I have fan charts at last!

Today I finished a genealogy task I’ve been working on for ages: computer drawn fan charts of all my direct ancestors. I wanted charts that were easy to update, would fit on an A4 page so I could print them at home, and can stick discretely on the wall as a visual guide to where I’ve got and where I need to do some research next. They’re not perfect but they’re meant to be working documents, not works of art.

Having had a career in advertising I’m proficient at desktop publishing, and having a Mac means access to fantastic software, so I’m not suggesting everyone does this! But if you want to have a go, you could download a template (there are plenty of them online), import it as a picture, then add your own text boxes. Or you could write the names in by hand on a tracing paper overlay over a printed blank chart. (In the past I’ve tried writing on printed blank charts but all it takes is one mistake to make a mess of it!)

I’ve done screen shots so you can see them, though they may not reproduce too well here. But at least you’ll get the idea. I did two of them, starting from my two sets of grandparents.

Strachan & McCrae chart
Strachan and McCrae Fan Chart

Fraser & Green chart
Fraser and Green Fan Chart

Now I’ve finally got something that gives me an overall visual I can see where the gaps are, and do some interesting analysis.

3 responses to “I have fan charts at last!

  1. Great idea. It can really help to make new mental connections when you look at your data in a visual way. So far I’ve scribbled charts on paper and in doing so I realized I knew more than I thought I did. I’ll try a fan chart!

    • Welcome to my blog. I agree, having a visual reminder of where you are is really helpful. It took me several false starts before finding a format that worked, but fan charts turned out to be the answer.

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