Betsy Cross

Family History Sunday Series 1:2 Hug a Tree Today

In AncestralQuest,, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, MyHeritage, Pedigree, Trees on April 15, 2012 at 9:30 am

“A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their  branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.” John Muir 1838-1914

Don’t you love the lessons from trees?


Last week we got you prepared with an offline, paper worksheet, and registered

Today we start building your tree, one generation and one family group at a time.

pedigree chart is comprised of family groups, but shows only direct-line relationships. In other words, it shows branches without all of the leaves! Each one of those rectangles represents a husband or wife in a family group.

So, let’s begin! Where do we start? We start with the most important family group!

First we have to find it, so go give a virtual hug to a tree. You wrap your arms around the trunk, not the leaves, branches, or roots. Right?

My friend, YOU are the trunk of your family tree. You are the start of the most important family group to your family tree. Get used to it and embrace it.

The roots (your ancestors) and the branches (your descendants) depend on YOU. You bring nourishment from the roots to the branches and leaves. You live in the present. Family history is valuable only when we value our role in it, and see it as a symbiotic relationship between all of the players.  And we, the trunks, play as vital a role as the roots. Later in this series we’ll see how you need them.

This week’s assignment is to work on your first family group:


  1. fill in box#1 on the worksheet. The information will include you and your spouse if married, and your children, everyone’s birth dates, places, their spouses names, death dates and places, and marriage dates. Add post-it notes for their children’s info.
  2. create a file folder for this family group. Put copies of important documents inside the folder along with one completed family group record. (Documents you should put in the folder will be related to birth, death. and marriage at least. Later you can add travel, military, school records, etc.)
Link to this record:
Double-click on the image to enlarge and print from your computer. Or you can have them shipped to you if you register at They’re free. (You’ll need 15 for this project.)


  1. start an online family tree for free at AncestralQuest (or any other site like, or MyHeritage.  Add information for you, your spouse, and your children. (I have a subscription to because I do a lot of my basic research there.

There you have it! Do this step well and you’ll have a firm foundation for all of the other ones to follow! Have fun collecting documents!

See you next week!

In case you missed the beginning of this series:

I Have a Dream 

Getting Your Bearings

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  1. You make it so simple! Love it. I’m a Tree Hugger …


  2. What if your family tree is a straight line?……….:).

    The Dorman line is the one I’ve carried the farthest; but my grandmother’s (Jennings) might be easier to good deep. I have a Dorman in NC around 1760′s; interesting stuff though.

    • I wonder about all of the siblings, their spouses and children that people overlook that lived closer to the present as research is done deeper and deeper into the past. Thanks for stopping by Bill.

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