Family Tree Charts (part 1)

Family history is, and has been, a growing hobby for a long time for a great many people. For the Peter Allen Memorial Lectures this year, 2012, we decided to focus one talk on Family History, although almost every talk notes various well known locals. As such I thought rather than producing the standard boring looking charts that most programs spurt out, I would try and create something more interesting. So here are my attempts, and some thoughts.

Wyatt Family Tree in the Underground map style

The Wyatt family are well known in the area as butchers and farmers. I have been researching them for some time now and wanted a unique way to show the family tree to others. A few years ago I discovered a "jQuery subway plugin." This uses jQuery to draw a underground map, well in that style anyway. I thought it would be interesting to use that library to generate a family tree.

Wyatt Family Tree by Nick Young

Okay so it was not that easy, I ended up creating the map with jQuery, saving the output and adding the text in Photoshop. The code could of course be altered to get the output I was after, but for a one off use not worth doing. The result looks unique and the comments I have had so far say that it is an easy to follow chart. Most people seem to like it showing a timeline and going left to right. The flip side is it is difficult to show generations clearly let alone how complex it is to code.

The station junctions I have used to show major records, in this case the census dates with locations. Not only but one junction signifies a family, or group, living together, i.e. they are at the same address on the census. In the sample shown five of the Wyatt family are shown as living in Swallowfield in 1851.  Marriages, births and deaths are shown by minor or major station marks.

You could add more information, but it would easy over complicate things and confuse people, hence I have only put the basic information on the chart.

The Mounts of Thatcham and Wasing as a Modified Fan Chart

The Mounts are another well known local family and again I wanted to show this in a clear and easy to follow way, but also with a little difference to the norm. I like fan charts for their simplicity although they can be rather bland. The idea here was to take the fan chart and use the whole 360 degrees rather than just 180. I also thought I would colour it, not only so it stood out more but also to help differentiate between the men and women.

The Mounts of Thatcham by Nick Young

The plan was to allow this to then be mounted with the root, the person at the centre, to remain fixed but allow the rest of the chart to be spun around. The chart, the circles were created, partly by code using, but the final touches, colouring and text were all added by hand using Photoshop. At some stage when I have more time I would like to code the whole thing so that you can give it a gedcom file (already written a parser for it) and have it kick out a PDF chart.

It is much simpler than the underground map version and it shows only the parents and no other relationships. The latter is a good point when showing trees to the public.

Is that it?

No, I will post more next week about at least two other charts I have created.