Illustrated family tree (for 100DaysProjectScotland 2021)

For my second year of #100DaysProjectScotland, I decided to make an illustrated family tree.

I’ve been dabbling in genealogy for years, but scrapped everything and started from scratch again at the beginning of 2021. I now have seven almost complete generations with pretty solid sources and wanted to use the 100 days to pull everything together into one place.

Each day, I drew a picture of a relative, wrote up a little summary of their life, and posted on Instagram.

For the privacy of the living generations, I didn’t publish too much detail, but behind the scenes, I’ve got birth / marriage / death certificates for (almost) everyone, plus the censuses from 1841-1911 and the 1939 register. (Another reason for doing all this now – the 1921 census will be released in 2022 and I want to make sure I have a list of people to look for!)

I want my daughter to understand where she comes from, but she’s not quite four years old, so actually “seeing” her ancestors really helps. I have photos to use for the more modern generations, but illustrated the older ones based on period-appropriate clothing / hair and family resemblances. I also wanted to focus on faces this time, rather than clothes (like my #100DaysOfTinyCostumes from 2020), so just did headshots of everyone.

All the faces were drawn in my sketchbook and scanned, then I organized the layout in Photoshop. Once I had everything set out the way I wanted it, I drew the frames and tree digitally. I also used Calligraphr to make a font out of my own handwriting so I could just type all the words!

The tree goes back to my daughter’s great-great-great-great-grandparents. (I have some people further back than this, but the information starts to get a bit more patchy / estimated, so I didn’t want to include them for the moment.) The frames are coloured for each person’s birthplace – blue for Scotland, red for England, pink for Canada, purple for France, green for Ireland, and orange for Jamaica. Each leaf represents another child from that family. In some of the branches, there were so many children who were born and died between census years that my research has actually doubled what we thought the size of the family was.

The project started on June 1 and I posted my final tree on September 8.

You can see all the drawings and stories on my Instagram page -

And shout-out to the wonderful group of family historians who take part in #AncestryHour on Twitter every week!

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