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How to Organize a Family Tree Map

By Patti Perry ; Updated April 18, 2017
Family dynamics can be captured visually on paper with a concept map.

A family tree concept map uses a particular family growth as its theme. It makes relationships visual as a cascading diagram of boxes or circles showing familial growth. Linking phrases can also be inserted to help explain the relationships. This can be especially helpful with the changing diversity of blended families and the many varied new relationship bonds that are created out of all these interconnected situations. Concept maps visually help organize our growing and changing family dynamics. They bring order through perceived regularity and labeling of the changing family. This allows our brains to easily retain the image.

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Place the main parental box at the top of your concept map. This indicates the top of the hierarchy contained within this concept map. It will hold the names of the oldest couple that propagated this family

Situate subordinating boxes below to indicate offspring.

Designate spouses with a different shape enclosure and place under their partner.

Link a mate box with a semantic unit, which adds meaning and explains the connection. Linking words or phrases help define relationships in the family tree. Some of these might simply be mate, wife or husband and son or daughter for children connections.

Add more boxes as the family members reproduce and add mates. The map will splay open as you proceed to expand the concept map by adding relationships.

Connect the boxes with cross linking arrows to show relationships between members and label these with descriptive phrases.

Things You Will Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil


After working out your concept map on paper, you can transfer the information to a computerized rendition.

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About the Author

Patti Perry is currently attending West Virginia University and expanding her knowledge base. She has worked as a freelance visual artist for 30 years, with specialties in watercolor and scherenschnitte. Originality of creation is her motivation and she continues to pursue this avenue in her writing. Perry is currently contributing articles to eHow.

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