How Do You Fill Out a Pedigree Chart?

To fill out a pedigree chart, write all of the family names in the natural order, beginning with the first, followed by the middle (initial) and surname. Identify all female ancestors using their maiden names, and include nicknames and such of individuals only in parentheses. When surnames experience variations in spelling, separate the varying forms with a slash, such as "JONES/JONAS."

The customary form for writing dates on pedigree charts is to write the day and four-digit year in unpunctuated numbers along with a three-letter abbreviation for the month between them; for instance, "05 Jan 1850." However, on some ancestral forms, particularly handwritten ones, it is advisable to spell out "January" and "June" completely to avoid confusion. For clarity, always spell out the surname of each member in all capital letters, and leave "country of origin" spaces blank when the answers are repetitive.

Always enter yourself and your spouse in the number one slots, your father in slot number two and mother in three. Typically, maternal entries appear on the lower line with female generation numbers multiplied by two and one added -- they are always designated with odd numbers. To facilitate research and avoid mistakes on the software, begin with a printed hard-copy version of the pedigree chart, fill it in, and then transfer it to the computer.