When we released Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes last month, we also launched a companion website. This is typical for In 30 Minutes guides—the websites contain additional resources, such as author bios, and free resources such as blog posts and videos. But for Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes, author Shannon Combs-Bennett and publisher i30 Media wanted to offer something else for free—genealogy forms, which many amateur and professional genealogists use to track their progress and visualize the results.
We are pleased to announce that our free genealogy forms starter kit is now available from the website. It contains a five-generation pedigree chart as well as a genealogy research log. You can see screenshots of the forms below:
i30 Media is not the first publisher to offer blank genealogy forms. A simple Google search reveals scores of free forms, shared by amateur genealogists as well as established giants such as Ancestry.com.
However, one thing we noticed about many of the free genealogy forms is the presentation of information left a lot to be desired. The fields or boxes on the forms were often too small, forcing people to write using tiny script. The explanatory text was also hard to read, owing to “busy” fonts or tiny point sizes.
And then there was an issue of organization. The free forms often left out key information, such as the family group sheet that doesn’t have fields for “occupation” or the inventory logs that don’t ask about the source of a particular record or heirloom. I believe this is an important oversight that can lead to unnecessary headaches down the road when family researchers return to a particular sheet and need more information than was originally recorded.
Working with a professional graphic designer, we tried to correct some of these limitations. For instance, the five-generation pedigree chart (see screenshot, above) contains numbered spaces for people’s names, clearly demarcated from the other details, which allow users to zero in on the names later. The research log has fields that can accommodate two lines of text instead of just one, and asks about website locations where the research may be found.
In addition to the free resources in the genealogy starter kit, we are also offering a paid genealogy forms bundle which includes more than a dozen digital files (PDF and Excel) as well as a paper bundle that is printed on high-quality archival paper. These forms are important tools not only for today’s users, but potentially for the next generation of researchers.