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Family Search: The Portrait Pedigree



Over the weekend, a friend sent me a text that said this:

Hi Amberly! An elderly gentleman at the Care Center has asked me to get a copy of his genealogy! I’ve printed out some fan charts but they don’t have much information. Do you know of a simple way to print out a little more detail?….I’m in over my head!

That’s a pretty vague request from said gentleman.  I logged into FamilySearch to refresh my memory about the various printing options found in the tree.

Here is a sample of my Great Grandmother’s person page in the tree on FamilySearch:

Screen Shot 2017-08-26 at 1.23.39 PM

On the bottom right you can see a box for “Print” options.  Here is the entire “Print” menu found on a person page:

Screen Shot 2017-08-26 at 1.26.49 PM

I don’t typically print any charts from FamilySearch.  But my friend’s question got me thinking about her options.  Here was my response to her:

Hmmm… it depends on what he wants.  You could go in and find a few stories to print.  You can also print family group sheets or a picture pedigree from any person in the tree.  I’ll send you a few screenshots. 

If it were me, and I had gotten this vague request, I think I would ask a few questions of the gentleman to try to assess what he is interested in.  But based on the limited info we have to work with, I would print a few fan charts, a few stories, and the beautiful, free portrait pedigree that FamilySearch generates with the click of a button.

From my Grandpa’s person page, I clicked on “Portrait Pedigree” in the “Print Menu” and was instantly given this beautiful Portrait Pedigree:

Grandpa's Portrait Pedigree

My Grandpa is the subject of the chart but my parents show as his descendants.  I edited out their personal information.  You will notice the black line under my Dad’s baby picture.  This is a helpful reminder of which of the descendants are children of the subject.  In this case only my Mom and Dad show up, but if there were multiple children showing, that line would add a lot of clarity.

If you are linked into the Family Tree* found on, give the Portrait Pedigree a try, see what charts are there for you.


Happy Monday!  I hope you make a fabulous genealogy discovery today!



*Please note that no one “has a tree” on  The Family Tree found on FamilySearch is a collaborative tree.  The goal of that tree is to have only one instance of each person who has ever lived on the earth.  Family Tree users are encouraged to work together to make the tree as accurate and complete as possible with good sources and reason statements.  If you are not interested in participating in this complicated work, don’t feel bad about that, but also, please don’t get upset by the mistakes that are found there or fall into the mistake of believing that someone “put your tree on FamilySearch”.  You have LOTS of distant cousins who share large portions of your tree.  No one “put your tree on FamilySearch”.  😉


23 thoughts on “Family Search: The Portrait Pedigree”

  1. I don’t keep a tree on FamilySearch, but I use Family Tree Maker to print out reports and charts. Usually the reports are long and boring, and the charts contain so many people that you need a ream of paper to make it legible!

    1. I used to use PAF (Personal Ancestral File) and I can relate – the reports were long and boring, and not at all aesthetically pleasing. This one is so simple and beautiful that I was pleasantly surprised.

    1. Well… it’s a lot of work to participate in the Tree on FamilySearch because of the collaborative nature and the mistakes that crop up, so I wouldn’t dive in based on this chart alone. If you are interested for other reasons too, then I say go for it. But I’m glad you like this lovely chart! 😉

      1. 🙂 Thanks for that. Given how little time I seem to find for my research these days, it’s probably not the right time for me to add anything to my workload.

    1. Thank you Sheryl. I was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity and beauty of this particular chart. It was especially nice to just click one button and have it created automatically.

  2. I love the portrait tree too! I once added (and fixed lots of errors) several generations to the Family Tree. This was before you could add images and stories. I still get alerts when changes are made but can no longer keep up with “fixing” errors made by new users who have no experience with the entire process.

    1. I completely understand that! I also get notifications of changes. I only “babysit” my direct line ancestors that I have researched fully. I do check in every now and then on others, but I have no interest in having a battle with a distant cousin over some fact. I prefer to focus on areas no one else is working on, fully source those people and add images, sources, and notes. Generally those people are left exactly as I last left them.

      I’m glad you like this chart too. I was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity and beauty of it.

  3. Thanks so much. Very informative😂love familysearch. Using it for YEARS. The best ever.

  4. This is really amazing. The thought of switching my stuff from Ancestry to FamilySearch makes me want to search for my own headstone, if you know what i mean. I would love to be able to do this, but right now my big project (ahead of me) is to figure out how to get my tree on my own computer in the easiest way possible.

    1. Oh, please don’t feel pressure to add to your to-do list!! Are you using Ancestry for your tree? If so, you can easily download a gedcom of your tree and upload it into any genealogy software program you like. Good luck!

        1. Oh goodness, I don’t offhand. I know that a lot of people have strong opinions on software options. Do you ever read Randy Seaver’s blog Geneamusings? He has written several posts about different software options.

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