28    Sep 20080 comments

Recording your data: Charts and templates

Now that you've started researching your family history, have you wondered about the most efficient way to record all this wonderful information?

Of course, you are entering names and data into your MyHeritage.com online Family Tree Builder software. But you would like other helpful information to assist in recording family information.

If you don't want to scribble down information while visiting a cemetery, there are cemetery transcription forms. While working with censuses, transcribe the information onto a blank form for the correct year (questions asked vary by year). Keep track of your research so you won't find yourself duplicating work in the future. There's even a research log, which will help to remind you what questions you need to answer and what sources might hold the required information.

There are several useful sites which offer free downloadable templates and blank genealogy charts, research logs and other very useful documents, and even that research question sheet, like this:

Click to view photo in full size

Some are available as PDF files or as Word documents; some are free in one format with a minimal charge for another.

These charts are useful for projects by researchers of all ages, from children to professional genealogists.

Here are some possibilities.

FamilyTreeTemplates

This site offers 20 different kinds, including three, four, and six-generation family trees, trees with and without graphics, trees with room for photos, traditional trees and ones suitable for kids. Download and print for free in PDF form (requires free downloadable Adobe Readert) or a for-fee ($4 each) fully editable MS Word.doc version.

Genealogy.about.com

This site offers three free family tree charts, such as traditional family tree charts, fan and pedigree charts. The forms require the free Adobe Reader to open and use. It also offers free interactive census forms, free genealogy forms such as pedigree charts and family group sheets, a genealogy relationship calculator chart and more.

Ancestors

The US television program site offers free PDF format charts for pedigree, family group record, research questions, research log, source notes, record selection guide, an instructional video index.

If you need large family charts for family celebrations or reunions, for use indoors and out, try Heartland Family Graphics.

Their offerings range from wall-size charts (up to 37 feet long), specialty papers, vinyl banners for outdoor use and acid-free paper for archival preservation. Check the site for prices.

Family Tree Magazine

The magazine also offers free forms and charts. traditional forms plus those for note-taking, cemetery transcription and others.

Another option for printing large charts

I frequently prepare large family charts for gifts and family celebrations. I take the family tree on a flash drive or CD to an engineering blueprint office. The charts are enlarged and printed on heavy-duty long-lasting blueprint paper (there are several types). The cost is reasonable and the waiting time only a few minutes to a few hours, depending on how many other projects are in line.

An additional advantage is that the shop's owners, staff - even other customers waiting to pick up orders for architects and engineers - become interested in what I'm doing when they see the results. They ask questions on how to get started on their own family histories. Family history is so much more interesting than construction plans!

Have you downloaded free charts? Which ones have been the most useful? Have these forms helped you organize your research? I'd like to hear from readers.

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