Mommy Blog Expert

Friday, September 30, 2016

Free Family Tree Pedigree Charts Where to Get Them & How to Fill in Your Relatives Info

Part 2 in a Series

How to Fill Out Your Genealogy Pedigree Chart

by Joan Stewart Smith, Guest Blogger
Stewart Communications
If you've ever wondered who your ancestors are, with the plentiful genealogy online resources available for you to tap into, there's no better time time than now to find out.  When you start your family tree research, the first step is to fill out your pedigree chart, one of the most widely used standard forms in genealogy. But not many people are sure what a pedigree chart looks like or how to complete it properly, even though it's quite simple once you learn about it step-by-step.

The word “pedigree” brings to mind dog breeds and racehorses, but the shining star of your pedigree chart is you. The 8-1/2 x 11-inch pedigree chart is basically a family tree turned sideways instead of upward, giving you a snapshot of essential info about your direct lineage. At first glance, anyone can follow the pedigree chart’s path between you and your direct-line ancestors, and check out their names, dates and places of birth, marriage and death (“BMD”).

Free Downloadable Pedigree Charts
Where do you find a blank pedigree chart? You can download and this free printable pedigree form from Daughters of the American Revolution, which you can fill out by pencil. 

Another good option is to use this no-cost interactive PDF form from Brigham Young University's Public TV & Radio Stations to fill out on your computer. 

Now that you have the blank chart, you’re ready to start. Remember this first step of your quest is only to fill in the information that you already know, so don’t be frustrated if you think you should know more. You’ll start your detective work later when you ask other family members and begin to search for the missing information.

1. Write the number “1” where it says “Chart No.” in the upper right-hand corner. Then move your eyes to the far left side of the page. Fill in your name over the line labeled Number 1. Write the info requested under your name. If you’re married, write your spouse’s name on the line below. Now record your father’s name in the Number 2 spot and your mother’s name in the Number 3 spot, and fill in the info under each.

2. Before you continue, note a few general tips: Capitalize all surnames such as JOHNSON or RODRIGUEZ. Use only maiden names for all the women on your chart. If you can’t recall someone’s first and middle name, just leave it blank with spaces to fill in later. If someone has a nickname, enter it in quotes (“Katie”) with their given name. If you’re just not sure about something you wrote, flag it with a question mark.

3. Write dates down as “day-month-year,” so for example, you will record, “7 Sep 1955.” You don’t need to add punctuation after the month’s abbreviation. You won’t know all dates, of course, so simply leave the spot blank or write “abt. 1901.”  When you list places, write the sequence “city, county, state, country” such as “Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA” or “Drangan, Tipperary, Ireland.” There is no need to write “county” with the county name.

4. Focusing back on the chart, do you see how your father’s side is growing toward the top of the chart and your mother’s side toward the bottom?  And how all males are even numbers and all females are odd numbers?  With that in mind, add your paternal grandparents (your father’s parents) in Number 4 and Number 5, and your maternal grandparents (your mother’s parents) in Number 6 and Number 7.

5. If you can, continue adding names until you’ve filled in the last blanks on your chart, which is usually the 4th generation, your four sets of great grandparents. When you reach this point, you’ll need to start additional pedigree charts. Just re-enter each great grandparent’s name on a newly numbered pedigree chart, referencing his or her number in the original. For example, your great grandfather (your father’s father’s father), who is Number 8 on your chart, becomes ancestor #1 on a new chart.

Chances are you soon will use the computer to track your research. Your genealogy software will display and print out the standard format of your pedigree chart, and other charts and forms used by genealogists everywhere.  After you finish your first pedigree chart, don’t worry if you can only go back so far. This is only the beginning of your exciting new adventure exploring your family history.

You never know who'll you discover in your tree...

Don't Miss the Other Posts in MBE's Genealogy Series

About the Author
Joan Stewart Smith, who ranks genealogy among her favorite hobbies, is a married mom of a son who will soon be starting the college application process. As a highly creative talent, she heads Stewart Communications, an independent consultancy specializing in PR, marketing communications, social media, and writing. During her career, she has promoted products and services for clients ranging from fast-growing startups to established Fortune 100 companies, as well as PR and advertising agencies. Previously, she was a vice president at a leading high tech PR agency in Los Angeles.  Joan holds a B.A. in English and Journalism from San Jose State University and studied in the UCLA Department of Information Studies. Follow Joan on Twitter.

FTC Disclosure: The content for this blogpost is provided by Joan Stewart Smith and opinions here are the author's, photos included as credited.  However, readers should keep in mind that no MBE blogpost is a substitute for advice by a qualified professional of your choice. No brand provided payment or other compensation in connection with this post. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's home page and at the bottom of every individual page including this one.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Animals Inspire Kids to Get More Active + Galápagos Islands Family Trip Giveaway


Betting MBE's mom and dad readers agree with National Geographic Kids that both teamwork and good sportsmanship are essential values every boy and girl should possess. So I'm excited to share these adorable and inspiring photos that exemplify those characteristics and show kids they can be and do anything they want. Without a doubt, bike riding dogs, acrobatic chimpanzees, racing pigs and other wacky weekend animal athletes all express the same message: YES WE CAN!

This is such a great way to get your child motivated to start being more physically active this fall. Have kids look at these inspirational animal athletes excelling in various "sports," then ask them how many of these activities they've actually tried (or would like to do) ... swinging from a safe distance on a tree branch, you get the idea. If your son or daughter isn't the sporty type, not to worry.  Why not, instead, encourage them to take a peek at these sporty, educational and entertaining Weird But True! facts.


In the spirit of amazing creatures, there's also fun competition going on for children worldwide. Help your kid take a photo of their own special animal athlete, then enter it in the Amazing Animals category of the 2016 National Geographic Kids International Photography Contest. The prize is a family-friendly trip of a lifetime for two to the Gal├ípagos Islands provided by National Geographic Expeditions. Hurry and enter soon, because this kids photo contest ends October 15, 2016.

FTC Disclosure: I disclose I am a National Geographic Kids brand ambassador and that the content for this blogpost is inspired by that organization, with MBE adding some opinions. However, no payment or other compensation was received in connection with this post. See complete FTC disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's home page and at the bottom of every individual page including this one.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Nordstrom $200 Giftcard Giveaway Sweepstakes, Ends 10/13 Open Worldwide


Once again a group of my blogging friends and I are hosting another great giveaway. Who wants to win a $200 Nordstrom gift card to shop for fall? It's as easy as liking and following us on Instagram via the entry blank below.


Prize: $200 Nordstrom Gift Card
Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 10/13/16 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

Good Luck!!!

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Thanks to for including this contest in their directory of current giveaways.

FTC Disclosure: MommyBlogExpert and other bloggers are hosting this contest and providing the prize. I am not receiving any payment or other compensation for this post. See complete FTC disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.