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Somerset & Dorset
Family History Society

Creating a Family Tree

As the amount of information you have collected about your family grows, you will need to organise it and will probably start to input data into one of the many Family History programs. We do not specifically recommend any program, but would advise you to ‘shop around’ and also bear in mind that data held only online is not necessarily secure or permanent. You should always keep a back-up of your family history files and can also export them as GEDCOM files which can then be imported into most genealogical programs.

Any of the programs will have the ability to generate reports or generational family trees but they may not do so in exactly the format you want and you may well experience problems in printing from them, especially as you trace your family further back, and sideways!

Barbara Elsmore has been experimenting with designing and formatting her own family tree to show exactly what she wants it to show, including images of people where she has them, and you can read about it in her post on our blog. She has also written a guide as to how she achieved the tree that you can see here. 

One of the advantages of having a print-out of a personalised family tree like this, with its many photographs, is that you can easily show the results of your research to family members who might not be familiar with traditional family tree formats, and, hopefully, increase their interest in family history. 

We would welcome feedback about the guide – how helpful you found it, and whether it inspires you to prepare your own family tree. Please email Barbara, or write to her c/o SDFHS, Broadway House, Peter St., Yeovil, Somerset BA20 1PN.