Many folks have an insatiable desire to research their roots to find out who they are and where they come from.  Others, may be marginally interested if at all.  Whether you consider yourself in one buck or the other, or something different.  Few could argue that putting 510 ancestors (their names rather) on the wall would be no small feat.

Remember the wall that Sirius Black had in the Harry Potter book Order of the Phoenix?  We’re talking about something like that, just a little more compact to fit 510 names of ancestors.

I came across The FamilyRoots Circle Pedigree a while back and started filling out the chart as a personal challenge.  I have to admit that I have one quarter of the chart that I haven’t gotten to, but I’ve been able to fill out about 280 names so far.  

It’s interesting to see how far back you can trace one line while perhaps another, only a few generations back, has no records you can find.  It seems like if a bunch can be traced back nine generations, then the few that stop only 3 or 4 generation in shouldn’t be that hard to track down.

Filling out a chart like this also helps you to see the commonality of names in your family tree.  We had an exorbitant number (okay I’m exaggerating, but we do have a lot) of ancestors named Elizabeth in my family tree.  So, when our first daughter was born, what did we do?  We carried on the tradition, so that someday nine generations into the future, someone can look back and name their child Elizabeth as well (or maybe not).

The chart allows for room to put dates and locations.  If you have any Puritan roots, it’s fun to see names such as “Thankful” and “Content” in the family tree.

If you feel up to the challenge, you can purchase the FamilyRoots poster (it’s 37″ by 37″) and start filling out your family line (see or

To get started, there are a couple places where you can find information on your family line (with any luck, one of your distant cousins, may have done a lot of the hard work for you.  Don’t you wish you were nicer to them at the family reunions?  Oh never mind).

– Great Family Tree Research Tools – has millions and millions and millions of names, and you can browse the names in a pedigree or “Family Tree” format.  Access to the data is free; however, you may need to start a few generations back in your search results to an ancestor that you know of that has already passed away.  I used FamilySearch to get a lot of the info I needed for my chart.  We downloaded the information in the the Personal Ancestral File program (PAF) which is made freely available as well. is another great resource.  It requires a subscription, but if you’re looking to find more than just names (such as digital copies of newspaper articles, birth certificates, war records, etc.) you’ve come to the right, and perhaps the best place.

So take the challenge, see if you can get 510 ancestors on your wall (well, at least their names).