Friday, September 23, 2011

Pedigree Charts in Genealogy

By Karen Utter Jennings
            This week I want to talk about using pedigree charts.  These charts focus on your direct ancestral line.  Picture a tree with the central trunk and branches leading from the trunk.  Pedigree charts resemble the tree; the branches represent family members stemming from the leading family member.  Only each person’s mother and father are listed on the charts.  Pedigree charts differ from family group charts because they focus on direct lines  and only birth, death, and marriage dates.  Group sheets provide space for a family group and much more information on them. 
            Begin filling out your pedigree chart with yourself, then your father and mother, your father’s parents, and continue on displaying the line of your direct ancestors back in time.  The standard pedigree chart measures 8 ½ by 11 inches format and displays four generations.  Larger pedigree charts are available that can hold more generations, but they are not used as much as the standard size. 
            When filling out pedigree charts, assign the number 1 to yourself or the family member you are tracing on the first line.  The information on your father (or ancestor #1’s father) is entered as number two on the chart, with your mother being number three.  The male line follows the upper track, while the female line follows the bottom track.  Male ancestors are assigned the even numbers and female ancestors are assigned the odd numbers.
            When you have filled in the four generations on the chart, you will need to create additional charts for each of the individual family members on the first chart.  Pedigree charts offer an easy-to-read format that helps you keep track of your family members.  Genealogy software programs generate pedigree charts in the same standard format.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011



            Every summer I watch two of my grandchildren, Kendal and Kynsey, ages 11 and 10 respectively.  On the eve of the first day of school, we decided we needed to go somewhere before our summer vacation from school ended.  We decided to go to   George Washington Carver, as it had been a while since we were there together.
            As we drove, the kids chattered about what they wanted to do when we got there.  Kynsey hoped the lab was open so she could make peanut butter and Kendal looked forward to looking under the microscope at the cool specimen slides.    
            After we poked around inside the building, it was time to hit the walking trail.  The afternoon was sunny and hot, but we were dressed in light clothing and summer shoes.  A slight breeze ruffled our hair and sent the leaves raining down on us as we walked.   
            Winding through the woods on the trail, we enjoyed our time together.  The pond was alive with critters.   A line of turtles were enjoying the sun too much to move off the log when we passed by.  Monstrous bullfrogs leaped for the safety of the water, though, when we made noise.
            When we reached the cabin, I reminded the kids about the log cabins our Utter ancestors built and lived in down in McDonald County.  They inspected the cabin with great curiosity.  We talked about gathering wood for the fireplace and hauling water from the nearby stream.
            At the Carver Family cemetery, we talked about death, burial, graves and cemetery stones.  Kendal and Kynsey compared the elaborate stones to the simple ones.  They know how to do rubbings, as we’ve done that on our family’s headstones. 
            The trip to Carver National Monument turned into a mini lesson about how our ancestors lived and worked.  Every chance I get, I share genealogy with my four grandkids.  They know about the research I do and they go with me to cemeteries and libraries.
            I feel it is my duty to teach children about our heritage.  To help them understand where we came from and to cherish our ancestor’s way of life.   Until next week, I wish you well on your genealogy journey. 

NOTE: Dear Readers, this was written for September 16, 2009 edition of THE POST newspaper. Since fall is in the air at our house and the days are wonderfully in the 70's, I thought it would be nice to republish this right now.