Maybe it took someone from outside the circle to solve this problem. I’m an engineer and surveyor who became very interested in genealogy and my family tree. I’m also an artist. Aerial views are for mapping, and charting a family tree is seldom done from the top. It seems like a natural way though, and it’s compact. I’ve only seen one other extremely full and compact genealogical tree, ex. The Marshall Family Here is my wife’s paternal tree:
My recipe for success is to present a genealogical (descendants of an ancestor) tree instead of a family (ancestors of a descendant) tree in a top-down view using circles for dates in 10 or 20 years-per-inch scale. The genealogical tree I’ve shown above is only partially full. I’m waiting for my DNA results from Ancestry.com.
Genealogy in Pairs
What is spectacular about this process, is putting trees together. Picture the above tree next to my maternal side of the family. It is easy to see modern generations of cousins. I’ve always wanted to show my children how they fit into the family and who their cousins are and how they fit (aunt and uncle relationships and sharing the same grandfather for example).
Again, this is just the beginning and more information will fill my tree. The adjacency of cousins in a simple visual chart is most helpful. I hope to prepare these genealogical trees for people in different artistic ways. Each will begin with names, birth years, and relationships from typical genealogy data. We (my grown children are helping) use AutoCAD and Adobe software to produce the graphics, which can be edited when changes occur. One tree, or even four (a married couple for example), can be developed and arranged to intersect.
I call that intersection of date rings the “confluence of modern time”. This occurs where two flowing times join together to form a single channel – in our case it is time flowing from the beginning of two separate generations (your grandparents). Using maternal and paternal trees, each radiating time, they intersect at common decades or the “confluence of current time” (when you were born) (c) copyright.
To add art, that is specific to a family and their country of origin, I have saved boards on Pinterest with styles, graphics, borders, and other cultural inspiration. People choose what they like and send me pins of their favorites which communicate their ideas. A proof is made for review by the client. Both art and data can be updated. The product is a high resolution PDF, which can be printed for a wall mounting or shared with family members.
I’m not a professional genealogist and if I’m making any mistakes I would appreciate someone calling it out. On the other hand, if you feel this is a recipe for success then let’s talk about it.