A family tree is used to represent generations of families and how they are connected and linked over time. It is a chart or diagram which includes information about the names, birthdates, marriage dates, and sometimes photos of family members.
Family trees can vary in length and complexity, and they are also known as a “genealogy” or “pedigree chart”. Some family trees are only comprised of immediate family members, while others span enough generations to show your ancestry and where you come from.
These diagrams are often used to find information about direct descendants of notable historical figures, to identify family members with the same surname, or to observe the level of linkage between two or more family members.
What Is a Tree Structure?
As evidenced by the name, family trees are organized using a tree structure (also known as a tree diagram). This is a common method of portraying hierarchical data, which is information that is organized in a specific order on separate levels.
Usually, family trees are arranged with the older family generations at the top, and with current generations or youngest at the bottom. Family members of the same generation are then located on the same level.
By using a tree structure, family trees can be represented graphically, which makes the data easier to understand and decipher. For this reason, this type of structure is also used in other instances, for example in sports tournament rackets or animal evolutionary trees.