Sharing Direct Line Ancestors ~ a Cheat Sheet

11 Feb

It’s one thing to track down your ancestors and totally another to figure out how to share it with friends and family. Another trick is trying to remember which line some of your new finds go with. Especially as you get deep into maternal lines where the surname may only appear once on your tree. So I created a form to help me keep things straight for 16 generations all on one page. I call it my Direct Line Worksheet.


How do ya like them apples?

This sample is pretty easy to follow, it’s my Rose line which goes from my mom back to Jamestown. The left side of the page is for Direct Line ancestors—in this case all Roses—while the right side is for the spouses.

The far left column identifies each generation from you. There are two rows for each ancestor to allow room for basic details. There are cells for places and dates of birth, death and marriage. Two rows for each entry provide room for you to add a nickname or military title for your relative.

This is meant to be a cheat sheet not a complete picture of your family line. I provided space at the bottom for notes that don’t fit into the space allowed. Place names can be especially long so there’s room in the footnote to spell out parish, city, county, state and country if you want.

To fill this out, I start with me, mom and dad, grandparents and other people and details I know from memory. Then I check my notes and type in more details that are handy. When I reach a dead-end I print what I have so far. I can take this page and look for additional information and I’ll make a note of footnotes I want to include. My footnotes have tended to start at the bottom and go up. I don’t think it matters as long as I keep them in order. And I’ve used the same number more than once when the same information applies.

When you finish, you can fill out the summary at the top. Start, is the place to put the earliest year and that location. Names is where you put the sequence of Direct Line surnames.  On this page, Rose is the only name listed. The migration line is for the locations where your family was born, married and died. I just list each place once.

Here’s what the blank form looks like.

DirectLine-Blank-PDFRight click on the image to download a scruffy copy you can print for making notes on.

I have at least one family line that will need more space. I’ll see if I can figure out which one it is and make a two-sided worksheet for longer family lines. In the meantime, take a look at this and see what you think.

Here’s another sample. This one is my Scott family line. DL-Scott-1803I’m open to suggestions. I don’t have a place to provide this for free, but I can put it on Etsy for a couple of bucks. (It will cost a little bit to list it.) You’ll be able to download a clean pdf image and the excel spreadsheet that you can fill in on your computer.

Maybe no one needs this but me, but I’ve sure filled in a lot of them the past few days. I’m going to keep a print copy in each family file folder, and a digital copy in each family folder on my computer. I’ll punch holes in a set and keep them alphabetized in a notebook on my desk as a quick reference. I’ll make a set for my mom (who isn’t online). A completed set would be a great addition to a baby book or gift for newlyweds!

Any suggestions, besides more lines for footnotes?


1 Comment

Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Resources


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One response to “Sharing Direct Line Ancestors ~ a Cheat Sheet

  1. Debbie Cravens

    February 12, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Jan, I love this. I can see how it would help me to keep things straight. I get overwhelmed sometimes. Well, actually a lot! Would you mind emailing me the excel spreadsheets on these?

    Debbie Cravens


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