When designing/drawing a family tree in one view, how should I handle the parents, grandparents, etc. of a significant other of 3 children?

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C  B  D

This is a scenario where B marries someone, "F", and I want to plot their ancestry to a degree too. How do I draw out their parents, grandparents, etc. without compromising the structure of the tree?

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C  B-F  D
  • Hello and welcome to G&FH SE. Are you looking for a database-generated method or simply a layout format? I've used Excel worksheets to create complex layouts; I can provide examples if that's your goal.
    – bgwiehle
    Commented Apr 8, 2021 at 15:47

2 Answers 2


You can't draw an extra regular tree unless F is partnered to someone at the outer edge of their siblings. If, by chance, they are, then you can go upwards but beware that the further you go back with both trees, they will clash. If (as here apparently) they are in the middle of that set of siblings, the only way to draw a regular tree, will be to reorder the siblings - which you might dislike for good reason.

One way out of this is to call on the time honoured idea of a connector - for instance, a circle with some sort of code in. (Circles were the standard connector in flow charts, I think). F will have a line going up - not to their parents, but to a connector. Somewhere over to the right (perhaps) you then draw another connector with the same code, that then goes up to F's parents. And from there upwards, you draw a normal tree.

Another possibility is to draw the line from F to their parents but accept that it will cross the line down to D. Flow charts had all sorts of options for crossing lines that are not meant to touch, such as short curves interrupting a straight line but this idea can get messy quickly, especially if F also has siblings on the drawing. Personally, I prefer the clean break of a connector, but you will have to try and experiment.

  • 1
    Choose your evil: crossing lines, connectors, or siblings out of order. (The standard way of graphically dealing with multiple families is to do separate charts.)
    – JPmiaou
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 20:30

Show the unmarried couple as parents of the children without including any marriage date/place. Insert a note or comment that they were not married. Newer software really should be ready for this.

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