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May 20, 2014


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I did a wall chart for a Family Reunion in 2006. We did not have Legacy Charting then so I had to use TreeDraw Legacy Edition. I had first seen a TreeDraw chart at a Reunion for some cousins on my Father's side of the family in 2005. It took me months to get photo's for the chart and to arrange the data for best presentation on the minimum size chart. The TreeDraw editing capability is very flexible but there was quite a learning
curve. I took the TreeDraw chart to a local printer and it cost me over $200 CDN for a 36x144 inch banner. The paper was a heavier weight than normal bond for durability but I do not remember what weight it was. After the reunion I gave the wall chart to my aunt, the eldest and longest living member of my maternal grandparents family. She died a couple of years later
but her daughter told me how much she enjoyed looking at the chart.

To encourage people to send me pictures I made a small PDF for each family grouping with the photos I had for that family and sent the family a copy of that as an attachment showing what their family would look like in the chart. Since some of the pictures in my charts were years old it was a good incentive for the family to send me more recent photos or photos for those
I was missing. I also gave them some guidelines for the best kind of photo to send. Head and shoulders shot rather than a full body or group shot. Fill the frame with the person for best resolution

With Legacy Charting I am sure the whole process will be a lot easier.

I organised a family Gathering (rather than reunion--most had never met any others more distant than their own first cousins) in 2008 to celebrate the first couple's emigration to Australia 150 years before. There were insufficient photos available to make any consistent use of photos, and I did not want any individual to feel out of it because their photo did not appear, so each chart box only included full name and BMD as appropriate. All photos I had were printed in a family history book of 400 A4 pages available at the time.
I used Descendant charts. To fit all seven generations in I would have needed a chart over 11 metres (32 feet) long, which is quite possible to print but impossible to display, especially in the Immigration Museum where the Gathering was held. There was 6 metres of wall space available but I was NOT allowed to stick anything to it. There are four main branches based on the first couple's four children in the family, but one is just two generations deep. So I used four descendant charts, the first from the first couple three generations deep, and the other three charts each six generations deep from the child at the head. These three were distinctly marked red, blue and green. The four chart lengths were 1.6 m (64 inches), 4.3 m (170 inches), 3.2 m (125 inches) and 2 m (80 inches).
I obtained two white Corflute boards each 3 m (10 feet) long, and screwed them end-to-end on site to five L-shaped 40 mm x 20 mm (2 inch x 1 inch) pine legs, fastened to the wall (illegally) with Blu-tack (easily removable without marking).

The charts were then fastened to the Corflute, which was strong enough to allow people to write corrections on the charts.

Everyone who came in and registered received their Name tag (100 mm x 75 mm--4 inches x 3 inches) in a plastic holder hanging on a cord around their neck. No pins, so easy to remove or look at oneself. Each tag had a three generation Pedigree chart on it for that person, in addition to their name. The tags were produced from Legacy (see the Report Menu, Other tab).
On the paper tag was a colour dot for that branch of the family, and a second peelable colour dot on the plastic holder. Everyone was instructed to go to the Descendant Charts, find themselves, and place their second colour dot on their own name on a Chart. Apart from seeing where they themselves fitted into the family tree, their dot also showed others who was present from that family that they could seek out if desired. A great deal of time was spent around the Charts. People were encouraged to make corrections on the Charts, which were noted by me.

At the end of the function the Charts were given to those who put up the money that enabled them to be printed by plotter on heavy drawing film. (In each case they passed them on to the major genealogist in their own branch.)

In addition to the name tag, everyone received a raffle ticket and during part of the function three of the family history books mentioned earlier were given away.

Large group photos were taken of everyone and also of each of the three extant branches. There was a presentation about the family and life as it would have been for the first couple and their children when they arrived in Australia. Lunch and afternoon tea was provided, heavily subsidised to ensure as many people as possible could attend.

Corrections to what I wrote earlier. Legacy's RIN was printed on each name tag and used for the raffle (not separate tickets), and was recorded by the group photographer instead of names (much quicker) to identify everyone in each photo. The photographer was provided with a RIN ordered list of all attendees.

I love this! My cousin and I had started planning a reunion but for health reasons, my cousin had to cancel and I couldn't plan this whole thing by myself. We're talking 6+ generations here.

The problem I have experienced in the past, was paranoia. Not everyone is willing to give away personal information anymore. Not related to this reunion, but a demonstration of the problem is the time that my own sister-in-law told me off and unfriended me on Facebook and took me off her email list for sharing photos of her with ONLY my immediate family (my mother, my father and my kids). She's never spoken to me again. I kid you not! I was both very hurt and disappointed. Call me gun shy, but I'm now afraid to ask for anything personal anymore.

How do you deal with situations like that? Do you just black them out entirely? Wouldn't that look as if I were trying to retaliate, even if I wasn't?

One suggestion I have is for children. I had planned a craft of some sort, related to our family, that they could take home and keep forever. I had a bunch of ideas but the one I liked best was having them cut out rectangles from construction paper with the names of their direct ancestors down to them (ggg grandparents > gg grandparetns > great grandparents > grandparents > mom and dad > them), then linking them together with yarn. That is easier, then say a tree with apples, for longer family lines. I thought it would help the children see their relationship to them. A wall chart is good, but they need to think about it for a while to understand. This puts it into perspective. Get the children interested early! Oh and if there is anything special about those ancestors whether one is a WWII vet or something, get stickers to decorate them with.

Anyway, circling back around to the chart itself. The one thing I had not realized was that I could order these charts via Legacy! What a splendid option! I might just order one for myself anyway!

Magnoliasouth - I too have family that don't even want it acknowledged that they are male or female (my thought on that is - "stop being so silly") I honor their wishes though, and I've proven over time that I do honor their wishes. In exchange they have become more willing to keep me updated. What happens is that it leaves a pretty funky area in the tree, but....that is their wishes. With you sister-in-law - just add them as Child 4, spouse of Child 4, Child 4A, 4B, etc.. when asked, you just let others know that is their wishes, and you are accommodating them. It also reassures the other relatives that you will and do as they request. Luckily most people aren't that paranoid when it comes to their own family - but then...you may not know everything there is to know about some of those cousins families and why they are so careful.

Love your idea on the Kids Activity.

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