Tracking down your family's history and locating details on ancestors can be a time consuming process. Once all the work has been completed, sharing it with others in the family is as simple as plugging the information into a website template and taking your site live. Fortunately, other genealogists and web design gurus have already done the legwork for you and created family tree templates for just this purpose. There are a wide variety of templates available that will work for those who have almost no web design knowledge to those with more advanced skills.
Genealogy Templates for Websites
When it comes to creating a website, there are many different formats available. Fortunately, no matter what your experience level or platform preference, there is likely a family tree template available that will suit your needs. Unfortunately, there are few reviews available for these templates. Where available, they are detailed, but where they're not available, the templates were researched carefully to add important details about their usefulness.
Free HTML Templates
Arbor Vita offers an HTML template generator from freeware that you download to your computer. You then input all the information available for your family tree. The software will generate HTML files for you, which can be uploaded to your website via an FTP program. The initial information on your family tree should be saved in GEDCOM format. Almost any family tree software, including free ones and online sites that offer family tree tracking, can convert the format to GEDCOM. The advantage of using this type of software to build your website is that you can easily update your genealogy database or generate new pages and upload those. You can also share the data with other family members who have or might want to download family tree software.
Although a search did not turn up any readily available reviews of this software, the template proved easy to download and convert files. In addition, it is mentioned on sites like GenSoftReviews and Cindy's List as a viable option for building genealogy websites.
Pedigree Online Thoroughbred Database
Even though Pedigree Online Thoroughbred Database is created to generate free pedigrees of horses, it would certainly work to generate a human family pedigree chart. Simply start with the generation the furthest back and take it out to present day. Fill in each box with any information you'd like, including birth dates, names, and interesting information. Once you have completed each branch of the family tree's box, hit the gray box that reads "Get HTML Code". Copy the code that appears and paste into a notebook file. Save as .html, and upload to the website where your files will be hosted.
Free CSS Template
Genealogy Web Creations
Genealogy Web Creations offers CSS-based templates which are free to download on this genealogy-specific website. Some of the offerings are more general in nature, but would still work for genealogy.
If you're looking for a true genealogy-specific template, check out the Family Blue template. This template features the words "Our Family" in the upper right corner. You can add a masthead that is a portrait from a family reunion or another photo of importance to your family. The zipped file also has a rose shade template included. Instructions on how to use the file on your website are included in the zipped file. The zipped file contains all graphics, sample html pages and CSS markups.
Other Free Formats
The following templates can be converted into PDF, HTML or uploaded as a Doc that can be downloaded on Google or elsewhere by anyone you choose to allow access.
Family Tree Templates
At Family Tree Templates, you'll find several different types of family tree forms that can be downloaded for free. You will need to share your e-mail address to download the form. You can choose a simple form or one with over 100 places for ancestors to be listed.
Some examples of forms include:
- A four generation family tree
- A seven generation with vital statistics
- A family tree with lines
- Trees without graphics
You can customize any of these forms by adding your own graphics and information. The forms are downloaded in PDF format, so you'll either need a program that can edit PDF files, such as Adobe, or you will need to convert online to another file type. Once you have filled in the blanks, convert back to a PDF and upload to your website, or convert into HTML format.
Google Documents offers free web space and genealogy templates. You'll find a number of pedigree charts, which can be filled in with your family's genealogical details. The file can be saved, and you can share with family members by adding them to the document. Even better, you can give access to other people who you want to let edit the files. This means that if your cousin in Oklahoma has details about your great-great grandmother, she can go in and add those details for everyone to see.
Users are able to review templates on Google. You'll notice that the Family Tree Chart template receives 5 out of 5 stars, while other templates may only have a 1 or 2 star rating. Users also leave comments about which templates are easiest to use. Family Tree by Amrita Sangani is a color-coded chart and also has a five-star rating.
Online Family Tree Wizards
If you have no web design experience, but want to get your research online for others to see, these online wizards will help you upload a pedigree, share with others, and receive input from other people in your family. While some of these sites offer paid services as well, these wizards are free to use, as is the web space to host your family tree information.
RootsWeb offers FreePages. Simply request a FreePage, and then upload your family's information in a GEDCOM format. You can obtain this format with some of the free software, such as the Arbor Vita program listed above. You can either use their free wizard or, as you get more advanced in your web-building skills, you can upload HTML files. The pages can be updated at any time, but information is not protected, so be cautious about releasing sensitive family information publicly.
No1Reviews.com gives them only 3 out of 5 stars, mainly because the free sites offer redirects to Ancentry.com, where fees are charged for additional services. However, if you are looking for a basic site to get started, this is still a viable option.
MyHeritage offers the opportunity to network with other family members. The site offers a simple-to-use wizard where you can input names and photographs, and then choose who to connect them to, such as family members. You can also import GEDCOM files if you already have the information stored in your computer.
This site is like a social networking and family tree website built into one place online. You may even find family members you've lost touch with and reconnect on this site. T
opTenReviews.com gives MyHeritage site different ratings for different aspects. For the database, it garners a 7.5 out of 10. However, when it comes to help and support for users, it only earns a 3.8 out of 10. The consensus seems to be that the site offers many features for free that other sites charge for, but you may be on your own if you don't understand how to use a feature. Also, be cautious because the system will ask multiple times to publish personal information that you may not want publicly listed online.
Tribal Pages offers a free website builder. You can create charts, upload photos, and even publish family stories. Invite your family to join, see your pages, and use the mobile app to upload on the go. For example, if you visit the family cemetery, you can snap a photo of a long deceased ancestor's gravestone and upload it to the site.
One of the great things about this site is the security features available without paying extra money. You can limit which information others can see, who can see it, or which info shows for living versus deceased family members.
Consider Ease of Updating
Since you will likely continue to research your family tree and update it occasionally, aim for a template that will be easy for you to update. If you aren't familiar with CSS and find the concept complicated, try something like an online wizard or a WordPress site, which may be quicker and easier for you to update. Remember that you'll also want to build a resource to leave for future generations, so having the ability to update regularly is one of the most important aspects of the site design you choose.