More on Fan Charting

It seems to be a mathematical law of nature that fan charts cannot be more than 9 generations long. But I have worked out a plan for myself when I run into a line that takes me further into the past. First I cheat and start further up then I should. For instance, in this case, I did not start with myself but my grandfathers mother. That eliminated 3 generations. Then I don’t try to have even blocks. The past that spreads further, I allow to fan out into the empty blocks. This makes for an unappealing chart visually but does fit the names so that I can see my work in graph form.

Fan chart

Once I have names up, it does simplify and organize my work. Instead of having hundreds of names to record and their histories, I see that I have several families of which to record. My work is then minimized and more doable.


Another discovery I made regards the gathered information for a chart. I have had my Grandfathers paternal side in a paper bundle for years, being told all the work was done. Now that I open it up in order to turn it into a fan chart, I discover that the bundle of information is only that. It is a bundle of certificates and page copies that have no direction or defined line.

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This is the equivalent of someone going to the library and copying all the pages and then they stop. It reminds me of a puzzle that isn’t assembled yet. The pieces lay on my table but nothing is connected, so one sees the picture. It is a mess of certificates, unconnected names and disjointed relationships. This is what I don’t want to leave behind me. This reminds me of why I have this blog. It is one thing to do the work of gathering information. But then it needs to be presentable, readable and understandable to those who come along interested.

Everything I have gathered means nothing unless it’s turned into a story. I hope I get all this done. Thinking about it in terms of families makes it easier.

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