Posted by on January 25, 2008 in Site

For up-to-date information about family tree posters, please read my post from March 4, 2009. The post below, which was published on January 25, 2008, contains some obsolete information.

This week I’d like to offer a few tips for creating family tree posters. You can use AncestryPress to create a standard tree poster including 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 generations or a combination tree poster including 4, 5 or 7 generations (a 6-generation combination tree poster is coming soon).

Creating a poster is a pretty simple process, but here’s a quick overview:

  1. Choose a poster type: Click “Get Started” from the AncestryPress home page or “Start a New Project” from the My Projects page. Select “Family Tree Poster” and then choose a poster type: standard or combination. A standard family tree is a pedigree chart starting with an individual. A combination tree has a bowtie shape: it starts with a couple and shows their children and ancestors on both sides. You’ll see the prices for the various poster sizes, but you won’t be asked for a credit card number until you’ve finished your poster and clicked the “Order” button.
  1. Choose your options: Select the number of generations you want to include and the online family tree you want to use to create your poster. Then enter the name of the starting person for your poster. This person could be anyone in the tree—it doesn’t have to be the same as the starting person for the online tree. Type in the first few letters of the person’s name and wait for a list of names to appear. If you have a large tree, it may take a few seconds for the system to find people matching the letters you entered. Select the correct person from the list of names.
  1. Create your poster: In the “Name Your Product” field, enter a working title for your poster. This title will not actually appear on the printed poster, so don’t spend too much time thinking about it. Then click the “Create” button. In a moment, your family tree poster will appear in a new window.
  1. Edit your poster: Click the Backgrounds icon at the top of the page to select the background you like best (there are currently 16 options). Add photos and embellishments by dragging them from the content wells on the left onto your poster. Images attached to your online tree will automatically appear in the “My Photos” content well. You can also upload images directly to AncestryPress.
  1. Preview and print your poster: When you’ve finished editing your poster, click the “Preview/Print” button to preview your poster and, if you wish, print a proof page. Please note that printing on 8 ½ x 11-inch paper will not give you an accurate preview because the poster templates are designed for a much larger format. When you’re ready to purchase a professionally printed poster, click the “Order” button in the top right corner. If you’re ordering multiple copies, you’ll automatically receive a volume discount (no coupon code needed).

Before we leave our discussion of family tree posters, I’d like to call your attention to one feature of AncestryPress that I absolutely love: the Zoom tool. You can use it to edit book pages, too, but it’s particularly useful for editing posters. It really comes in handy if you want to read and edit text—especially on the right-hand side of the poster, where the fonts are smaller.

Click the Zoom icon in the top left corner to get a close-up view of any area of your poster. (NOTE: Please don’t draw any conclusions about the quality of the printed posters from these grainy screen shots. The posters are printed at high resolution and the text comes out very sharp and clear.)

Family Tree Poster

Click to enlarge image

When you click Zoom, a little box appears just under the Zoom icon. This box is a miniature version of your poster. You can navigate to a different area of the page by moving the red tray to the corresponding area of the box.


Click to enlarge image

To zoom in even further, slide the cursor on the Zoom icon to the right (toward the plus sign).


Click to enlarge image

Thanks for your comments in response to last week’s blog. I can’t address all of them, but I would like to answer Jackie’s question about a larger format for the family history books. We are working on a larger book (roughly 13 x 10 inches) that will be available in early April—just in time for Mothers Day.

Finally, I’d like to remind our readers that this blog is dedicated to a discussion of Ancestry’s self-publishing application, AncestryPress. Of course I’m always interested in what our customers have to say about other Ancestry products and services, but I want to make sure your comments get channeled to the appropriate forum so that the right product mangers can benefit from your feedback.

We currently have Ancestry blogs focused on seven topics:

  • Site
  • Content
  • Family Trees
  • Searching for Records
  • Company News
  • AncestryPress
  • Family Tree Maker

In addition, if you click the Community tab on, you’ll find thousands of message boards where you can post requests for assistance with research questions.

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NOTE: AncestryPress is now MyCanvas

In October 2008, AncestryPress was relaunched under the name MyCanvas. It is still a free, online software program provided by For current information about products and features, please see my more recent blog posts.


Arlene Miles 

My first book turned out okay. The second book was better, no deadline to meet. Now I’m ready to start a third book, however, I have some suggestions for you and the design team.
the embelishments are a little tacky and redundant.
the frames are difficult to resize to fit photos and documents, which should be put on the page first?
more themed backgrounds would be nice
Someone asked me if you plan to do a register style book in the near future, something for the mature genealogist wanting to write a family history with more text and fewer pictures.

January 27, 2008 at 12:25 am
Riley Sanders 

Being born in Georga , I find it disapointing , being unable to dig deep into my ancestry ,can’t excess files needed as ancesstry has yet managed to get Georgia to open their records without paying a toll.The only reason I subscribe is on my wife side and mothers side ,research has been sastisfactory.
Riley Sanders

January 28, 2008 at 10:23 pm

” Building your family tree has been a labor of love. Now you can bring it to life with our free, easy-to-use publishing tool.

* Create beautiful pages that showcase your documents, photos and charts. You can print your pages at home or order a professionally printed, coffee-table quality book.
* Display up to 9 generations of your family tree in a poster suitable for framing.”
However the first choice after reading about the “FREE publishing tool” is ‘get started’ which immediately asks how much I want to pay! Why is that?

January 29, 2008 at 7:11 pm

find any of mt family

February 4, 2008 at 4:27 am
Michel Rheault 

My first book was beautiful. I am working on a revised and expanded version. I have attached several historical document from to several people on my tree. When I try to make a new page with the documents, it will find the names but it says there is no documents attached. Anyone has any idea to what is happening ??

thanks for all the hard work you do.

February 5, 2008 at 1:38 pm
Wona Chennault 

I’m not sure this is the place to make this comment but had an idea that I would like to suggest as a possible feature to the publish. I received my book that I had printed through & can not tell you how proud I am of it and how please in thw quality. But when my daughter looked at my book she found one mistake I had made…that changed the whole context of what I meant to say. It was something like leaving the word “not” out. So I have been racking my brain to come up with a solution. It might be nice if the publish application had some kind of selection tool. Say where you select a certaing area of a page and then you can purchase a sticker printed for the selected area. It would be similar to a book plate and shouldn’t have any border and then it could simply be stuck over the error.

Also on the embelishments I layered them and I thought that really helped on adding a little snap to my pages.

Thank you so much for giving me the oportunity to put something so nice together for my family at such a reasonable price.

February 9, 2008 at 8:19 am
Patty Macsisak 

I recently spent 3-4 hours inputing information for my first poster and when I came back, the project was not available. What happened?

February 9, 2008 at 2:27 pm
Dr. Ben Benoit 

I wish Ancestry Press had come out with its services sooner. I might not have given myself the trouble 5 years ago to put together my own book and family tree. I called my little project Age Old Press. It was well worth the effort. The book was initially designed for the familiy and friends. It has become so successful as a prototype of all familiy histories, that Age Old Press is now reprinting. I encourage you to check it out at

February 13, 2008 at 7:15 am
Michel Rheault 

For Wona , comment number 6.
You can buy a sheet of extra large label 8 x11. the label is the full size of the sheet. you could then print the one page at home , cut the portion that needs correction and apply to your book.
just a suggestion.

February 15, 2008 at 6:31 am

Wonderful error resolution ideas! I’m prone to seeing errors after they are ink. Thanks for posting.

March 14, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Nice site!

March 18, 2008 at 9:15 am
Marisa Arrisi 

I have a simple problem, how do I find the latest version of my project the day after I reopen the computer, without having to search for hours? I am working on six families and was lucky to find most informations on the original church books, For each family I miss not having the possibility to include everyone on a single poster, for a period of one century. I go back with direct lines to the years 1500 and I have included also all females, their spouses and their children. Would the new, updated version of FTM make it easier for me?

May 26, 2008 at 1:35 am
JoAnn Hadden 

Type your comment here.

June 16, 2008 at 1:06 pm
JoAnn Hadden 

I am getting an access denied message because of a dll. Can you help me

June 16, 2008 at 1:07 pm
Carol Goldsmith 

Can I create a descendant tree?

June 18, 2008 at 4:32 pm
kristy kiper 

I would like to make a descendant tree. Do you have a template for this?
Thank you

July 9, 2008 at 7:52 am
jeanne harrison 

I would like to pay someone to
make my family tree/chart.

I have the hand printed 8 generation
version. Is there somewhere I can
mail it and someone will use the
software to make the family chart
as seen by me recently in a
design magazine. The family chart was hanging over the mantle.

It looked so lovely…

High Point North Carolina

July 21, 2008 at 5:09 am

How do I create a family history poster that has multiple endings?

December 2, 2008 at 3:02 pm

How can I add siblings to the family poster? I would like to include information about my father, and his siblings in the poster, but I don’t know how to do it (children & ancestors are only included).

January 14, 2009 at 7:57 am
Carlene Cruise Pearson 

How can I create a descendant family tree?

January 22, 2009 at 4:24 pm
julia garrison 

does ancestry intend to always use the pedigree format for its family tree poster?
I am looking to do a family tree so that i don’t have lots of empty spaces the further I go back….have you any suggestions that woud help to possibly removbe these from the pedigree style that mycanvas offers.

March 6, 2009 at 6:29 am
Umendra Singh 

Home is your comfort zone.A home is a place of residence or refuge.Home is anywhere were you can be you and you can feel comfortable .A family consists of the people you’ve known for a long time, who are always there for you. Family is blood related that you would kill, or die .

March 23, 2009 at 4:50 am