Do you need something quickly for a last-minute gift? One of my blog readers asked about printing quality genealogy charts and I have a super-easy solution. You can literally be printing charts in minutes.
Genealogy charts are perfect gifts because they are both personal and fun. Not to mention the added benefit of being very easy on the budget. I like to give family members unique gifts.
I’m always looking for ways to integrate genealogy into the lives of my family. Many times, they are interested, just not AS interested as I am😊
Charts make great study guides for my grandkids too. We’ve incorporated ancestors as examples for their history classes many times. Revolutionary war, slavery, Mayflower, Native Americans and much more.
I’ve used Charting Companion for years, so I’d like to show you a handful of cool charts that you can create to give as gifts along with a few tools to utilize for your own genealogy, including DNA. So, you’re giving gifts and getting something helpful for yourself too.
Charting Companion is meant to be utilized “on top of” or in conjunction with genealogy software on your computer such as RootsMagic, Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, or others. There is also a version for FamilySearch.
When you purchase Charting Companion, there’s a Quick Start Guide that pops right up that explains what you need to know.
You’ll be creating your choice of 17 charts and reports in 3 clicks.
Let’s take a look at some wonderful charts that make good gift options because you can print them on a standard size paper. I’d recommend higher quality 28-32 pound paper.
Ancestor Fan Chart
One of my all-time favorites is the Ancestor Fan Chart where you (or the gift recipient) is selected as the home person and appears in the middle.
The colors are customizable, and you can generate this as a file or print it on your printer. You can even select the option for “embroider.”
This chart is also available as a complete circle.
I’ve done something a bit different. You’ll notice that several of my ancestors in this chart have middle names that look suspiciously like haplogroups. That’s because they are. This is a great way for me to keep track of which lines have and have not been tested.
Ancestor Fan X Chart
You can select the fan chart highlighting the X chromosome path to assist your DNA matching. I have one of these pinned to the wall by my desk.
You can read more about using these charts and the unique X inheritance path here. The fact that men only inherit an X chromosome from their mother means that your X matches only descend from a subset of your ancestors. This is EXTREMELY USEFUL information genealogically and this tool makes the common ancestor possibilities immediately visible.
This probably isn’t colorful enough to be a good gift, but it’s a great tool. I love the X fan chart!
Descendant Fan Chart
Another great gift is the Descendant Fan Chart.
In a Descendant Fan Chart, the ancestor is in the center, and all of the various descendants are displayed in the radiating circles. If I was giving this as a gift, I would make sure to select the correct number of generations for the recipient to be shown in the outer band.
There’s a handy preview option for all charts.
For both the ancestor and descendant fan charts, there’s an option to create embroidery instructions so you can have your chart embroidered on a shirt, bag or something else. I think the circle option would be absolutely stunning in the center of a quilt. (Hmmm…)
Did you know there was such a thing as a Dandelion Chart? I didn’t.
I like this Dandelion chart because it shows the ancestors AND descendants of the selected ancestor in one attractive chart. It fits itself to size and it’s fun to watch the ancestors and descendants “slide” into place. I don’t know how to explain this – you’ll just have to watch.
The Ancestor Chart allows you to select the colors, number of generations and so forth. This is what I typically think of as a pedigree chart, but this version is much more colorful. You can select which information to include in the boxes.
If you were going to give this chart as a gift, you would select the recipient to be the home person in the chart. You can also include photos and more.
Fractal Tree Chart
I didn’t know about Fractal Tree Charts either. This took me a minute to get used to.
I like this style because you can view many generations at once, with the colors helping to identify generations and who connects to whom. I really like this balanced chart.
Another wonderful gift, but one that isn’t frameable, is the Ancestor Book. You can also include your notes which would be invaluable to someone if they decided to become interested one day long in the future after your GEDCOM file is long gone.
I’ve given things like this before as gifts in a 3 ring binder with a lovely family photo slid inside the clear sleeve on the front cover.
This prineted report would be wonderful to contribute to relevant libraries and archives for those of us who want to make sure our work outlives us.
Gifts for You
These next two features are gifts for you.
I want a mitochondrial DNA representative test for all of my ancestors. You don’t know what you don’t know and mitochondrial DNA has broken thought several brick walls. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise or discourage you from testing.
I would like to find a living descendant of Catharina Schaeffer (c1780-c1826) who carries her mitochondrial DNA. Shameless plug – if this is you, I have a testing scholarship with your name on it!
Using the Descendant Chart, you can select for Mitochondrial DNA, and then the number of relevant generations to show. Clearly, I can’t show you all of the generations to current without compromising living people’s privacy, but you can see that all of the people with pink (females) or blue (males) in this descendant chart carry Catharine’s mitochondrial DNA.
The males, of course, won’t pass mitochondrial DNA on to their descendants, but the females will – to daughters and sons both – so in the current generation, males and females can both test so long as they descend from Catharina directly through all females.
I LOVE this tool.
The DNA Matrix graphically displays relationships between people who have taken DNA tests and share DNA with each other.
The DNA Matrix only works with Family Tree Maker software, so I can’t show you with my own data because I use a different program. The hypothetical example above is provided by Charting Companion.
In a nutshell, you download your DNA matches with segment informatoin from vendors where you have tested or transferred. Charting Companion then syncs your matches file with your Family Tree Maker (FTM) file and creates a chart showing relationships between you and your matches. You must add a DNA kit event in your FTM file in advance so that the software known to link to that person.
To obtain results for the DNA Matrix, you’ll need DNA match files (NOT your raw DNA file) from vendors. Follow the instructions provided by Charting Companion. You must test AT 23andMe and Ancestry because they don’t accept inbound transfers. You can, however, transfer to other vendors who provide additional matches and segment information after testing at either 23andMe or Ancestry.
After downloading your raw data file (not to be confused with your matches file,) you can transfer your DNA for free to FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage and GedMatch. The transfer (and matching) is free at all 3 of these vendors, but the advanced tools require an unlock fee or subscription. I’ve written about how to create your own money-saving DNA Testing and Transfer Strategy here.
If you utilize the DNA Matrix, let me know what you think.
There are several more charts available through Charting Companion too, but I think the one-page charts included here would make great frameable gifts. Of course, you’ll enjoy the workhorse charts and tools for your own genealogy.
You can download Charting Companion right now for $39.95 and be printing charts within a few minutes – literally.
I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.
Thank you so much.
DNA Purchases and Free Transfers
- FamilyTreeDNA – Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA testing
- MyHeritage DNA – ancestry autosomal DNA only, not health
- MyHeritage DNA plus Health
- MyHeritage FREE DNA file upload – transfer your results from other vendors free
- AncestryDNA – autosomal DNA only
- 23andMe Ancestry – autosomal DNA only, no Health
- 23andMe Ancestry Plus Health
Genealogy Products and Services
- MyHeritage FREE Tree Builder – genealogy software for your computer
- MyHeritage Subscription with Free Trial
- Legacy Family Tree Webinars – genealogy and DNA classes, subscription based, some free
- Legacy Family Tree Software – genealogy software for your computer
- Charting Companion – Charts and Reports to use with your genealogy software or FamilySearch
- Legacy Tree Genealogists – professional genealogy research
Fun DNA Stuff
- Celebrate DNA – customized DNA themed t-shirts, bags and other items