When I was expecting my second child, I decided to make a family tree poster showing our family, ready to plug in the picture of the new baby. I chose the poster design to be the Ancestry MyCanvas “Combination Pedigree” with five generations. A link to the MyCanvas family tree posters is here. The site integrates with Ancestry, using your data from your Ancestry tree, which is free to set up and use. (At the time MyCanvas was an Ancestry product, but after Ancestry announced it was discontinuing it, Alexander’s continued the business.)
The Combination Pedigree poster I like shows the birth, marriage, and death information for a couple, their children, and their ancestors through their great-grandparents. It has places for photos of all the individuals through the couple’s grandparents. I like to use photos of the parents and older generations from when they were about the same age, in my case around the ages of 18 to 30. I also changed the formatting of place names from the standard city, county, state, country format in my online tree to city, county co., state abbreviation. I changed the sizes of the photo boxes to be bigger than the default. I also changed the background and added a few embellishments. The program has many objects in its libraries to help you customize your poster.
While preparing the poster, I wanted to find sources, particularly vital records, for all the dates and places on the poster. I was surprised that for great-grandparents, not very far removed from people still alive today, there were a number of unknowns at the start of the project. Where were those great-grandparents married, or where was that great-grandparent born? It took some sleuthing, but I found evidence to support all the vital information for those individuals. I wanted to pass down the best information I could.
The family tree poster has been a great tool to help teach my children their family history. Even a small child can enjoy looking at his own picture, pictures of his siblings and parents, and pictures from older generations. My children and I can look at the family tree poster together when one of them has questions about the family. We can look at it and have a fun little game, such as where are you, where is Daddy, where is his daddy? We can look at the places in the tree and find them on maps. We can look at the event dates and figure out how long ago they were. There are so many possibilities. And how valuable it is to teach our children that it is important to remember those who came before us.