to manage and organize your family tree information. It allows you to enter data, create reports, and search for individuals and relationships. Some popular genealogy software options include Ancestry, Family Tree Maker, and Gramps.
  3. Store Your Data Securely: Your family tree information is valuable and should be stored securely. Consider using a cloud-based storage solution, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, to store your data and ensure it is accessible from anywhere.
  4. Document Your Sources: Keeping track of your sources is essential for genealogy research. As you gather information, make sure to document where you found it, including the date, location, and name of the source. This will help you to verify the information and will also provide a reference for future researchers.
  5. Use a Consistent Naming Convention: Having a consistent naming convention for individuals in your family tree will make it easier to organize and search for information. Consider using a first name, middle name, and last name format, and ensure that you use the same format for each individual in your family tree.
  6. Organize Your Information: Organizing your information is crucial for managing your family tree effectively. Consider using folders, labels, or tags to categorize your information and make it easier to find later.
  7. Keep a Research Log: A research log is a valuable tool that can help you to keep track of your genealogy research progress. It allows you to document the sources you have used, the questions you have asked, and the information you have found.
  8. Collaborate With Others: Genealogy research is a collaborative effort, and working with others can help you to find new information and uncover new connections in your family tree. Consider reaching out to other family members, genealogy groups, or online communities to collaborate on your research.
  9. Use Genealogy Websites: Genealogy websites, such as Ancestry and Find My Past, offer a wealth of information, including census records, birth, marriage, and death records, and more. These websites can be a valuable resource for finding information about your ancestors and building your family tree.
  10. Keep Your Family Tree Up-to-Date: As you find new information, it is important to keep your family tree up-to-date. Make sure to update your family tree regularly to ensure that it is accurate and complete.
  11. Take Notes and Photos: Taking notes and photos is a valuable way to capture the details of your family tree. Consider taking notes during family interviews, visiting historical sites, or viewing records, and take photos of important documents, gravestones, and other items related to your family history. Keeping track of everything you find and organize it in a clear and concise manner will help you keep track of what you’ve learned and make it easier to refer back to information in the future.
  12. Share Your Family Tree: Sharing your family tree with others can help to preserve your family’s history and provide new insights and connections. Consider sharing your family tree with family members, genealogy groups, or online communities. Share your findings and collaborate with other family members. Involve other family members in your research, share your findings, and work together to uncover new information. Consider sharing your family tree with your close family members or setting up a group chat or email chain to keep everyone in the loop. If you have distant cousins who are also researching their family history, reach out to them and see if you can collaborate on your research. You may be able to fill in gaps in each other’s family trees and help each other solve any mysteries you come across.
  13. Utilize genealogy software to organize your findings. Genealogy software is a useful tool for organizing your family tree and tracking the information you uncover during your research. Many software programs allow you to input your family tree data and create charts, timelines, and other visual aids to help you keep track of your progress. Some programs also include features like automatic citation generation and the ability to export your family tree in a variety of formats, making it easier to share your findings with others.
  14. Don’t be afraid to seek out professional help. If you’re stuck on a certain aspect of your family history research or need help interpreting a document or record, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional genealogist. Professional genealogists have the training, expertise, and resources to help you uncover information and solve mysteries that you may not be able to solve on your own.
  15. Take breaks and come back to your research with fresh eyes. Researching your family history can be a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating process. If you feel stuck or are having trouble making progress, it can be helpful to take a break and come back to your research later with fresh eyes. Take a walk, read a book, or do something else that you enjoy to clear your mind and give yourself a chance to recharge.
  16. Keep a record of your sources and be prepared to verify your findings. Keeping track of the sources you use for your research is an important part of genealogy. Make sure to keep a record of the websites, books, and archives you use, and make note of any documents or records you consult. This will help you keep track of your findings and make it easier to verify the accuracy of your information in the future.

In conclusion, tracing your family history can be a rewarding and fascinating journey. By following these tips and utilizing the resources available to you, you can uncover information about your family’s past, connect with your roots, and preserve your family’s history for future generations. Whether you’re just getting started or have been researching your family history for years, these tips will help you maximize your efforts and find success in your genealogy research.

Types of Genealogy Templates

There are several types of templates available for genealogy research, including:

  1. Family tree templates: These templates provide a visual representation of your family tree and allow you to enter information about each family member, including birth, death, and marriage dates.
  2. Research log templates: These templates help you keep track of your genealogy research, including the sources you’ve used, the information you’ve gathered, and any notes you’ve taken.
  3. Census forms templates: These templates are based on the census forms used by the government and allow you to enter information about each family member, including name, age, occupation, and place of birth.
  4. Pedigree chart templates: These templates are similar to family tree templates but are designed to show the lineage of one person, including parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.
  5. Timeline templates: These templates help you visualize the events in your family’s history, including births, marriages, and deaths, in a chronological order.
  6. Source citation templates: These templates help you keep track of the sources you use in your research, including books, archives, and online resources, and provide a standardized way to cite them in your genealogy work.
  7. Genealogy report templates: These templates provide a way to organize and present the information you’ve gathered in a professional format, including charts, graphs, and narratives.
  8. DNA testing report templates: These templates help you keep track of your DNA test results, including matches, ethnicity estimates, and relatives, and provide a way to visualize and interpret the data.

These templates can be found online, in genealogy software programs, or in books and guides about genealogy research. Using templates can help streamline your genealogy research, make it easier to keep track of your findings, and present your work in a clear and organized manner.

Where can I find genealogy templates online?

There are several places where you can find genealogy templates online, including:

  1. Genealogy websites: Many genealogy websites offer templates, either for free or for a fee, that can be downloaded and used for your genealogy research. Examples of such websites are Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, and MyHeritage.com.
  2. Genealogy software programs: Many genealogy software programs offer templates for creating family trees, research logs, pedigree charts, and other genealogy documents. Examples of such programs are Gramps, Legacy Family Tree, and RootsMagic.
  3. Genealogy forums and groups: Genealogy forums and groups, such as the Genealogy Insider and Genealogy Today, often have members who are willing to share templates and resources that they have created or found online.
  4. Genealogy blogs and websites: Genealogy blogs and websites, such as the Genealogy Bank, offer free templates and resources that can be downloaded and used for your genealogy research.
  5. Microsoft Office templates: Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, offers several genealogy templates that can be used to create family trees, research logs, and other genealogy documents.

You can find genealogy templates by searching for “genealogy templates” in your favourite search engine or by visiting specific genealogy websites and software programs. Before downloading and using any templates, be sure to check the source and read any instructions or usage agreements to ensure that the templates are suitable for your needs and compatible with your computer and software.


Published by Darrell Gibbs

A father of three children and five grandchildren who retired in 2015 and began a career as a non-fiction writer in genealogy resource ebooks for new family historians. Aspiring towards the future as a Historical Fiction Author of his premier book "Wessex Reign".

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