tnglogo v11TNG version 11 has added a new way of visualizing your ancestors.  It is called a ‘fan chart’.

Starting with you, or any individual, you have a colourful display of your ancestors fanning out, starting with one individual surrounded by his or her parents, who are surrounded by their parents, surrounded by their parents and so on.

In one easy glance, you can see the family roots laid out in ever widening arches.  You can also follow the male and the female lines, as the chart colours follow each male line going back in time.

Reaching into my own family line, let’s have a look at my grandfather, Peter George Benedict.  He wasn’t the best of a husband or father, but he did have good family genes.  Here is Peter’s fan chart:

V11-9.5a-01You get there by going to an individual’s page, clicking on Ancestors and then on the Fan Chart.  Note the parent/grandparent, g- and also g-g-grandparent arches.  If you want more, pick a different number in the Generations box on the menu.

Note: fan charts are visible to the public, if you do not require a log-in.  If you have restrictions on the display of living individuals, then the fan chart will follow suit.  Although it is unlikely any visitor would try out a fan chart on a person when they cannot see the full name of the root person.

Also note the colours.  Peter’s direct mail line is along the left, in blue, … well, I call it blue.  Peter’s paternal grandmother starts in green, so you can follow her line going back.  Meantime, Peter’s mother and her male ancestors show up in red, or is it salmon?  Anyway, the maternal female line gets yellow and pale yellow.  Easier than boring lists, wouldn’t you agree?

You eagle-eyed genealogy sleuths, or snoops, will notice a problem with my great grandparents.  They share the same surname:- Benedict.  You can see that Peter has a paternal great grandfather Smedley Benedict as well as a maternal side great grandfather, also Smedley Benedict, the same person.  Anyway, who names their child “Smedley”?

Yes, I admit it; I am a direct descendant of the marriage of first cousins.  Which just confirms some side comments from my spouse.  Anyway, let’s hover over any of the coloured tiles.


If I hover over my grandfather on the fan chart, we get a pop-up of his vital dates and places.  If you click on a tile, it will take you to that individual’s page.