I love visiting with people about their families. So my kids and I have started Family Tree Tops – Art for Genealogy. It is unique view of family trees from the top using date rings. My design, Living Family Trees, is copyrighted. I think it is much easier to see how we all fit by using this compact form where cousins appear adjacent in the crown of the tree. The scale is 10 years per radial inch. The date rings are decades of time rippling from the middle of your beginning. The trees look natural and generations of branches grow outward from your great grandparents in the center. It is not the same as a sun chart or fan chart.
A Unique Look
Our living family trees have a different look. They include living relatives and ancestors back to your great grandparents, but stop there. Our trees show the whole family growing outward from the center. Online programs chart your deceased ancestors, but not your living relatives, unless you are in your private account. Family Tree Tops includes everyone in one compact picture. We use a circle instead of a horizontal flowchart, pedigree or portrait pedigree format as called on FamilySearch.org or Ancestry.com. Your information is kept private for personal uses like cool wall art, family reunions, or showing your children.
Now choose some beautiful cultural art for your family tree in the style of your heritage! You will need a border and a background. Colorful ideas are found on my Pinterest. Your new family tree is viewable as a PDF so it can be emailed to share with your loved ones. We deliver the final high resolution version on a thumb drive by mail.
As the rings of a tree show years, our unique top down view shows dates on a time scale of every 10 or 20 years. The birth-year of people in the family is used to plot the location of their name in the tree. Follow their branch (family) through the lineage of their parents, and grandparents, to their great grands. Next to me are my brothers and sisters, and next to us, our cousins. This is the view I want to show my children. So they understand – in one picture – who are their relatives and how they fit into the family. The fun part of using our “top-down” view is to easily see cousins between my father’s side and my mother’s side (requires two trees).
Maternal and Paternal
I ordered a DNA kit to find first and second cousins on both my father’s and mother’s side. I also called relatives to get names of current living family members I didn’t know. You will find cousins you know and maybe some you don’t know. By doing a little work on your Genealogy, your information will be ready to make into art. Family Tree Tops trees are easily updated as I’ve created our art program with that in mind.
By using both trees (maternal and paternal), you can follow your birth decade in the time circles across the space between your mother’s side and father’s side. I call this intersection the “confluence of current time“. Stay on the same decade to the other tree and you will see cousins related by marriage. If you have children, do the same to show cousins, uncles, aunts, leading back to common great grandparents in the middle. You will see cousins (same grandfather/mother) and second cousins (same great grandfather/mother).
The Confluence of Modern Time
The “confluence of modern time” is our lifetime back to birth, shared between sides of a marriage relationship. You can see the confluence (waves intersecting) between the years that began with your grandparents. The time since my mother’s birth overlaps the time since my father’s birth. Nothing extraordinary about that, except I wouldn’t be here unless that intersection occurred. Do you remember in “Back to the Future” how Marty McFly and his siblings began to fade from the photograph when his mother, Lorraine, starts to fall in love with HIM (Marty) instead of his father (George McFly)? Where would YOU be without your parents and grandparents? The confluence of modern time overlaps many lives but we can take it for granted. That TIME is literally the background of your Family Tree Tops tree.
What is your Style?
Think of all the circumstances in history which form our lives. In many ways our families are the imprint of history and what times were like. The illustration of your family tree contains the style and character of your lives, focusing on your heritage. If your family thrived during the roaring twenties, you could choose a craftsman or art deco style. If your family emigrated from Ireland or Mexico or Norway, the character of those countries could stylize the borders and background of your genealogical tree. Check out my Pinterest page for some great style and character design ideas that suit you and your family.