Friday, August 13, 2010

Building the Tree

The next step is to begin to add the immediate family members that you know. If married, and have children, place a symbol for each child. This is done by connecting the marriage line (horizontal line between you and your spouse) by a vertical line to a new horizontal line below your square and circle. Draw a square (if male) from this line using a short vertical line to connect each child by symbol. (circle if female) Then place the names, date of birth, location of birth, any special notes, like left handed, and you will have your immediate family. In Family Medicine, we called this the "nuclear family"!

Now it is important to begin the habit of writing the facts in an abridged form. Abbreviations are very helpful. I use b. for date of birth, d. for date of death, and m. for date of marriage. To record dates, I have learned over the past 50 years, that writing these as day - month - year is the most helpful and least confusing. I will write a birth date as 8 May 1950 rather than 5-8-50 since many records will record dates in various ways. [English records often use day-month-year, and American records use month-day-year!] As your family tree grows, the dates may get confused, so it is important to establish a method at the very beginning and keep with it.

So let's review: Squares = males, Circles = females , vertical lines move from one generation to the next, horizontal lines move between the same generation. Dates are written day-month-year. Abbreviations are : b. = date of birth, d. = date of death, and m. = date of marriage.

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