This is the fourth post that I write in the Going Digital With Genealogy Series. In this post I will show you the different types of reports that are out there so that you may get your feet wet when it comes to show casing your hard work.
The beauty of using a genealogy program to manage your family tree is that every program, regardless winch one you use, has the ability to make genealogical reports and some even have an option to let you print full books. Let me be clear there are some reports that can be made into books. I have been leveraging the power of my genealogy software for some years now. I have become so costumed to creating and printing reports on the fly to share with cousins. I ask for them all the time and about 90 percent of the time the other person tell’s me that they do not know how to make a report. IF you have your family tree in a software take the time today to learn how to print reports. Your program should have an option either labeled “Publish”, “Reports”, or “Charts”.
Once you play around with your software and start creating all types of reports you will eventually feel very comfortable in creating them. Now to share these reports you have two options only either print to paper or copy and paste into your email. The problem is that printing to paper costs money and depending on how big your database is you may be printing reports in the hundreds of pages. Also the problem with copying and pasting into your email is that it never looks as good as it does on the report.
As you can see there are limitations. Now let me provide you with a third option and the option that I use most of the time. Here it is, print to PDF. Yes you can print your reports to PDF to enjoy in your own computer and or email them to your friends and family. To be able to do this you need to install what is known as a PDF printer, here is the one that I use “CutePDF- PDF Printer for Genealogy” it is free. Once you install it all you have to do is press print on your software of document and select CutePDF form the list of printer.
Now lets talk about the options that are out there for printing and displaying your family tree. Most software programs carry the following reports. I know for sure that Family Tree Maker does. To get your own copy of Family Tree Maker and a 3 month free trial to ancestry to to Amazon.com to buy it.
- Pedigree Chart
The Pedigree Chart is the most commonly used format for displaying your family tree and provides you with a graphic representation of your direct-line ancestors. This is my favorite one to easily keep track of where more research needs to be done.
- Descendant Chart
The Descendant Chart is a graphical display of an individual’s descendants with the primary individual at the top of the page and his or her descendants below.
- Relationship Chart
The Relationship Chart presents a graphical display of one person’s relationship to another including the relationship of each person in between.
- Hourglass Chart
The Hourglass Chart is a graphical display of an individual’s ancestors and descendants with the primary individual’s ancestors above and their descendants below.
- Vertical Pedigree Chart
The Vertical Pedigree Chart is a commonly used format for displaying a family tree and displays a graphic representation of a person’s direct-line ancestors.
- Horizontal Hourglass Chart
The Horizontal Hourglass Chart is a graphical display of an individual’s ancestors, descendants, siblings, and spouses with the ancestors of the primary individual extending to the right and the descendants to the left.
- Bow Tie Chart
The Bow Tie Chart is a commonly used format for displaying a family tree and displays a graphic representation of a person’s direct-line ancestors with the paternal line extending to the left and the maternal to the right
- Family tree Chart
The Family Tree Chart is a new graphical format for displaying a person’s direct-line ancestors.
- Extended Family Chart
The Extended Family Chart shows generations of individuals aligned horizontally according to the number of ancestor and descendant generations specified up to all of the people in your tree.
- Fan Chart
The Fan Chart is a commonly used format for displaying a family tree and displays a graphic representation of a persons direct-line ancestors laid out with the individuals rotated in an arching fan.
- Ahnentafel Report
An Ahnentafel Report uses an ancestor ordered format starting with one individual and moving backward in time to that individual’s ancestors. When it come to reprots thsi is my all time favorite and is the one that used for my “700 Ancestors of Moises Garza” eBook.
- Descendant Report
The Descendant Report uses a descendant ordered format starting with an ancestors moving forward in time to that individual’s descendants.
- Individual Report
The Individual Report displays the primary (if one exists) and all the facts, notes, and sources associated with a specific individual.
- Family Group Sheet
The Family Group Sheet is a detailed report about a single family meaning the two parents and their children including names, birth dates, marriage dates, and more. You can include a picture for the family and for each individual.
- Family View Report
The Family View Report is a hybrid ancestor and family report. It displays three generations of ancestors for a person along with that person’s spouse and children. This report is similar to the Family View in the People work-space.
Yes you can use software to make your books. The only thing is that a book can basically be either an Ahnentafel Report/Descendant Report or you can let your imagination run wild and include any type or charts and or reports to your book. All you have to do is put it together.
The above are just some of the most popular charts and reports available on the Family Tree Maker software. If you are using another program you can print similar reports and if you don’t know how you just need to explore your software a bit to figure it out. If you are a seasoned user let me know in the comments section of which reports are your favorites and if you are new to genealogy software and or have questions about deciding to use it also post them in the comments section of this post.
Also I did not list all the reports available but only the ones that are used across almost all programs and that are standard for genealogical research. Remember, if interested, to visit Amazon.com to buy Family Tree Maker with a 3 month free trial to ancestry.
I sincerely hope that you do install the PDF printer into your computer and also that you start printing charts and reports to share with all your close family and distant cousins. Remember that is way easier than typing the whole thing up. Remember to have fun along the way.
Hey Moises! Great post. I especially like the part about using the pdf printer. I use one with my own research and it makes it easier to share my research. Thank you.
Thanks Trevor, in the coming weeks I will dedicate a full post to PDF printers, wich ones are available out there, and build up a the case as to why they are awesome. Be on the look out for it. Once again thanks for your comment.
I am able to choose a location on my print page(the one after I hit print command) which specifies pdf. I change the printer location to a pdf file and then it asks me to name it and where to save it. I have an epson printer and maybe it is in their software, I am not too familiar with printer stuff, but I mention it because I use it all the time. I can even save webpages this way. I started using evernote to ‘save’ and file genealogy, but it was not as easy as I thought it would be, so I switched back to file folders on my desktop. Evernote lets you ‘clip’ things from a page and also save a page. It syncs across devices too. There are so many ways to do similar things and it helps to learn how everyone else does it!
Larissa, many computers now days come with a pdf printer automatically. I think even word can convert documents to pdf. Evernote is great and a post about it is int he works. Thanks for your comment.