Getting Started | Charts & Family Group Sheets
Researching family history is like trying to put together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Once you’ve got one piece in place, you’ll need to find two more to go with it and if you don’t place the puzzle pieces together correctly, you’ll never see the finished picture. To ensure that all your pieces end up in the correct position you should consider using genealogical charts and family group sheets to record the information you find in your research.
Pedigree Charts and Family Group Sheets are two of the most common ways to record genealogical information. On these forms, you record your ancestors’ names, as well as the dates and locations of the births, marriages and deaths. These forms essentially function as a master outline of your genealogical material, allowing you to understand at a glance where you have gaps in your research.
A pedigree chart begins with you and progresses back through your ancestor’s generations.
The first individual named on the left of the chart is the one whose ancestry the tree records. You should begin by putting yourself at the top of your first pedigree chart. The chart then divides into two sections to illustrate your parents, then into four sections to show your grandparents, and so on. This chart solely shows your ancestors; there is no room on a pedigree chart for siblings, multiple marriages, or other family relationships.
Family Group Sheets
While a pedigree chart identifies your ancestors and shows a summary of many generations within one family, a family group sheet is based on a single-family unit – husband, wife and children. A family group sheet has room for each family member’s basic genealogical events, such as dates and locations of birth, marriage, death, and burial. A spouse’s name, as well as the date and location of the marriage, can be provided for each child on the list.
Family Group Sheets are an important family history tool because they: