Your Family Tree

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

How to Make a Family Tree with Photos and Preserve Memories of Your Family



Seeing photos of people makes them seem more real. When I was growing up my mother kept our family's photographs in an empty candy bar box. I think she got it from my great aunt who owned a small grocery store in our town. On Sunday afternoons when we had free time, I liked to get out the box of photos and look through them. I enjoyed seeing the photos of myself, my brother, my sister, and my parents. I enjoyed the photos of our pets and our farm and house and cars. Some photos were of places we had gone to. I enjoyed the memories the photos brought back to me. There were several photos of grandparents, great grandparents, and even great, great grandparents. Sometimes I would like to see if I could figure out who I looked the most like.


My mother died when I was sixteen years old. A year or so before her death she helped me put together a photo album. She identified most of the photos and allowed me to put many of them in my album. I was so grateful she did that. My sister and I looked so much alike when we were little that sometimes my mother even had a hard time remembering which one of us was in the photo. Without her help, I would not have known who the photo was of.


My mother did a lot of research and recording of our family history. She identified our ancestors in the photos. She recorded the basic information of births, marriages, deaths, and family connections. She had many stories about our ancestors. As I got older I enjoyed reading the stories and the family information. But when I was young, I liked the photos the most.

There are many ways to learn more about your family history and to make your family history more a part of your life.

Now that I am older I enjoy connecting the photos with the stories. I really enjoy familysearch.org where I have uploaded the photos and stories that my mother and father had. Every so often someone else will upload a photo of one of my ancestors that I have never seen before. It is such a wonderful thing to sign in to familysearch.org and find new photos or stories that I didn't know anything about. Anyone can create an account at familysearch.org. There is no charge for doing so. You enter your own information and information about your parents and grandparents and other ancestors. You may well find you connect into information that is already on the website, and you may discover a lot of new information that you didn't know about your family. You can upload your own photos and stories which can be shared with other family members.



If you have uploaded photos of your ancestors to familysearch.org, you will be able to create a photo pedigree chart which will include information such as names; birthplace and date; marriage place, and date; names of children born and their birth dates and places; and death dates and places. If others have uploaded photos of your ancestors and connected their photos to them, you will have those photos on your tree. You can select which of several photos of a person that you want to show in your photo pedigree chart. These photo pedigree charts can be downloaded and printed out if you desire. You can choose a landscape view or portrait view. You can also see fan charts and descendency charts which don't include photos.



There are many other things you can do at familysearch.org besides look at your family tree or pedigree chart. You can search for ancestors in many ways including records, images, family trees, genealogies, catalogs, books, and Research Wiki. Under Memories you can upload photos, stories, documents, and audio recordings. You can also choose to help with Indexing which would find more information from documents like census records or birth or death records that will be added to the website.


You can choose some Activities to do. "Where Did I Come From?" shows a map with places marked where your ancestors lived. It will also show you the percentages of countries that your ancestors were from. "All About Me" tells you where your name came from and what it means and gives statistical information during important years in your life. "Compare a Face" will show you which of your ancestors you look most like. "Record My Story" helps you to write your story. "Picture My Heritage" can be used on your mobile phone to put your photo into photos of different countries. Answer "Time Capsule Questions". Record your history with "Keep a Journal My Way". Record your experiences with "My Voice, My Experiences." Explain the story behind a picture with an audio recording or a written record in "Remembering Photos". Document the history with "My Records, Their Records". Play "Family Trivia Game" to learn more about your family. "Eat What They Ate", Walk Where They Walked", "Feel What They Felt", "Touch What They Touched", and "Hear What They Heard" are all ways to connect more with your ancestors. Use "Pioneers and Heroes, Past and Present" to find amazing people in your family.

There are other sites that you can research your family on. Many of the other sites charge a monthly or annual fee, but there are some sites that do not charge a fee to use. There are various features on each site. Some will provide you with a DNA test that can show what your DNA ancestry is. MyHeritage.com offers colorization for black and white photos that are uploaded to their site. You can also play games with your family history from familysearch.com. Here are two sites for games: https://geneopardy.fhtl.byu.edu/ and https://wheel.fhtl.byu.edu/#/. Games are a great way to learn more about your family history and they are a great way to share your family history with other family members.



There are many ways to learn more about your family history and to make your family history more a part of your life. One way to do this would be to keep photos of your family visible in your home. Hang family pictures on your walls. Put photos on everyday items like mugs, blankets, and binders. Feel more connected to your family and have a real sense of identity by doing many of the things listed above.



Would you like to see more ideas for family trees? See several ideas here: https://www.zazzle.com/collections/family_tree-119974002361669587.

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