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 175" 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. Adobe Arno Pro, a serif, 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 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 connects 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 in Grady Booch on Computing: The Human Experience. Sorry, templates are not provided. Please contact me if you wish to use this in a talk or publication.

20 Generation, Huge, 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, Robertson, Hillhouse, Blood, Solomon, Pierce-Jones, Sackett, Bennett, Lusink, TeWinkle, Ashley, Best, Redd
Family Tree, information design, bridge


Family Tree, information design, return


Family Tree, information design, timeline


Family Tree, information design, maps


Family Tree, information design, generations


Family Tree, information design, narrative


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

Family Tree, Neckers, TeWinkle, Legters, Lusink

Family Tree, Logan, Ashby, Mauzey, Newhouse, Elliott, Thompson, Compton

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

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