Using fillable genealogy PDFs to pass down family history

We got a great question from a prospective customer about the best way to get back into genealogy … and organize records for the next generation. She wrote:

“I am getting back into researching my family and need your advice on where to begin with the forms you sell. It’s been 20 plus years since I’ve been serious about this and I want to do it correctly so that my children and grands can benefit from my work. This pile of stuff needs cleaning up!”

She went on to say that she likes the idea of our fillable genealogy PDFs, but also likes paper. Here’s our advice:

  • For those who prefer typing but like paper, we recommend using our fillable PDFs and then printing out the results to share with family (preferably on high-quality, acid-free paper, not cheap printer paper).
  • The EasyGenie 6-generation fillable PDF is great because people can print it out on 8.5×11 paper at home, or pass the PDF to a printer for printing on larger 11×17 paper, for a poster effect.
  • We also have smaller 4-generation charts and family group sheet bundled in our large print PDF set. These two charts are also fillable (note: we always recommend using the free Adobe PDF Reader for EasyGenie fillable PDFs).
  • To go back further than 6 generations, we recommend connecting the charts using the numbered spaces and “notes” field on the larger sheet.

Here’s a sample of fillable PDF. Note that the blue fields do not show up when printing.

Fillable genealogy PDF sample

Genealogy binders: What goes inside?

genealogy binderAnother piece of advice: make binders to give relatives. With the fillable PDFs, it’s easy because customers can make as many copies as they need for personal use. Here are some tips related to making genealogy binders for relatives:

  • Common approaches for binders include: one binder for each family branch, or a summary set in a single binder for each grandchild.
  • Include the fillable PDFs, copies of vital records and family letters, and old photos of ancestors.
  • EasyGenie sells basic archival storage kits and expansion sets which include everything you need to get started, including small binders, document sleeves, photo holders, and gel pens for annotating the backs of photos or copies of important documents.

The prospective customer had another requirement:

“Some of my distant family had as many as four spouses with children, and I want to include all of the information.”

This gets tricky. We do have a special PDF set for families with multiple spouses. The pedigree chart has space for one additional spouse of each ancestor, and the family group sheet can handle up to three spouses for a single ancestor. But adding any more is impossible owing to limitations of the canvas – there isn’t enough room to have extra spaces for four spouses.