I have an old Family Tree or Chart that dates back many centuries. It is a Surname Chart of Male-Line descendants in the form of a tree. It flows from the bottom upward and the trunk of the tree is the eldest Son of the eldest Son and so on. The branches are the remaining siblings which branch off to their siblings and so on.

What type of tree is this and where do I find information on the proper protocol?

It was completed back in 1930 and I would like to update it. enter image description here

Thank You Christia for your answer on my question. When I saw an email come through from Stack Exchange, I had no idea what it was. After reading it, I realized that it was an answer to my question posted over a year ago. I had forgotten about it completely.

Based on what you are saying, I believe my Great Aunt Daisy (1878) might have hired Mr. Meloy, or another artist, to draw up this tree the way she wanted it. I believe she might have had it done as a gift for her Brother, my Grandfather, Frederick George Sherman (1896). Their Father, George Sherman (1852) as well as my Grandfather are on the trunk of this tree. My Father, Russell Lester Sherman (1918) being the oldest of four, is on the truck as well. My Brother, Alan Wilber Sherman (1942) is the oldest of five and is also on the trunk. This is where the trunk stops. I, William T Sherman (1955) am the youngest of five and a branch off my Dad’s trunk. Two of my Brother Alan’s three Children are branches off his trunk and that’s where it stops. My Brother Alan had one Son, William Asa Sherman (1964) and two Daughters. William has been married and has Children, but no Sons. Next in line would be my Brother, Curtis Martin Sherman (1949), who had no Children. I would be next in line and had a Son, Jeffrey T Sherman (1980) who has a Son Preston T Sherman (2004).

So my question is, is it the correct protocol to place myself on the trunk, My Son on the trunk and his Son on the trunk? Or is there no correct protocol for this type of work and simply just the interpretation of an artist, in which case I can present it whichever way I please? I do have a location for the original Arthur Sherman Meloy work located at the New York Public Library and plan on getting copies or pictures of it in the near future.

Thank You for your time and knowledge on this subject.

  • 1
    Bill, welcome to G&FH.SE! Have you tried searching for a similar tree before, and if so, where have you searched, and how? See our site guidelines in the help center: How do I ask a good question?
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 22:05
  • Is there any chance that you may be able to scan part of the tree to include as a picture in your question? If so, there is an edit button at the bottom to start editing your question, and then a Picture button at the top to embed the image.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 2:58
  • You said that it is a "Surname Chart of Male-Line descendants". Is that written on it, or something that you found during research prior to asking your question?
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 2:59
  • 2
    You describe what would be custom-format in many of today's genealogy programs. By updating, do you mean to re-print with newer (or older) generations in the same (male-line only) format or are you wanting expand to add more descendants in all lines?
    – bgwiehle
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 14:16
  • First of all, I basically know nothinf about geneoligy. I have this old “Family Chart”, as it is labled, and I would like to update it. To follow the correct protocol for this type of tree, I began looking on the internet for information. As with most things out there on the internet now, there is so much information, it is overwhelming! I followed many different links and could not find a “Tree” or “Chart” like what I have. I found this site and thought I would post the question. PolyGeo asked if I could include a picture of what I have, so I have done that. Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 17:34

1 Answer 1


A tree like this is likely to be a creative and original interpretation of the artist and researcher. The artist/researcher was trying to paint a beautiful picture of the direct line, starting from themselves, which wouldn't include many of the siblings and aunts and uncles, and going up the Sherman line, including direct father and only noteworthy siblings that have perhaps went off and created different interesting or important branches. This tree serves to help Sherman descendants quickly identify a branch they may belong to based on a well known or affluent relative and see how they connect into the descendants of Patriarch at the bottom.

I'm very familiar with this particular Sherman family from my personal research and can tell you that that's very likely what the author is doing here.

This is reinforced by the footnote that the more complete (and traditional) tree can be seen by looking up the rest of the work by Arthur Sherman Meloy of CT. Arthur was an author and drew many similar charts, not just for his own genealogical research but also for other histories as well. His charts are registered with the Library of Congress.

To continue, find the common ancestor, make a photo copy of it, and create a branch with your father's father, your father and you (or if you want to get creative and it's not a paternal line, the mothers...) or try to find the more complete, traditional tree and continue it on that way.


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