Posted by Ancestry Team on June 22, 2009 in Website

During our webinar on family history books back in January, two-thirds of the audience—nearly 1,200 members—told us they were interested in creating a descendant family tree poster. I’m happy to report that descendant posters are finally available in MyCanvas, just in time for family reunion season.

A descendant tree poster could start with you and your spouse and include all of your kids and grandkids. Or it could start with your grandparents or great-grandparents and include your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. If you’ve had a hard time getting your extended family members interested in your family history research, I guarantee you they’ll pay attention when they see their own face on a family tree poster.

To make a descendant tree poster, you must first create an online tree on When you’re ready to build your poster, click the “Publish and Print” tab on the Family Tree interface, and then click “Create a tree poster from your tree.”

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That link will take you to the product selection page for Family Tree Posters.

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Choose the descendant format, then choose the number of generations you want to include, the tree you want to use (if you have more than one) and a starting person for your poster. You can include three or four generations in a descendant tree, so make sure you pick a starting person who has at least two generations of descendants.

Here’s an example of a three-generation descendant tree poster in the 20″x16″ size. All the people in this poster are related to me, but the names and dates have been changed.

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If you’re making a four-generation poster, you’ll probably want to choose the 36″x24″ or 24″x18″ size. You can make a descendant poster with either a landscape or portrait orientation. The best orientation for your poster depends on the shape of your tree, so you might want to experiment and see which one works better for you.

You can choose whether you want ex-spouses to appear on the poster. Stepchildren will only show up if they’re associated in your online tree with someone who is a direct descendant of the starting couple. For example, let’s say the step-mom is a daughter of the starting couple. If the step-kids are identified in your online tree as children of the dad and his ex-wife, they will not appear on the poster. If you want them to appear, you’ll need to identify them as children of the step-mom. In your online tree you can specify the nature of the relationship (biological, adopted, step-child, etc.), but on for the purpose of making a poster it doesn’t really matter, since a step-child is displayed in exactly the same way as a biological child.

As always, you can change the background, add embellishments and edit the text and photos to give your poster a personal touch. Please note that you can also move and copy the lines (“sprites”), in case you want to change how some of the family groups are displayed.

For a step-by-step demonstration, sign up for our July 16 webinar. This webinar was originally scheduled for June 24, so if you’ve already saved that date, be sure to update your calendar and reserve July 16 instead. The webinar will begin at 8 pm Eastern Daylight Time. We’ll cover descendant posters as well as descendant family history books, which will be available through MyCanvas in early July.


  1. Sodindo Banana

    Am I the only one who noticed that one of those kids *really* doesn’t belong on that tree? lol

    Adoptions are fine and all that, but seriously, I hope people aren’t actually documenting their genetic lineages like that… I mean, why bother with DNA testing if your ancestry is going to suddenly take a sharp left turn into Zimbabwe? 😉

  2. Russ Stodieck

    I would like to be able to use the standard generation chart for a decendant tree. How do I do that?


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