20+ Generations Family Tree

This personal project began in 2005 and compiles both sides of my family spanning over a thousand years of ancestors. On paper, it measures 36" × 175" and was composed by hand in Adobe Illustrator. To accompany the 1,771 names, I added maps, a timeline, and narratives to provide a broader understanding of time and place. It is mostly 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 family names, and H&Co. Decimal is used for maps. These typefaces were chosen for their modernity and weight range and their ability to evoke a classical yet sensible aesthetic.

Two families on this tree — the Taylors and the Morgans — trace back to ancient times. The dependability of the information beyond the break points is anyone’s guess. My confidence in any line drops beyond twenty generations, hence the layout separation. In the case of the Morgan ancestors who date to the Iron Age, sources connect kings to mythological creatures when genealogy and folklore commingle. For the Taylor lines that connect to Rollo, Viking and first ruler of Normandy, it seems almost convenient that the research ends with such a prominent figure. On the other hand, twenty generations calculates to about one million ancestors — forty to one trillion — meaning that connections to Vikings, French royalty, and kings of pre-historic Britain actually seems less far-fetched.

This project was featured on Visual Complexity and Design Observer, and was 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, 65 Generation, 2000 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

Bridges

Family Tree, information design, return

Line Breaks

Family Tree, information design

Continuations

Family Tree, information design, timeline

Vertical Timeline

Family Tree, information design, generations

Generation Labels

Family Tree, information design, maps

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, Hancock, Flournois, Mellin, Taylor, Powell

Holland  Connecticut  London  Calcutta  New York  Peru  Alsace–Lorraine  Scotland  Kentucky  Ontario  Virginia


1,771 Names   36" × 175"   65 Generations   1,985 Years   Rendered by Hand

Type and Illustration Explorations





Early Print, 2006