Pedigree Chart

Pedigree charts are one way to record and display information you find on your direct-line ancestors. They do not allow for siblings or their spouses - just for your parents, grandparents, great grandparents etc. The simple pedigree chart gives you room for dates and places of birth or christening, marriage, and death or burial.

Personal Ancestral File (PAF), a computer program you can download for free at, will let you input all sorts of information on your ancestors but, if you select Pedigree Chart to print, it will give you just the bare facts of birth or christening, marriage, and death or burial. It will also truncate the information if necessary so I suggest you limit the number of generations you want to print on one sheet to four, and then print it as "landscape" to make sure you get complete data.

When you input family history information for use as a pedigree chart, stick to a consistent form of entering names, dates and places. You can enter names any way you like on some programs but PAF constrains you to entering the given and middle names (or initial) first followed by the surname. It will ask you to verify that the surname is preceded by //. Do not enter titles such as Dr., Sir or Miss on your pedigree chart - just the name the person was given. Use the maiden name for women. They may have been married several times but they are (except in the case of adoption) only one man's daughter. If you do not know the maiden name of the wife, you may give her name as Mrs. John Smith or Mrs. Mary Smith if necessary for proxy LDS temple ordinances.

Dates should always be entered day, month, and year, for example, 10 Sep 2009. Use the first three letters of the month for your pedigree chart. You can enter the entire month but PAF will abbreviate it anyway. Pedigree charts cannot distinguish between Sep and the number 9 so make sure you write out the name of the month. Also, do not abbreviate the year. You may know the date is in 1832 but someone else might think "32" was in 1932. You can see how confusing 9/10/09 could be if we weren't using standardized format.

Places in your pedigree chart should be entered from smallest to largest, geographically-speaking - city, county, state, country. This depends in large part which country your ancestors were from. In the United States, typically the place would read, for example, "Springville, Utah, Utah, USA" (Utah being the name of the county as well as of the state). Remember to put commas in between the places, since some places have more than one word in it, like Salt Lake City. If you don't know the name of the county or country at the time the event took place, try to determine what it was. You can put commas in between city and state but it is better to be complete. Do not leave spaces. And do not enter the name of the hospital, church or cemetery in the place field. That information can go in Notes.

The problem with pedigree charts (unless you handwrite them, in which case you can put anything you want on them) is that they are not structured to show information on anyone other than your direct-line ancestors, nor even to show all the information you may have on them. They are, however, easy to create simply because you are not required to have as much data on as many people as full family histories allow for.

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