Posted in Friday Finds, Websites

Friday Finds: Still shopping? Here’s a gift idea for you…

A few weeks ago I needed a gift for the outgoing director of our Family History Center.  The Family Chartmasters website came to the rescue with a beautiful “bowtie” pedigree chart.  So I am giving them a plug today.  A bowtie chart shows the ancestors for a couple, with the husband’s extending to the left and the wife’s extending to the right:

Design your own chart and give a beautiful gift.
Design your own chart and give a beautiful gift

This is actually a chart I designed myself using their easy “design it yourself option. For the gift I gave, I made a 5 generation chart on 20″ x 24″ presentation paper (archival ink) for $24.95. I added the background from their ample library, added boxes for additional children, and added embellishments and a title.  I even could have opted for a background using my own family photograph, like an ancestral church, or a family portrait.

I liked the results so well I made one for myself (that’s the one pictured above).  I chose to include 7 generations so I needed to use the 36″ x 48″ paper, but sizes begin at 8.5″ x 11” and depend on the number of generations you include.  I also had my pick of paper types, such as presentation paper, photoglossy, parchment, matte canvas, standard bond, and vinyl. The presentation paper suits me fine as I am going to frame it behind glass, but the canvas matte sounds pretty great.  This configuration will cost me $49.95, but extra copies will only be $24.98.

If you prefer, they can create a chart for you and will work with you to get it just right.  In either case, you will need to provide data for the chart.  Do this by uploading a GEDCOM file from your genealogy software, downloading from, or entering the data manually.

If you have created a family tree on you can create the world’s fastest fan chart on  Just log into Createfan using your Familysearch username and password and it will access your “Family Tree” and instantly show you a colorful 9 generation chart, created as a PDF file.

Chart from Createfan

There are links to website partners who will print this chart for you—the least expensive being Family Chartmasters above, who can print it for as low as $6 (20 lb bond, not archival) and as much as $66 (matte canvas, archival quality pigment inks).

Now, you might be wondering just how fast you can get one of these, because you are, um, still trying to think of the perfect gift for your parents, spouse, or children.  Good news! You can pay extra for expedited service, and then have it sent Express Mail and, voila, your gift problem is solved.  I finished creating my chart on a Thursday night and had it in my mailbox the following Tuesday.

This of course, presumes you have already done the research to know who should go into the chart! Not sure Family Chartmasters will appreciate my plug one week before Christmas, but they shouldn’t have given me such great service!

There are other options for creating quality genealogy charts, such as those in your genealogy software program, but I have not seen any better than Family Chartmasters. Two thumbs up from On Granny’s Trail!


I am an Accredited Genealogist® professional living in California. I have been researching and teaching since 1988.

3 thoughts on “Friday Finds: Still shopping? Here’s a gift idea for you…

  1. I love the chart that you created yourself! I created the fan chart and gave one to my parents and they love theirs!

    Someone told me that they created the fan chart, sent it for printing and then had it framed and gave it to a parent as a gift, knowing that the parent was into family history. He told me that his parent took one look at the fan chart and told them they had the wrong ancestors!! He was so disappointed. He hadn’t thought to verify information before having it printed up and not being into genealogy himself, he hadn’t recognized the error. Because that fan chart goes so far back, some may not have verified that far back themselves. Anyway, I now caution people to verify everyone that will appear on that tree before printing it up!

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