How to Make a Family Tree on Paper

Updated November 21, 2016

Family trees created on paper are a personal piece of history. A framed family tree makes an interesting keepsake that can be added to as the years go by or passed down from generation to generation.

Gather all the information for your family tree. Write down everyone's full name, birthdays and relationship to one another. Consult family members and any records that they may have to double check the information.

Sketch out the outline of your family tree using the information that you have gathered. This is just a rough draft to see how the tree is shaping up. Beginning in the centre of your paper, write your name. Write the names of your parents above your name and their parents above both of them. Add siblings parallel to each other, attached to the proper parents.

Consider adding birth and death dates whereever you can for each name on your tree. Anniversaries are also a nice touch that adds historical significance to your family tree. When writing down the parents and grandparents, be sure to add maiden names. This is extremely helpful if you plan on conducting more research into your genealogy.

Create your family tree on a good sheet of paper. Choose a size that corresponds to how much information you have gathered. Having the sketch as complete as possible allows you to clearly see what you need.

Write each name and all the dates lightly in pencil. Build the tree from the centre up. Once all the names are filled in, draw decorative details. Sketch out a tree shape. The centre name will be the trunk and then all the branches can be formed around the rest of the family.

Draw over the pencilled in words with an acid free pen. Let the pen marks dry completely and then lightly erase the pencil marks. Use coloured pencils or other art supplies to complete the decorative aspects of your family tree.


Have your family tree professionally framed with an archival mat and frame in order to preserve it for years to come. Do not worry about your handwriting skills. Having a completed tree in your own handwriting will be more important to family then having a professional calligrapher do the wording. Keep any additional information about your family that you come across while researching in a safe place. This priceless information can be used for future projects or handed down to future generations.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Acid free pen
  • Coloured pencils
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