Updated 22 November 2020
Do you need a way to showcase those one-of-a-kind family photos? Why not create a heritage scrapbook with a family tree page?
Genealogical scrapbooks provide a picture of the generations who shaped our current and future family. A family tree diagrams familial relationships between people across several generations.
When you put a tree page in a family history scrapbook, you offer a powerful visual tool to see who is related to whom.
What Types of Family Trees Can You Create?
Since a family history scrapbook provides a snapshot of the past, your goal should always be to keep your designs simple. The most common layouts you can include are as follows.
1. Pedigree Chart
A pedigree chart, also known as an ancestry chart, displays your direct ancestors back through each generation. Boxes represent individuals with lines connecting to their parents. These boxes and lines continue connecting parents to their parents for each generation. These charts are typically arranged horizontally with the current generation on the left and the ancestors’ progress to the right.
2. Fan Chart
A fan chart is similar to a pedigree chart in that it displays a person’s direct ancestors going back several generations. However, instead of using boxes and lines, the ancestors appear in semi-circles around a central person. Each ring of ancestors represents one generation, with the closest arcs representing parents, then grandparents, then great-grandparents, and so forth.
3. Descendant Chart
This of this chart as they reverse of the pedigree chart. A descendant chart begins with an ancestor or ancestral couple and then links to their children and children in-laws, which connects to their children’s children and spouses, and on for several generations.
While these represent many of the basic family tree styles, some families might need a more complicated tree. In this video, Cool Family Tree Wall Charts to Showcase Complex Trees. I have highlighted some of those heritage designs.
What Do You Need to Create a Family Tree Page?
To create a family tree in your genealogy scrapbook, you need a basic structure. Choose one of the types described above.
Gather your information. You'll need names of your ancestors, dates of birth, and death are optional.
If you have headshots of your ancestors, even if you have to crop to their faces, consider using them.
Perhaps you don’t have photos of everyone on your tree. Can you still use images? Yes!
Include what you have. Who knows, you just might come across a photo to add to complete the tree in the future.
Scrapbook Pro Tip: Limit how much genealogical information you include and how many generations you showcase. Do not add visual chaos by trying to add too much.
You can generate your family tree using the free genealogy website FamilySearch, navigating to their family tree views, and printing one of the styles.
Once you know the basics of using PSE, you can create a world of possibilities.
Family Tree Scrapbook Page Examples
The first example reflects a traditional pedigree chart.
I used a vintage gray background paper overlayed with darker and lighter brown boxes to represent the paternal and maternal lines. I added the photos I have and the names I know at the time of the scrapbook's printing.
Scrapbook Pro Tip: If you do not have information for a space in your family tree, leave it blank. It's okay to have blank spaces on your family tree. Someday, you might be able to add to it.
For a more creative family tree that still uses the pedigree concept, I created this layout. The three branches on the left display the ancestors of Louise Brown. The ancestors on the right feature the ancestors of Louise Long.
This example only has one person at the trunk of the family tree, and all of the ancestors above belong to Louise. Notice Lousie connects to her parents Harry and Lura. Then on the left side of the tree, you'll see Harry's ancestors. On the right side, you'll find Lura's.
Perhaps you want your mother, or yourself, to appear at the top of your family tree layout. Then the ancestors appear in rows below. Notice the yellow boxes highlight Betty's father's ancestor couples. The box boxes record her mother's ancestors.
This example includes a fan chart. Notice that Bob is in the semi-circle in the center, and then his name has rings surrounding him. The green arc segments indicate his direct paternal ancestors. The blue sections record the names of his maternal ancestors.
This example showcases a simple descendant chart. Notice the ancestral couple on the left column - George and Evaline Geiszler. Their three children appear below their brief biographical sketch.
The right column highlight's George's daughter Marguerite and her two children. On the next page (not shown), you will see a similar column for George's son George. If you choose this design, keep adding pages with columns until you feature each child.
If you run out of children before completing all of the columns, add one column with the same layout as the ancestral couple (see the tan column above). Then repeat those design elements but add additional photos of the couple and or their family group photos.
Another variation on family tree pages for your genealogy scrapbooks include adding mini-trees to a specific layout. By sprinkling these throughout your multi-generational project, you can help your reader quickly recognize relationships. For more on these pages, read the blog post Using Mini Trees On Your Heritage Scrapbook Layouts.
Family Tree Pages Are the First Thing Viewed in A Heritage Scrapbook
Family Tree Pages should be one of the first pages included in any heritage scrapbook.
Because nearly everyone turns this kind of layout first when they initially flip through a family history scrapbook. My mother did it. My aunts did it. Other friends and strangers had done it when they looked at my completed projects.
Have fun creating family tree pages for your heritage scrapbook. Then come back and let me know what you designed.