I am constantly mapping out family trees, it really helps me visualize and understand who I am researching. In the beginning regular paper worked OK for these diagrams, but as my search expanded I found it harder and harder to keep it all organized. I started buying larger paper and even taping pages together, which lead to more and more diagrams.
Then one day it hit me: WRAPPING PAPER
I just happened to be going through some storage bins when I saw rolls of wrapping paper and it's white never ending canvas!! Ever since I have been using the back of wrapping paper to map out many generations all in once space. Seeing all the lines together gives such a unique perspective. This particular tree is in it's 2nd version, after a few weeks of research the first got a little messy.
The tree starts with Joel and Harriet Wright, my GGGG Grandparents from Bordentown, NJ. Wright is a very common surname and there are like 10 standard first names found in every family. This large tree is an excellent research tool for keeping my sanity with all the Joseph's, John's, Anna's, and Mary's.
Joel and Harriet had 4 daughters and 2 sons 1812-1826 and after working on this tree I have realized that my Wright line is almost extinct! This probably explains my wild goose chases within the Wright surname. I used a red marker for women and their descending lines without the Wright surname and a blue marker for males and their descendants with the Wright surname. This family had many who moved to Philadelphia and I wanted to keep track of each line's migration. To show the state they were born and died in, I marked a corresponding colored dot under their birth/death year. Another piece of information I decided to include was burial information, a star next to a death year means I know where they are buried.
It's cheap, you can buy recycled, and it's easily folded or rolled up for easy storage. 'Tis the season for purchasing discounted wrapping paper, just make sure it's white on the underside!
Do you have a special tip or unusual item you swear by for genealogy research??