20+ Generations Family Tree

This personal project of mine began in 2005 and compiles both sides of my family spanning over a thousand years of ancestors. On paper, it measures 36" by 170" and was composed by hand in Adobe Illustrator. The horizontal format makes for the most efficient use of space with maps and a vertical timeline to help establish context. It is typeset in Neue Frutiger LT, a compact sans-serif typeface with efficiency and clarity. Freight, a serif by GarageFonts, is used for the narratives and map labels. These typefaces were chosen for their modernity and weight range and their ability to evoke a classical yet sensible aesthetic.

Of the 1,649 records included in this chart, I have high confidence in the 20 most recent generations that trace back to William Ashby, born in 1470 in Leicestershire, England. A line of Taylors traces further back — 37 generations to Rollo de Normandie, born around 860 — but as with so much in genealogy, the further back you go, the more salt to take with it.

This diagram appears on Visual Complexity and presented at the Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA.

Sorry, templates are not provided. Please contact me if you wish to use this in a talk or publication.

20 Generation, 37 Generation, 1000 year, family history, chart, Huge, Massive, Family Tree, Cheek, Wilcox, Jarrett, Lowndes, Neckers, Smith, Morgan, Brush, McKee, Ashby, Logan, Dill, Muck, Mauzey, Newhouse, Elliott, Sears, Tobey, Gallup, Hancock, Flournois, Madison, Taylor, Powell, Adamson, Jacobs, Hill, Ball, Washington, Robertson, Hillhouse, Blood, Solomon, Pierce-Jones, Sackett, Bennett, Lusink, TeWinkle, Ashley, Best, Redd, Peterson, Hamilton-Smith, TenBrink, Cooke, Mellin, Swinderby, Bergeson, Loftus, Tilford, Wesley, Baldwin, Wheeler, Cottrell
Full image is low resolution for privacy.
Family Tree, information design, bridge


Family Tree, information design, return

Line Breaks

Family Tree, information design


Family Tree, information design, timeline

Vertical Timeline

Family Tree, information design, generations

Generation Labels

Family Tree, information design, maps


Family Tree, information design

Future Narratives

Family Tree, information design, narrative

Historic Narratives

Family Tree, information design, typography

Typography & Illustration

Family Tree, Jarrett, Lowndes, Solomon, Pierce-Jones, Smith

Family Tree, Neckers, Tenbrink, Vardink, Letgers, Lusink, Winkelhorst

Family Tree, Logan, Ashby, Mauzey, Thompson, Redd

Family Tree, Brush, Cooke, Morgan, Sears, Tobey, Gallup, Wheeler, Cottrell

Family Tree, Hatter, Montgomerie, d'Anogouleme, Rollo de Normandie

Type and Illustration Explorations

Early Print, 2006