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I use Ancestry.com and Family Tree Maker 2012, and would like to produce a multi-page PDF chart, probably in Landscape orientation, that lists myself at bottom and a chosen direct ancestor at top, separated by a "row" for each intervening ancestor that also includes his/her siblings.

Perhaps something like this ...

enter image description here

Does such a chart exist and have a name?

I would like to use such a chart to look for child naming patterns between the generations and share with other family members as "evidence" that an ancestor has been correctly identified when there is little else to use to establish that ancestry.

  • I see this more commonly referred to in other software as a type of "chart." (Some programs have a variety of charting options.) For an Ancestry.com online tree tree, start at the overview (what I call the profile view). Then click "view his/her family tree." The family tree will open in either pedigree view or family view. Family View will produce a "chart" that contains the diagram style I believe you are seeking. – GeneJ Oct 15 '12 at 0:06
  • @GeneJ What I am looking for is more correctly called a Chart as you suggest but the Family View of Ancestry.com does not isolate the tree components I am interested in sharing with other family members in a format that is easy for them to use. – PolyGeo Oct 15 '12 at 0:39
  • There are an infinite number of report or chart outputs that one might want. There are two approaches programs use for generating outputs. One. They have built-in report templates. If one of them does what you want you're in luck. If not you're out of luck. Two. There are a few programs that let you "program" your output reports. Some just let you customize pre-existing reports, but some allow complete programmability. If you want a very special report, formatted exactly the way you want it, you may have to search out this latter type of program. – Tom Wetmore Oct 15 '12 at 1:27
  • I could probably program this using Python if my need became critical. For now I am only interested in determining whether one already exists - and knowing what people are likely to call such a chart would help me in my search efforts. – PolyGeo Oct 15 '12 at 1:58
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You can do this in Visual Chartform (The Master Genealogist). Use the List of People report to create a temporary dataset that includes only those individuals in the direct line (filter for 'is an ancestor of X and is a descendant of Y'). Then run the Ancestor Box Chart (with the option to include siblings) against that temporary data set. There is an example of a small left-to-right chart (could be bottom to top) here: Direct Line ancestor chart

Disclaimer: I am a TMG user and volunteer as a moderator on the WG forum.

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  • Welcome, Virginia! Right on! ++1 This answer not only describes a solution, but provides a link to the result. – GeneJ Oct 17 '12 at 23:40
  • Thanks Virginia - that looks exactly like what I want to do - plan to do the free evaluation and then decide whether to buy. – PolyGeo Oct 18 '12 at 1:01
  • @PolyGeo. There is a VCF help forum with chart examples here if you have any questions. – Virginia Blakelock Oct 18 '12 at 2:17
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    @VirginiaBlakelock Do you work for Wholly Genes? If so you should add a disclaimer regarding that at the end of your answer. – user47 Oct 18 '12 at 19:03
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    @VirginiaBlakelock Hello, per the help center, I've removed your signature. Because your posts are always automatically pre-signed, there's no need to re-sign them. :) – American Luke Aug 19 '13 at 19:05
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This type of chart is available in Gramps; I ran one just this weekend to trace a line between me and a specific ancestor:

ReportsGraphsFamily Lines Graph...

In the window that pops up, switch to the People of Interest tab. Click the green "plus" button to add a person, choose from the list that pops up. Repeat for the second person.

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  • I'd heard mentions of Gramps but had not visited its home page to discover that it is free and open source. Before I go to troible of downloading and testing it could you tell me whether, when I attempt a 10 generation "ancestors and siblings" chart, I will have to manually add every sibling to each ancestor on my direct line? – PolyGeo Oct 15 '12 at 22:22
  • It supports GEDCOM, so export GEDCOM from Ancestry or FTM, then import to Gramps and run your chart. Output as SVG will give you the best results. – bstpierre Oct 15 '12 at 23:07
  • I'm a strong support of gramps but I'm not sure it has the graph you are looking for. I believe the family lines graph will 'keep going' and not just show the siblings, but their descendents etc. Only way to tell if it's what you want is to try. Should only take a couple of minutes. And gramps is exensible so if it doesn't have it yet, they could probably add it for you (or you could add yourself) – Duncan Oct 16 '12 at 0:30
  • @PolyGeo No, even if you only select the great-great grandparent, all the siblings will be included. – Philip Marlowe Oct 16 '12 at 8:35
  • @PolyGeo You should try gramps. With Gramps you have remarkable control over the produced graphs. You can define the family lines or even the individuals you want to include to portray relationships and you can create complex diagrams in the desired size and orientation, depending on your particular chart printing needs. – Philip Marlowe Oct 16 '12 at 9:13
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Genbox calls these "convergence charts" but I don't think they have a commonly accepted name. http://genbox.com/charts/charts4.htm

You can select a set of people that you want show,n so you can do connections between more than just two people if you want.

Although Genbox can be used as your primary research database, some people use it as an add-on just for its strong charting capabilities.

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Well, I thought I was going to have a solution for you, but FTM2012 is frustrating me :)

An older version of FTM used to have an ancestor chart that showed all direct ancestors of a person, plus had an option to display siblings of each person in the tree.

The ancestor chart has been replaced by the Pedigree Chart and Vertical Pedigree Chart, and they don't allow the inclusion of siblings anymore. However, these charts don't allow the selection of a single ancestral line either.

Descendant Chart and Relationship Chart can show the direct line between you and the specified ancestor, but there's no option to show siblings here either. On the Descendant Chart, there's only a checkbox to display the primary person's siblings.

There's also an Outline Descendant Report, which also can show the direct line between two people, but again no siblings.

There are many other charts and reports available in FTM2012, but unfortunately I don't see that any can do exactly what you need.

So it appears that the closest you can get from FTM2012 is the Descendant Chart with the checkbox to include the primary person's siblings (the top ancestor's siblings). It'll include everyone you want, but also include ALL of their descendants ;-)

You may want to submit an enhancement request to Ancestry and suggest that they offer an option to display siblings on the descendant and/or relationship charts.

Finally, there are independent charting programs, so I just did a quick Google search to see what's out there and came across the Charting Companion website. This product includes an "Ancestor with Siblings" chart that appears to be what you want, and it can read your FTM files. The website claims that it's the only genealogy software available that can create this type of chart. I have not personally used this product.

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  • +1 Thanks @efgen - I was not aware of Charting Companion. However, the departure of its Ancestor with Siblings chart from my requirement is that it appears not to restrict the lineage followed to just the direct line between me and a distant ancestor. I wish to use this for ancestors 10 (maybe more) generations distant from me which means 2^10 (1024) ancestors PLUS their siblings in that most distant generation. Restricting to just the direct line means one ancestor plus perhaps a dozen siblings per generation - which is far more manageable. – PolyGeo Oct 15 '12 at 6:09
  • @PolyGeo - Indeed, I just downloaded their free trial to check it out and you're right, you can't select a single ancestral line. Perhaps you can contact them as well to suggest this as an option. See which company implements your suggestion first ;-) – efgen Oct 15 '12 at 16:31
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As efgen suggests, when your data management tool does not have the display functions that you want, you may need to look for outside help.

Is FTM able to export data as an HTML file? If so, you may be able to separate the formatting of the chart from the selection of the data.

A CSS file is available that will manage the display, in the format that you want, of a set of nested lists. The file (which I did not develop but stumbled upon) can be copied freely at http://thecodeplayer.com/walkthrough/css3-family-tree

With it, I have turned http://i.stack.imgur.com/6jVlT.jpg into http://i.imgur.com/a4E1W.jpg

I have not embedded the images because they are large in area (but not weight). Easy to open in a new tab.

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  • Many thanks for taking the time to investigate this. CSS and HTML are probably outside my interest and current capability but I can now see how knowledge of them could be useful. As far as I can see neither FTM or Ancestry.com will let me export the starting HTML but perhaps I can pass GEDCOM from FTM through GedHTree to get HTML. – PolyGeo Oct 15 '12 at 22:28
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I use RootsMagic (there is a free version). When you create a chart it is very easy to erase any info you don't want included. To erase the unwanted information, you mark out a box (any size) with the cursor and press delete.

For your purpose, I would pick the ancestor, create a descendent chart and then delete the extraneous branches. Finally, I'd move the remaining individuals around (a click and drag procedure) until I thought it was 'pretty'/just right.

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As efgen notes, this option used to be available in FTM. No longer having it available makes me frustrated as I used to make them often, and when upgrading to a new version you don't expect to lose features.

Perhaps you could export the FTM file to an earlier version (I see you can export as FTM Version 2008/2009)? - but then you'd need to have the earlier software too. I have about 5 earlier versions, but don't really want to reload any & run the risk of messing about with the settings for FTM 2012.

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It took me a full day to get this chart done, but here are two solutions:

(A) Graphic box chart with photos and some facts (birth, death) (1) Isolate your dataset of names you want to include and copy them into a brand new file. Different programs approach this task differently. In RootsMagic, I created a 'named group' of my 81 names, exported to a gedcom file, then imported the gedcom into a new database file. (2) Create the descendant chart with your ancestor on the top. It will include all your identified descendants and their siblings just like you wanted. The problem I ran into was one of my ancestors had 16 siblings so the chart was very wide (7 wide x 2 high). I was able to drag all the names flush left first, save it, then print the saved file to a (2 x 1) page pdf using the scale function in your regular printer settings. (Living people deleted for privacy). Program-created Descendants Chart

(B) Text Chart using only horizontal and vertical connecting lines. (1) Chart it all out on a piece of paper manually (2) Format a spreadsheet to look like old style graph paper with small squares (3) Go for it! Just keep adding rows and columns and shifts names and facts around till you have what you desire. Save early and often!

Yes, I know, who else but an engineer or an accountant will stay up till 4am in the morning to do something like this. But it came out brilliantly. The objective was to illustrate for the the College of Arms the right to a Grant of Arms bestowed on an ancestor 300 years ago. The spreadsheet approach is the only way I have found to create the old-style stick chart where you can have total control over the outcome e.g. yellow highlighting the ancestry path you are trying to demonstrate, text formatting, showing only relevant facts, etc. If you are not comfortable with a spreadsheet, just use a pencil and ruler, but all the erasing might get messy! Excel stick chart (Below is a close-up of the spreadsheet. Gridlines disappear when it is printed to a graphic format.) Close-up clip of spreadsheet chart

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