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Fancy Family Trees
Don't be shy about showing off your pedigree — create a calligraphic wall chart to display it proudly.

Want to create a family heirloom that's guaranteed to hang on your descendants' walls? Record your family tree on a handmade wall chart. If you know calligraphy or have beautiful handwriting, you've got a head start on this project. If not, hire someone to do the lettering (ask at a fine stationery store), or buy a few calligraphy pens with tips in various sizes and practice some strokes. Easy-to-use lettering templates also are available at art-supply stores.

Step 1: Rough it out.

Referring to your five-generation pedigree chart, sketch a pleasing drop-line chart on scrap paper. Write the names (no need to be super-neat yet) and link individuals with connecting lines. Researchers typically use the following "codes" to show relationships clearly: Place the names of a married couple side by side (the husband on the left and the wife on the right), with a long equal sign (=) between them. Drop a line from the equal sign to that couple's children. Write their names left to right in birth order, and draw a horizontal line above their names to connect them. From the horizontal connecting line, drop a short line to each child's name.

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