How to make a 5 generation family tree chart

Written by andrea buckner schoenherr
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Email

A five-generation family tree chart will show you and your direct ancestors through your great-great grandparents. This will provide a valuable family history record for you and generations to come. Although family trees can be arranged in many ways, the most common follows the pedigree chart guidelines.

Skill level:

Other People Are Reading

Things you need

  • Rough draft
  • Family tree template

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Complete your research. For each person on the chart you will need the following information: full name, date of birth and, if applicable, date of death. Some more detailed charts also contain marriage dates and the location for each birth, marriage, and death. Start your research with what you already know, then begin to interview family members. If oral history does not provide all five generations, you will need to visit libraries and vital statistics offices.

  2. 2

    Create a rough draft of your family tree. Pedigree family tree charts follow a bracket system. It is similar to brackets used for sports playoffs. Start with a single line for you, the most recent generation. Sketch or print out a chart. See the Resources section of this article for templates.

  3. 3

    Follow the standard pedigree chart pattern to make sure your family tree is easy to understand. The father's (paternal) information will be placed on top of the mother's (maternal) information in each bracket.

  4. 4

    List names following a consistent format. Names that are quickly and carelessly recorded can cause confusion, says genealogist Marcia D. Yannizze Melnyk, author of "Family History 101." She explains a basic process to make reading a family tree easy. Capitalise all letters in each last name so it is easy to identify. If middle names are known, spell out the complete name because this can provide more clues and details to a family history than just an initial. Put any nicknames frequently used in quotation marks. Finally, always use a female's maiden name.

  5. 5

    Record dates in a consistent format. The date 1/4/45 could be interpreted as January 4, 1845 by someone from the United States but interpreted as April 1, 1945 by someone from Europe. To avoid this confusion record the date, month, then complete year. For example, 4 JAN 1945 leaves no room for confusion.

  6. 6

    Record locations following a specific format. List from the smallest to largest geographical location. For example, Norwalk, Huron County, OH, US would be acceptable. Only use standard abbreviations.

  7. 7

    Create the final copy of your five-generation family tree chart. You can sketch your own chart, use a template, buy an elegant wall chart or create a digital online version. Creating an online family tree is benefical because you can easily share the tree with other family members and they can add more ancestors to the tree. See the list of resources for several online family-tree generators.

Tips and warnings

  • Double-check all information. Spelling mistakes are common on records.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.