By Emanuel Bucsa; Co-Author: Ivan Tobias

People are often interested in preserving their family history and might want to know where their roots are. Usually, you’ll want to have a record for your grandchildren or just to keep track of the people whom show up at family events. Most times there are a few people whom you don’t actually know and it would be nice to get a better understanding of where you’re from.

Building your very own genealogy takes time and effort. It’s best to have a plan if you intend to start your own family tree. The tree will contain all the names in your family listed and traces every connection.

You should think about your family tree like a regular tree. Trees have roots, a trunk and branches. The trunk is the only part of the tree that’s a whole, and you should use this part on the central figure you’re building the genealogy for.

This is the actual first step in the process of organizing your genealogy. After you select a central figure, you should work your way up and down from this person, to the “roots” and the “branches”.

First, you should add the names of the parents on top. The central figure name should be located at the very center of the chart, just to make sure you have enough room for everything.

After you label the parents name, move down and add the names of the children. If the children are still young, leave some room for the children’s spouses. There a lot of “ifs” to take into account when organizing your genealogy. For example, if the children have had previous marriages that have produced offspring, you should make room for them as well.

Once you’re done doing this, bring out some lines from the parents which lead to the names of the central person’s brothers and sisters, if that’s the case.

You might want to track the lines of the siblings, but this is not necessary for the central person you’re doing the tree for. If you do include the siblings, keep a space open for their spouses as well.

Once all the immediate family is in place, you can start moving up and down to extend the chart. You should start going upward before you start the descent on the chart. Old information is hard to come across since there are just a few people who remember these facts, and some might be too old to even carry this information anymore.

A good genealogy chart is considered the one that includes people and relationships that other family members never knew existed. If you manage to get up to three or more generations before your grandparents your chart will be filled with numerous last names which you can try to extend downwards and see if you can find any additional relatives you didn’t know you have.

As you descend down the chart, you will eventually reach the present moment and will have to stop. Additional marriages and new kids being born will eventually enlarge the chart. You should continue gathering this information and get new contacts. As you find distant relatives try to extend the chart upward a few generations by checking what each of these people remember about their ancestry.

Find out more how you can create and improve your existing genealogy chart by visiting the Latter Day Saints Genealogy website.