A. Plenty of businesses will take your GEDCOM or genealogy software’s proprietary file and turn it into a large wall chart. Find links to charting companies on FamilyTreeMagazine.com and Cyndi’s List.
Some companies focus more on artistic presentations with photos and illustrations, which are beautiful but may limit the size of the chart; others specialize in, yards-long text charts showing every member of your family. Some do both.
Take a look at photos of finished charts on the company Web site. Narrow your list to companies that offer the type of chart you need, then look at the ones that can work within your time frame and budget.
Some questions to ask each company when youre deciding which one to go with:
- What are my options (if any) as far as chart size, typeface, text color and size, paper color, etc.?
- Will I get to see a digital proof of the chart before its printed? (So you can make sure the information is correct.)
- If I dont like how the proof looks, are there any charges for making changes to it?
- Do you keep the chart on file in case I want to order additional copies?
- What is the charge for updating the chart with new genealogical information and having it reprinted in the future?
- What special steps should I take to prepare my GEDCOM (or proprietary software file) before sending it to you?
- What are your file specifications for photos? (If you want to include pictures in your chart.)
- What delivery method do you use? How long will shipping take?
For best results, before you export your GEDCOM, go through your genealogy files and standardize date and place formats. For example, if you abbreviate one state name, abbreviate them all; and format your dates as day/month/year, as in 22 April 1907. Also make sure names are spelled correctly and check for typos.
When you tote the chart to your family reunion, remember to bring pens so people can add information or make corrections.
For our reviews of several chart-printing companies, see the April 2006 Family Tree Magazine.