How can I create a visual representation for a particular surname (and husbands/wifes) only?

What I mean is starting with the earliest record for a particular surname I want to show all the descendants, including all brother/sisters _ wife/husband so tree shows full extent of the surname and where it dies out at a branch.

I'm using ancestry.co.uk, but I can't see a way to create such a view. I know I can export tree to Gedcom format, and just read about GedcomX which is interesting so wondering If I converted to GedcomX is there anything that does such a thing?

  • 1
    I think you are asking about a descendant chart. Ancestry trees have a Family view, that is essentially a descendant chart, but collapses some branches to save screen space. How does the Family view not match your requirements?
    – bgwiehle
    Jan 5, 2016 at 16:40
  • 1
    I need a bit of clarification in your question. If you are just after a tree to see when a surname dies out, then why are you asking for ALL the descendants? Most often, sisters' descendants will often not have to be followed because their children usually do not for their surname take their mother's maiden name. If a simple descendant tree will do like @bgwiehle suggests, you'll find almost every program can produce that. So a simple GEDCOM export from Ancestry and import into any program and you've got it.
    – lkessler
    Jan 5, 2016 at 21:10
  • Perhaps you can include a sketch of what you are visualising by using the Image button (Ctrl-G).
    – PolyGeo
    Jan 5, 2016 at 22:31
  • Because Family Tree collapses parts it doesnt all the names and I also want to see husbans/wifes, I want to show sisters because 1> they had the name at birth, 2> they may have a child unmarried and pass on the name (this was the case with by Grandfather) Jan 6, 2016 at 11:06
  • Im new to this so Ive only used ancestry.com so far Jan 6, 2016 at 11:07

1 Answer 1


You want a graphical representation of all descendants and their spouses in a single view. Apparently, opening collapsed branches detracts from your intended use of the family view of your tree at ancestry.

  1. An option that doesn't require transfer to another genealogy program (and all the attendant time and effort of getting and learning to use it) is to use Paint or another image editing program to copy and paste screenshots from the Family view at ancestry and create a custom image of all the expanded branches. I've done this when evaluating other trees at ancestry.

  2. Most desktop software can generate a descendant chart. Options available are selecting other facts to include inside the boxes, adding spouses, repeating duplicated names, number of generations. Formatting options include box sizes, layout (horizontal, vertical or mixed, which saves space), fonts and font sizes, background, etc.

    Depending on the number of children and the number of generations, a descendant chart may not be practical as a printout, because of the size. But you can sub the job to someplace with a plotter or piece multiple pages together. As an overview on the monitor, it is also easy to get lost in the many branches that may be shown. I've printed to pdf, and used the zoom capability to navigate through the image.

  3. A non-graphical option is an outline descendant report, which would include all the descendants of a particular starting person, and can be formatted to include spouse names, and any other events or facts in the database. It tends to be more compact than the graphical version, and indents and labels help one navigate through the generations. However, this text report is a only function of some (probably not all) genealogy software.

  • Perhaps ' create a visual representation' wasn't quite clear I really meant for the purposes of printing but because I wasnt asking specifically about printing and printers I didnt say that, so that is the main reason why I want to be able to have all the surname and their spouses visible at the same time. So Im now using FamilyTreeMaker, if I select Export and then select the oldest ancestor and then Descendents it does indeed create a list of all their children AND their spouses, however I still cant get it to display all on screen. And I cant find a Outline Descendent Report option. Jan 15, 2016 at 10:32
  • So Im happy to export the tree to another application but can you give me an application that actually does the outline descendent report. Jan 15, 2016 at 10:33
  • FTM does have (did have) outline descendant reports. The following menu path is for FTM2012; hopefully it works for your version: Publish > Collection > Relationship Reports > Outline Descendant Report > Create Report. For more detail, google "outline descendant report;" the first hit is "Creating an Outline Descendant Report in Family Tree Maker" but choose to open the cached version. May also be available in your program's help section.
    – bgwiehle
    Jan 15, 2016 at 12:51
  • The reports in FTM are good, and the Descendent Report chart was pretty good, I couldn't find a way to get females husband to be klisted without listing their children so I could concentrate on a particular surname but it was close enough. Shame also that in Descendents drop down you can either select all descendents or one partocular one, but not select multiple ones. Marking your answer as correct as it nearly does what was requested and has certainly helped me. Feb 23, 2016 at 18:42

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