A family tree is a terrific way to trace heritage and learn more about our origins. A hard copy of this can be used for reference when teaching children about their history. It makes a beautiful display of our ancestry that can be hung and displayed on the wall at home.
Printing a beautiful family tree starts with templates, specialist programs, or standard computer software. Once we are happy with the design and content, the family tree can be printed at home through a genealogy site or professional printing services.
This article will cover what, where, and how to print a beautiful family tree. You can choose to do it yourself or take advantage of the selection of professional genealogy services. So, are you ready to learn more about printing a family tree? Read more about it below.
How Do I Print My Entire Family Tree?
One of the easiest options for printing an entire family tree is from genealogy websites. Most major sites will allow printing directly from a customer account. Some are even partnered with professional printing services.
How someone prints their family tree depends on their source of information. Plenty of online resources will allow them to record their lineage into a chart that is easy to follow and print. Of course, there is always the option to print it at home.
We’ll give some insight into the benefits of different printing options and some suggested genealogy services, which can make the process easy. We’ll also guide you using standard computer programs to create a family tree at home.
Genealogy software can be purchased or downloaded, allowing us to print out our family trees. If we want extra features to add to a basic family tree, we can acquire add-ons or use printing services.
There are dedicated family tree printing services that will design the tree for the customer, or they can print off a document from the source. There can be many variations in style, and it can be a quick option to make a beautiful family tree.
It’s also possible to do it ourselves. We can use free computer programs and creativity to make a beautiful family tree. Plenty of inspiration is available online to help us create our family trees, which we can print directly from our computers.
Want some more information about downloads and printables? Read this article we wrote: The Best Downloads and Printables for Genealogy.
How to Print a Family Tree from Online Genealogy Websites
The internet offers many options for printing a family tree, big or small, pretty or plain, simple or extensive. You should be able to find what you’re looking for.
Before you can start thinking about printing a family tree, you’ve got to have a family tree and basic information about the names and important dates of the members of your family.
Family trees can be as small as 2-3 generations or as far back as you can find. Ask family members for any information you need or use a free service like FamilySearch, which is a great place to find information on your ancestors that you may not know yet, but someone else has researched and found.
If you’re brand new to genealogy and family history, the first place to find a blank family tree to fill out is google. There are lots of free family tree (aka pedigree chart) templates online. Just download, print, and start writing what you know. We’ve got a free printable you can use in our subscriber library – check out how to get it here.
If you already have a tree online, the software program you use for your tree is the easiest place to print your tree. Here’s a breakdown of how to print on three of the most popular online family history websites.
Printing a Family Tree from Ancestry.com
It is possible to print a basic-looking family tree from the information you have entered in trees you’ve built on Ancestry. If you click on the tree you’d like to print (remember, on Ancestry, you can make multiple family trees), you will see “Print” in the top right of the window, right next to the bright green “share” button.
Before you click print, make sure you look at your tree in the orientation you’d like it to print. Don’t worry; there’s a preview!
Ancestry has two orientation options: family view and pedigree view.
- The pedigree view will print your tree in the traditional pedigree chart orientation with the next family generations appearing to the right of the generation above it. I think this prints the tree in a way that fits better on the page. (Remember this will be printed on your home printer on a standard 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper.) Printing in this view also will print birth, marriage, and death information, but no pictures.
- If you orient your tree to the family view orientation and print, you will see that same orientation in your printout with pictures and birth and death years. Looking at the preview, it is immediately apparent that this is not an aesthetically pleasing orientation for your print, even if you change your printer settings to print Landscape rather than Portrait.
You’ll also notice on the preview screen that Ancestry offers “other printing options,” including the ability to create a book, poster, or tree calendar.
These links will take you to a site affiliated with Ancestry called MyCanvas. Here you can look into purchasing those items for an additional cost.
You can also find this service by logging in to Ancestry, clicking on the “Extras” tab, and choosing the “Photobooks & Posters” option.
How to Print a Family Tree from FamilySearch.org
Printing your FamilySearch tree is pretty easy too. First, you must log in and choose the “Family Tree” tab. If you’re planning to print your own tree, you’re ready to move on. If you want to print the tree of another family member or ancestor, navigate to that person now.
FamilySearch gives you four orientation options: landscape, portrait, fan chart, and descendency. Here’s how each of them will print differently, so you will know which will best fit the kind of tree you’re looking to print
- Descendency allows you to view the descendants of your starting person. This kind of tree does not have a printing option.
- Fan Chart is the prettiest of the trees you can print. After you’ve chosen the fan chart option, you may notice that you can choose how many generations you’d like to include in your chart and, therefore, how many generations will appear on your final print. After you select the number of generations, click on “options” in the top right, and you will see the printing option. The fan chart option is colorful and pleasing to the eye. This view includes the person’s name and birth and death year. Pretty, but not overly informative.
- In the Landscape view, you can print a standard pedigree chart. If you’re looking for the option with the most information and least “prettiness,” this is it. It includes names, birth, marriage, death dates, places, etc. It’s very informative. It only includes four generations.
- Portrait view – As the name suggests, the portrait option will show your family tree in the traditional upward trending orientation with your ancestor’s photos if you have uploaded them to the tree. This view is also unique in that it shows the children of the “home person” and their portraits.
Printing a Family Tree from My Heritage
MyHeritage has lots of beautiful printing options. If you’re subscribed to MyHeritage, log in to your account, hover over the “Family Tree” tab, and it will bring up a dropdown menu.
Choose the option that says “Print Charts & Books.” This will begin with a step-by-step guide that will let you choose several different chart options, style options, customization options, and more.
After generating your chart, you can continue through the available printing options or save your chart as a PDF to be printed at home or through another printing company.
If you’re looking for lots of good-looking tree prints, MyHeritage is a great place to go.
Where Can I Print My Family Tree?
The advantage of modern technology is that we can do this at home with a printer. If we are looking for a more professional touch, it’s easy to find printing companies that will be able to offer high-quality prints on varied materials.
Now that we’ve thought about how we want to make our family trees, it’s time to consider where these can be printed.
Printing at home is one of the easiest ways to make a digital family tree physical. If there is a printer, it’s simply a case of making sure we have the paper and ink. It’s also easy to find different colored and textured paper to add sophistication to the printing.
Depending on the printer, we may find that we’re limited in what size we can print as most home printers are for A4 paper. If we don’t already have a printer, then this can be a costly piece of equipment – especially if we don’t print at home very often.
As an alternative, most public libraries have a printer people can use for a small charge.
It’s still common to find commercial retailers who offer printing services. The benefit of going to a physical shop and talking to someone is the opportunity to talk with a professional about the best options for creating a beautiful family tree.
If unsure if there are printing shops in the area, we can google search. It’s worth checking reviews online to find the most recommended printing shop. Facebook groups and ancestry forums are other great places to ask for printing recommendations.
Online printing services
If there isn’t enough time to go to a printing shop or there aren’t any in the area, it may be time to consider online printing services.
To use these services, simply email them the family tree document attached. They can then print it off and send it back in the mail.
There are plenty of options with competitive rates. The available sites specializing in family tree printing can provide suggestions and examples to suit our needs.
What Is the Best Way to Make a Family Tree?
The best way to make a family tree depends on time, creativity, and family knowledge. If there is a lot of research to do and someone wants a great family tree quickly, they may want to take advantage of online services which will do most of the work.
The DIY method (self-researched and designed) may be best for someone who enjoys investigating genealogy as a hobby.
Below, we’ll outline what method is best depending on its features.
DIY is best if you have time
By researching and making a family tree ourselves, we’ll have a fun journey full of personal discovery and learn how to navigate different genealogy records and computer programs. Computer programs are a cost-efficient method for creating a family tree.
A genealogy website is best for a beginner
As people’s interest in their family history has increased, so has the selection of genealogy websites. These websites contain large resources full of public records to help us trace ancestry.
They feature easy-to-use interfaces and can make creating a family tree quick and easy. Most sites allow the use of some of their services for free and then ask the customer to pay a fee for more access.
Genealogy software is best for multiple uses
Using designed genealogy software is a great way to record family history and safely store it on a hard drive. This software is now embracing the benefits of internet searches to improve resources and work the same as a genealogy website.
They also have the advantage of a one-off payment and can be used without internet access.
If you don’t mind spending the money on the equipment, this article we wrote for you has some great options: The Best Genealogy Software by Price and Usability.
How Do You Make a Family Tree Poster?
To make a family tree poster, it is best to use a genealogy site – most have a special function to create them, and some have partnerships with printing services.
When displaying a family tree, ensure enough space to see everyone’s name. If there is a large family history, then a family tree poster is the way to go to display all our ancestors. This can be displayed proudly in the home, and visitors can easily trace the heritage.
They can print a family tree in different styles, sizes, and formats – including calendars and photo books.
Familysearch.org is another genealogy website that can provide printable family trees. It’s free to use their website, and they have two apps for mobile devices. They offer a selection of templates for each family tree in different styles ideal for a family tree poster.
Programs That May Work to Do Trees
There are some very accessible home computer programs – some of which include the family tree templates. These work quite well, but more time will be needed to complete the desired style. Do all research ahead of time and create a rough draft of what the final results should look like.
If you have a PC, it’s likely to include Microsoft Word as part of its software. It’s also possible to purchase this software, which can be used for many purposes, including making a family tree. Here’s how:
- Open Microsoft Word to a blank document.
- Click on the “Insert” tab at the top of the page (next to “Home”).
- Under “Illustrations,” you’ll find “SmartArt.”
- Select “Hierarchy” and choose the first option, an “Organization Chart.”
- You can then fill in the chart with your family information, starting with the head of the family, then adding in their spouse and children.
- To add more boxes to the family tree, click “SmartArt Design” at the top of the page and select “Add Shape” on the left-hand side. Select “Add Assistant” if you need to include a spouse and “Add Shape Below” for a child.
This template is an easy way to create a family tree. The standard template is basic but can be customized by selecting the “Format” tab next to “SmartArt Design.” This will allow us to change the shape and colors used in the chart.
Choosing a font is another option to help set the tone for the family tree. Once we’re happy with the family tree, we can easily save and send it to a professional printer or print it at home.
Google Docs is a free program that is available with a google account. Most people will have a google account if they have an Android phone, as this is used for downloading apps. It’s also free to sign up if you want to use any of the Google programs.
Google Docs is similar to Microsoft Word and can be used to create a simple family tree. Here’s how:
- Start by opening Google Docs; we will need a blank document.
- Select “Insert” from the ribbon at the top, choose “Drawing,” and then “New.” This will open a new window.
- We can draw a box to write family members’ names in by clicking on the shape icon; this is a circle over a box. If we hover above the icons with our cursors, it will tell us what it is.
- Choose the shape and then move the cursor to the checked area, left click and drag to create a shape.
- We can now write the name of the ancestor. Using the toolbar at the top, customize the text box’s font, color, and line thickness.
- Then, copy and paste the text box, update the names and move into the correct positions.
- To connect the shapes, select the line icon and choose “Elbow Connector.” Again, move the cursor to the checked area, and left click and drag from one relative to the next to draw a connecting line.
- When finished, click “Save and Continue” to return to the document. Then, print off or save the document.
This program is a free way to create a simple and effective family tree. If we have time and are comfortable with computers, this is an excellent way to create a beautiful family tree without any cost.
Key Takeaways and Next Steps
Creating a beautiful family tree doesn’t have to be a daunting task. There are plenty of helpful resources and services online for keen genealogists.
We can produce a beautiful family tree with little time and creative input. Printing this off in multiple styles is easy, and we won’t need to spend much money to produce a unique family tree worthy of the family’s history.
We are planning many more great articles about genealogy shortly – but meanwhile, why don’t you take a look at these articles? There is some interesting stuff here:
- How Do Family Trees Work with Cousins?
- The 13 Longest Family Trees Go Back More Than 2500 Years!
- Who Should You Include in Your Family Tree?
- AncestrySupport. (2020). Printing a Family Tree. https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/Printing-a-Family-Tree?language=en_US
- Christian, R. (2021, November 11). How to Print a Family Tree to Enjoy and Share. Family Tree Magazine. https://familytreemagazine.com/projects/how-to-print-family-tree/
- Daily, F. H. (2020, August 30). How to Print Your Family Tree, and Why You Shouldn’t. Family History Daily. https://familyhistorydaily.com/genealogy-help-and-how-to/print-family-tree/
- Starr, Kimberly, and Breanne Jensen. (2022, January 17). The Best Genealogy Software by Price and Usability. Genealogy Pals. https://genealogypals.com/the-best-genealogy-software-by-price-and-usability/