When you are trying to make sense of family connections, seeing is believing. Each of the four FamilySearch Family Tree pedigree views reveals a panorama of ancestors. By clicking on a specific name, you can discover personal details, and family history comes to life.
The various Family Tree views help beginners see how ancestral lines fit together. They also provide experts with a broader vision of where to go next.
How to Get Started
Once you have signed in to FamilySearch.org, click Family Tree. In the far left corner is a drop-down that will allow you to switch between views. Each view has similar information but different layouts.
Before you take a look at the various views, here is how to navigate each of the four views:
- To close all your expanded lines and return to yourself, click the Home icon.
- To read details about a person on the tree, click the person’s name. A summary box will open. (To see the person’s page, click the highlighted name in the box.)
- To expand a family line another 2 generations, click the arrow at the end of that line.
- To move a different person to the main position, click his or her name, and then in the summary box, click Tree.
- To keep all the expanded lines open and return to the starting person, click the re-center icon under the home button.
The Options Panel
The Options panel in the top right of the screen gives you several ways to customize what you see in your tree. Its options vary depending on which tree view you are using.
- Select icons that indicate record hints, research suggestions, and data problems to see this information reflected on the tree.
- To display or hide portraits, select Portraits.
- To change the color scheme from light to dark, click Invert Colors.
- To print a pedigree, click Options, and then click Print.
Family Tree Views
Fan Chart View
The fan chart is a colorful, fascinating tool for young and old alike. It shows up to 7 generations. To the right of the chart view drop-down, you can choose how many generations you would like to see.
Many useful features in the fan chart provide hints and helps that make it easy to identify where your line ends. This view also includes a chart-view option list. Using this list, you can select from multiple, color-coded views that illuminate different kinds of information in your tree. This information includes the following:
- Your family lines.
- The birth countries of your ancestors.
- The number of sources attached to each relative.
- The number of stories attached to each relative.
- The number of photos attached to each relative.
Your name appears at the center bottom of the fan chart, with your spouse and children underneath. Maternal ancestors appear on the right, and paternal ancestors appear on the left. Your spouse’s ancestors will not show up in this view unless you are looking at your spouse’s fan chart.
The descendancy view can help you find the descendants of your ancestors. It is especially useful if you have a very full family tree. This view shows more than parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents; with the descendancy view, you may also find distant aunts, uncles, and cousins as well!
The landscape view is displayed horizontally. You are in the center, descendants are on the left, and ancestors are on the right. In this view, you can see the children of a couple by clicking Children at the bottom of the couple box. Click the arrow again to return to the previous view.
The portrait view displays the family tree in a vertical position, with you and your descendants at the bottom and your ancestors above you.
Family Tree Views Help Us See the Past
The visual effect of grouping families in a family tree may spark a greater interest in research and hopefully create a heart-turning desire to learn more about those loved ones—your heritage—that will lead to connections of the past, present, and even the future.