Sometimes, you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s (almost) gone! While going through family memorabilia, I found an old photo stuck to glass. There was no way I could have removed it without damaging it, so I enlisted the help of a top photo restoration studio to scan and restore it. For a brief moment, I was really worried that I would lose this vintage photograph forever, and with it all the important memories it held for my family.
This experience inspired me to restore other old family photos and learn more about my ancestors in them. The more information I got, the more I wanted to preserve it and pass it on to future generations. That’s what led me to make a family tree – it was the perfect way to showcase the restored family photos and share our history with other family members.
Rescue your old family photos and use them to make your own family tree! Keep reading to learn more about how to put one together, and why you should create one. It’s a token that you will treasure for years to come!
How To Make A Family Tree
Making a family tree can be a time-consuming process, but a little planning will make it a piece of cake! I’ve outlined five easy steps that you should take to design an amazing family tree. Use this list to guide you as you put together your own tree and learn more about your family history.
Do Some Research About Your Family
The best place to start is to learn more about your family’s roots. Get a journal and start listing everything that you personally know or remember about your family. This information can include fun facts about your surname and your family’s country of origin.
After you’ve listed all this info, you can talk to other members of your family to fill in the gaps. They might have interesting stories to share, helping you learn more about your family’s culture and traditions as you work on your family tree.
You can also gather your old family photo albums – they’re a treasure trove of family knowledge and will help you corroborate any information you were given. When restored and added to your family tree, they can also add a charmingly personal touch and show what each member looked like. You might see some dead ringers for your siblings and cousins in those vintage photos!
Lastly, you can check public documents like birth and marriage certificates, archived news stories, and old census records. Keep in mind that many of these written records are unlikely to go back any further than a century and that many old photos and documents are lost through time or natural disasters.
If you’re lucky, your family may have an earlier family tree that can be the basis for your new one. But if you have one, don’t fret! All the research you’ve done in this step will create a comprehensive, meaningful family tree.
Create An Outline And Legend For Your Family Tree
Once you’ve gathered all the information you need, think about how you will design the family tree and incorporate these facts. Generally, family trees are designed with the newest generation at the bottom tier of the tree – that can be you and your siblings, or it can be your children and their children.
You should also think about how far back you want your family tree to go and how wide you want it to be. Most family trees will at least include first cousins, and they will go back no further than three or four generations. This is because the farther the family connections are, the harder it can be to get the information you need.
When you’ve organized each generation’s rows and birth orders for family members, think about how you will present the details you have. Traditionally, family trees will include at least full names and dates of birth and death. You may choose to give yours a personal touch by adding beloved family nicknames or notable accomplishments for each family member.
Include Important Information About Each Family Member
When you’ve decided what details you’ll be adding for each family member, incorporate them right away! However, make sure to double-check which facts you should be adding, as some of this information might not be known by your whole family.
There are some sensitive details like adoptions, half-siblings, or remarriages which may cause some embarrassment or hurt feelings if they’re included. To avoid an awkward unveiling of your family tree, discreetly set some feelers out and ask relatives before disclosing these things.
Add Restored Family Photos
Sure, you could settle for simply writing down names and facts, but adding photos of each member of the family tree will put a truly personal touch! Talk to your relatives and ask for vintage family photographs or photo albums. If they’re faded or damaged, you can take them to an experienced photo studio for restoration. This will add a beautiful visual reference that will make your family tree special.
Even if your family photos aren’t damaged, photo restoration will correct flaws like red eyes and out-of-focus shots. Colorization can also make vintage photos look more connected to the present day by showing how these family members would have looked in real life. This creates a more personal connection that sepia and black and white photos just can’t give!
Make Copies To Share With Your Whole Family
When you’re done mapping out and decorating your family tree, it’s time to share it with your family! It’s an opportunity to share family anecdotes, find out more about your ancestry, and celebrate your culture. Print some extra copies – they’ll make great gifts for your family to hang in their homes!
Why Should You Make A Family Tree?
Now that you know what you need to do to make your family tree, you may be wondering why you should go to all this effort. Here are four important reasons why you should take the time to finish this incredible project.
To Learn More About Your Family’s History
Learning about family history isn’t just an exercise in tracing lineage – it’s a DIY project that strengthens your sense of identity. From start to finish, making a family tree becomes a journey into your family’s roots and special stories. Even as you scour public records and ask relatives for information, you immerse yourself in your family history.
Your family history is full of information about your ancestors’ experiences during significant moments in the past like wars, economic crises, and cultural movements. Every question is an opportunity to talk about family traditions and cultural practices. As you put together your family history, you may find yourself relating to your ancestors and how they overcame challenges.
To Create A New Family Keepsake
A family tree complete with photos and unique facts will be a treasured heirloom that you can easily pass on to future generations. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or complicated to be of value! Print it on acid-free paper and frame it, then hang it in a place of pride in your home.
Not only will your family tree be decorative, but it will also be a beautiful token that you can use to break the ice during family reunions or holiday gatherings!
To Remember Beloved Family Members
As time passes by, our memories of the past become more distant and family members pass away. A family tree can help us preserve our most cherished moments with those who are no longer with us.
Something as simple as remembering your grandfather’s special childhood nickname or adding an adored aunt’s photo can breathe life into your fading memories. Details in family trees also add context when telling family stories – it’s just easier to visualize which brother your grandmother is talking about when you can clearly see their names and photos.
To Commemorate Family Members’ Sacrifices
Many families take pride in having family members who have served in branches of the military or held public office. What better way to remember their dedication to duty than by giving them a place of honor in a family tree? It’s a special reminder of the sacrifices that they made and the work that they did, ensuring that later generations will always remember their legacy!
Share Your Unique Family Tree With Your Relatives
Making a family tree is a wonderful way to learn more about your ancestry and map out your roots. It also brings family members closer together, as they share fond memories and swap photos of special celebrations. When you’ve created your outline and sent off your old photos for digital restoration, finishing your family tree should be a breeze!
Your completed family tree will be a touching memento to share not just with your immediate family, but with your other relatives. Who knows? It just might start more conversations that will help you find out more about your family’s traditions and heritage!