Wherever there’s a family, there’s a family tree

One thing I had to consider when updating my grandmother’s memoir Upheaval, was whether or not to include a family tree. My grandmother had included a list of the important characters at the beginning of her memoir, but I thought a family tree would be better, as it would not only give the names of the relatives in both my grandparents’ families, but would also put those names in context and show the relationships between them.

A family tree can be quite a daunting project, especially if the family has many branches. Often there are questions about marriages and births and my family is no different in that way.

I had entered most of my maternal family tree in Ancestor and it was quite large. For this project I decided to narrow it down to the immediate families of my maternal grandparents. Even then both my maternal great grandfathers had married twice and everyone from that era seemed to have a lot of children. Not to mention the marriages between cousins!

I knew I could not draw a family tree on my own. Even if I had the confidence, it would have taken far too long and required much more effort than I wanted to exert. So I turned to a local business – Born & Bred Historical Research – to help. Phoebe from Born & Bred was amazing. She was such a great help, as was their graphic designer. Eventually I decided to have them remove the birth and death dates as each of the boxes had become too cramped and it was difficult to read all the information in them – blame the long Russian names! I think they came up with a family tree which is readable and understandable.

Hopefully the second edition of Upheaval: A Story of Russia, Romanovs and Revolution is eventually published, complete with the family tree. It would be great to see it in print. Perhaps one day I will ask Born & Bred to create a full family tree of my maternal family, one that I can pass onto my children.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Geneviève

    Dear Alex,
    What a great idea to publish your family tree ! Thank you !
    I am reading “Souvenirs d’un monde englouti ” by your grandmother’s aunt, Countess Kleinmichel, published in Paris by Calmann-Lévy in 1927 and the picture you are publishing makes it a little easier to read.
    I hope it will be included in your next edition of “Upheaval” !
    Best regards

    1. Avatar photo

      Dear Genevieve, that is the plan! I think the book you are reading is called “Memories of a Shipwrecked World” in English. I must read it again…

  2. Geneviève

    Oui, Alex, c’est bien ce livre et il a l’avantage pour moi d’être publié en français !

  3. Tony Abbott

    I think any visual aid is always a bonus; the more information the better – and I can’t wait to read the uodated modern version of Upheaval!

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