A family tree is a simplified chart which represents a family’s genealogy over the course of time and it gets its name due to the fact that the chart itself forms a tree as it goes further back in the annals of time. While the family tree is considered to be the simplest form of the lineage chart, the more detailed and complex version is known as a genogram.
Generally speaking, a family tree actually grows downward starting with the oldest known descendants and then working its way down from there, but for simplicity reasons, most people draw from bottom to top instead.
The concept of utilising the image of a tree can be traced back to medieval times and the art called Tree of Jesse which was the first time that the tree was used to illustrate the genealogy of a Christ as in the terms of the prophet Isaiah. While this may have been the first time that a tree was used to illustrate one’s lineage, it would not be the last, and ever since that time, the family tree has been known by no other name. However, the largest family tree that has ever been traced is that of Confucius. Confucius was an educator and philosopher who lived in China back in 551 till 479 BC. As such, this particular family tree covers over 80 generations and has more than 450 branches of which contains the names of more than a million people from around the world whose roots can be traced back to Confucius.
There are various themes that family trees follow and there is no real set pattern to create one as long as you can trace back your lineage. In the case that you can successfully trace your lineage then you can theme your family tree in any shape or form that you personally see fit to do so. Furthermore, a family tree can be done in more than one way. The standard family tree starts with one particular ancestor and then traces all the branches throughout time to the youngest currently living relatives. Another form is to trace that from a particular person straight to another particular person or even start at you and then work your way back.
The manner in which you perform your family tree is up to you and your own personality. Furthermore, this concept of the family tree can be used on a number of potential things including the tracing of your pet’s pedigree or even the holders of a particular position (government position or corporate position).
In all basic form, the family tree is a graphical representation of one’s lineage. One can easily look at a family tree and see the links through time but looking at a sheet of paper is no better than the months, years or decades that you spent looking through census data, it just makes things easier.
Original Authors: Nick (Globel Team)
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 14/08/2008