10 Tips for Mapping Your Family History

Define Your Map
Start out with a visual idea of what you want your family tree to look like. John Lund/Getty Images

Mapping your family history may involve hard facts, but it's definitely a creative process to turn out a visual representation of your lineage through time. Although it might evolve as you progress, start with some idea of what you hope to accomplish. For example, a traditional family tree with names and basic details (birth, death, location of each) is a simple, but satisfying depiction of lineage that can be drawn by hand or designed using specialized software. Including major life events, photos and other appealing details can also add depth to an otherwise standard family history tree.

Migration mapping, which uses literal maps to depict the actual locations of family members through time, is gaining in popularity among the tech-savvy crowd. This effect can be achieved via free services like Google Earth, or with interactive software that actually shows animated representations of where and when ancestors relocated over the years. No longer will you stumble over the specifics of who immigrated from where and via what route! Instead, you'll be able to watch history come to life right before your eyes.