Charts, Forms, and Diagrams – Oh, My!

Every genealogist knows that it can be difficult to keep your genealogy papers organized.  Disorganization can lead to having to re-do research that you’ve already done because you can’t find it, retracing your steps when you don’t need to do so, or accidentally researching someone else’s tree.  But how is a genealogist to keep it all straight?

Charts, Forms, and Diagrams

Charts, forms, and diagrams can help a researcher organize the large amount of data that has been collected.  I think everyone knows the basic charts, such as a pedigree chart and a family group sheet.  But did you know that there are so many more free charts, forms, and diagrams available for downloading or printing from the web (a great place to look is Cyndi’s List)?  There are a variety of charts for different styles, needs, and wants.  For example, one of my favorites is the Goal-Oriented Research Form from ShoeStringGenealogy.

But if you cannot find one that suits your needs or wants, then I highly suggest that you make one.  By using a word processor program or spreadsheet program, it is no longer a difficult task to create charts, forms and diagrams  (For a free word processor and spreadsheet program, I suggest OpenOffice).  There is also the option to just hand-draw your own charts, forms, or diagrams.

As a visual person, it is important for me to be able to see the details of my family tree.  I am a huge fan of sitting on my bedroom floor and laying out every piece of evidence when trying to solve an ancestral puzzle.  This helps me see any time gaps that need to be filled and provides me with ideas of other records to search.

What charts, forms, and diagrams (other than pedigree charts and family group sheets) do you regularly use?

Further Reading/Watching:

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3 responses to “Charts, Forms, and Diagrams – Oh, My!

  1. I’ve been trying to locate a paper descendant chart for sometime now. Maybe I’ll have to make one up for myself.
    Regina´s last blog post ..Wordless Wednesday – Portrait of Alvina May Montgomery

  2. I’ve been making a timeline of my latest brick wall with (, and find it really great for creating a visual snapshot of the data collected.

    In the notes, I can add the source of the info and a reminder to order any records I need.
    Stacey Waspe´s last blog post ..Thursday June 15, 1950Faith, Sarah and I went to town by bus,…

  3. Karen Packard Rhodes

    Once upon a time, I lost track of a copy of a newspaper clipping and a handwritten notice for publication in a newspaper dating from the 1880s having to do with my great-great grandmother’s divorce from my great-great grandfather, who had deserted her and their children. I looked everywhere and did not find these documents. I decided to make a tracking sheet to keep track of my documents. The sheet records the description of the document, the name or names of the ancestor or ancestors the document pertains to, the binder in which the document resides (kept by the name of the individual ancestor or the names of the married couple), the temporary location, the date removed, the reason for which it was removed, and the date returned to its proper binder. A blank copy of the form is placed at the front of each binder.

    Eventually, I did find the documents that I had lost track of, and they are back in their proper binder. So one can make one’s own forms, and it is a good idea to examine your situation and decide if you need to create a form or forms to cover certain contingencies.

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