Free Family Tree Templates (Word, PDF, Illustrator)

A family tree is a diagrammatic representation of a pedigree that shows the relationships among an individual’s ancestors, descendants, and other family members.

The representation takes the shape of a tree, with one individual as the starting point (root). Each branch represents an individual family member and indicates their name, birth date, picture, or any other information.

The trees have increased in popularity over time. This is because the more integrated society becomes, the easier it is to forget your ancestors.  Understanding your ancestors allows you to connect with your heritage and develop an identity. It also helps you learn how previous generations participated in or impacted historical events. You can pass on to your children the history and legends of your family in this way, preserving them for future generations. In addition, the tree can help you trace genetics and family-related health issues as a parent. You can include this information in your children’s medical history to avoid being surprised if family-related conditions affect them.

This article will discuss what to include when creating a family tree. You can also use a template that you can edit and use multiple times to teach your kids about their genealogy. The template can be used by anyone who wants to identify family members in their lineage/history, the relationship between family members who share the same surname, or simply learn about their family origin.

Free Templates

Free family tree template - Editable PDF format

Printable family tree template - Editable and customizable

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    Family Tree’s Usefulness

    It is used for different reasons. Curiosity can lead children to inquire about their family history. Explaining this information verbally can be quite difficult for them to grasp.

    Therefore, you should always consider using a family tree instead for the following reasons:

    Provides a better understanding of relationships

    By conducting an ancestry search, you are able to identify relationships between your family members, from cousins and aunts to grandparents and even great-grandparents. It can help you find family members you never knew existed.  Families can be separated due to war, disasters, etc., and the tree is an excellent way to learn about distant relatives that we may never have met. 

    It gives a sense of identity

    Learning about your ancestry helps you and your kids have a sense of identity. Assume you discover your ancestors came from a specific culture and tribe; this information provides you with an identity because you can trace your lineage. 

    Feeling of pride

    Teaching your children about your lineage through the tree makes them most likely to develop a sense of pride in their family. This is because the tree can help you learn about major events in your family history, such as hardships, historically significant stories, or unique things your ancestors did.

    More contemporary uses

    The trees have other modern uses, more so in health and law. Medical professionals are known to use the trees to determine genetic diseases in families. Learning about genetic diseases in your family allows you to consider preventative measures and lifestyle changes to protect yourself and your children from the disease(s).

    When distributing inheritance, courts have been known to use the trees to establish an individual’s lineage and offspring. 

    How to Make a Perfect Family Tree?

    A template is the easiest tool to use to teach your kids about their lineage and family history. This article will show you how to make one using a template that contains the information you want to convey to your children.

    Below is a step-by-step process for creating an informative and exciting this tree for kids:

    Step 1: Gather information about your family

    The first step is collecting enough information to input into the tree. This includes gathering family photographs, documents, and publications; reading property listings in the local library; interviewing senior citizens familiar with your family lineage; etc. Also, try to gather information like names, inter-relationships, and major events.

    Step 2: Choose an appropriate template

    Creating the tree can be a daunting and mentally engaging task. However, you can simplify the process by using a suitable template. There are multiple types of templates you can use to create these trees. Some of them may be characterized based on the number of generations you want to include, and some by the use of the tree. In this case, you should choose a template that is appropriate for your kids, which means a colorful and simple tree. This way, your children will save time and effort in completing and comprehending it.

    Step 3: Draft an outline with all the family members

    Next, you should create an outline that lists all the family members you want to include in the tree. You should establish all the relationships among all the members listed in the outline.

    Step 4: Create a ‘branch’ for each family member

    Most templates will begin with you as the root and trace other family members backward. However, some templates can start with one ancestor and trace their offspring. From the “root,” you should then create a “branch” for each family member. It would help if you started with your generation, which includes your siblings, then your parents’ generation, then their parent’s generation, and so on. You should also attach any pictures, names, DOBs, partners, and other information to the branches.

    Step 5: Distribute to your family

    After finalizing the tree with as many family members as you can find, you can share the document with your kids and other interested family members.

    What to Include

    Depending on how you plan to use the tree, you may choose what kind of information to include. For example, a family tree to teach your kids about your lineage does not have to be as detailed as the tree to be used by a scientist.

    However, most family tree templates will have the following sections that you can complete and then show to your kids:

    Blood relations

    Blood relations form the foundation of this tree. Blood ties can lead to a variety of relationships. The following blood relations can be included in the tree:

    • Sibling: Your brother or sister
    • Cousin: Son/daughter of your aunt/ uncle
    • Uncle: Brother of your mother or father
    • Aunt: Sister of your mother or father
    • Second cousin: Son/daughter of first cousins of either of your parents
    • Niece: Your brother’s or sister’s daughter
    • Nephew: Son of your brother/sister
    • Grandfather: Mother to your mother/father
    • Grandmother: Mother of your mother/father
    • Grandchildren: Children’s children
    • Great-grandmother: Your grandparents’ mother
    • Great-grandfather: Your grandparents’ father
    • Great-grandchildren: Children of your children’s children
    • Great aunt: Aunt to one of your parents
    • Great uncle: Uncle to one of your parents

    Relations by marriage

    In-laws are also part of this tree. Therefore, you should always consider marriages that have occurred throughout your family’s history. Relations formed through marriage include:

    • Father-in-law: Father of your spouse
    • Mother-in-law: Mother of your spouse
    • Stepsister/brother: Child from a previous marriage of stepparent
    • Stepdaughter: Child of a spouse from a previous marriage 
    • Half-sister/brother: Child from a remarriage of one of your parents

    Important dates

    An informative family tree should also include dates of special days or events. Some of the important dates you ought to take into consideration include the following: 

    • Date of birth (b): The DOB of each family member should be indicated next to their name. The DOB can be represented as b in the document.
    • Date of marriage: The marriage dates for married family members should also be outlined in the tree. You can use m to indicate that the individual is married, and [1] and [2] to indicate their first and second marriages, and so on.
    • Date of death (d): Family members who have passed away will frequently be listed on the trees. The associated date of death should be indicated with the letter d.

    Signs and symbols

    There are customary signs and symbols used in the tree to indicate different relationships. These signs and symbols include the following:

    • Vertical lines: Vertical lines are used to show relationships between parents and children.
    • Horizontal lines: Horizontal lines are used to link all the siblings to their parents.
    • Equal sign: An equal sign is used to show that two individuals are married. 


    Your tree can include photos of family members. Photos help your kids get familiar with their relatives’ faces and make the tree more exciting.

    Fun Tips to Try

    To ensure the tree benefits your kids as much as possible, you can use the following tips when explaining it to them:

    Spark your children’s interest in their family history

    You should pique their interest to begin the process. This can be done in several ways. Start telling them great stories about their ancestors and relatives. You can start with relatives they are already familiar with, such as cousins, aunts, or grandparents. Most children will always enjoy a great-grandparent’s story. This can lead to more questions from them, and then you can introduce the tree. 

    Explain the family ties

    Since the tree can span several generations, it can prove very helpful to explain the family ties of relatives the children regularly see, for example, during holidays, family photos, or family cookouts. In this way, they can progress from familiar acquaintances to distant relatives they are unfamiliar with.

    Introduce the concept of generations and fraternity

    Also, you can start by starting with one generation (their peers), followed by your generation as a parent, and so on. The majority of templates will use vertical lines to distinguish between generations and horizontal lines to distinguish between fraternities. This makes it possible to explain each section separately, which helps the kids understand. 

    Ask questions and make them play detective

    You can also incorporate questions to check if they understand how different family members are related. Their responses will often tell you if they understand the family ties. You can also give them tasks using the tree, for example, to find out how relative A is related to relative B.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is genealogy?

    The study and formal recording of a person’s, family’s, or group’s lineage back to an ancestor or lineage are known as genealogy. It involves collecting lineage data through interviews, genetic analysis, reviewing historical records, etc., and creating the associated family tree(s).

    What is a tree structure?

    A tree structure is a technique for presenting hierarchical data visually. The data is represented to show how different levels of data are linked from a single piece of data such that it forms a tree-like structure, hence the name “tree structure.”

    What is a genogram?

    A genogram is a more exhaustive family tree that incorporates genetics and other medical information about a lineage. Medical professionals commonly use genograms to identify hereditary patterns within a particular lineage.

    Why is a tree used to represent a family?

    The concept of representing lineage in a family tree has been popularly linked to a piece of art known as “The Tree of Jesse” which was used to convey the birth story from creation to Christmas. The Tree of Jesse outlines the ancestry of Christ.

    Why should you make a family tree?

    You should consider creating a family tree because it helps you learn your ancestry, family history, and origin. It also helps you connect with your roots as well as distant relatives that you may not have known before. The trees are also an efficient way of preserving family history and passing it on to the next generation.

    About This Article

    Maureen Taylor
    Authored by:
    Certified Microsoft Office Specialist, Design, Template Creation, Form Building
    Maureen Taylor is a recognized authority in the Microsoft Office suite, holding a distinguished certification that underscores her mastery. Based on her in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience, Maureen excels in design, seamlessly crafting visually compelling and functional assets. Her prowess extends to the creation of custom templates tailored to specific needs and the design of interactive forms that streamline data capture. Maureen's meticulous approach, combined with her knack for understanding user requirements, ensures that every project not only meets but often exceeds expectations. For businesses and individuals seeking an expert who can translate their vision into efficient Microsoft Office solutions, Maureen Taylor is the definitive choice.

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