What does a family tree mean

Schematic structure of a family tree
Family tree Arboretvm genealogicvm by 1635
Family tree generated with genealogy SW (in the example: ancestral sheet)

The pedigree is a directed graph that represents the descendants of a person or other living being. The establishment of family trees of a person or family is part of genealogy (genealogy). Another form of representation is the family tree, in which the reference person is at the top. The counterpart to the family tree is the pedigree, which, however, shows the ancestors of a certain person and which is often incorrectly referred to in colloquial terms as the "family tree".

In the historical auxiliary sciences one speaks of the family tree only when the graphic representation in tree form is meant.


The creation of a family tree requires time-consuming research that should not be underestimated and that can take many years. The first point of contact should generally be the family registers of the parents or grandparents. Registry offices and parishes with their church records are the next level. If access to an existing local family book is possible, an extensive compilation can be taken from it. Sooner or later, however, the search comes to a dead end. At the latest with the end or beginning of the church book recording, other sources must be used. Tax lists can provide further information. The online research is a time gain with the WWW, which should however be used with caution and only for source support. In many genealogy forums, existing Gedcom files can be called up from private research. The display can only begin once the peak has been reached.


In the family tree, the progenitor is shown as a reference person below, as it were as the root of a tree. In the branches above are the children and other descendants, with the older person of the same rank always standing to the left of the younger.

Family trees exist in different variants. For example, female descendants can be included or only people with the same name can be considered. Mostly the focus is on one main line, i.e. in each generation only one line is followed up to one test person and his descendants. The representation can be done schematically or decoratively decorated.


The evolutionary family tree begins with a hypothetical common ancestor of all known species on earth and then fans out according to their relationships.

other areas

The term family tree is also used in other areas related to ancestry and heredity; for example, there is the "family tree of programming languages" in computer science and the family tree theory of language development in linguistics.


In almost all dogs that are bred in a controlled manner, the dog has a "pedigree"Described register of descent, in which the ancestors are listed with their characteristics, if applicable.[1][2][3]

See also

Web links

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supporting documents

  1. ↑ http: //www.stadthunde.com/magazin/hunde-wissen/hunde-glossar/spru-estandage-sterilisation.html
  2. ↑ http: //www.zooeasy.com/de/stammbaum-program/hunde-zucht/zuchter/index.html? Gclid = CPbZr7qvoKwCFRSCfAodQnXuAg
  3. ↑ http: //www.orgenda.de/abo/archiv/gel/2002/08/995impfpass.asp? Sign = 7f9bd8491c611e996595cea877eeefc1