How to use Lucidchart for DNA & genealogy? Here’s a peek at how we use this online tool for creating descendancy charts and other family trees.
I’m often asked what I use to create the beautiful, clear diagrams and charts in my DNA presentations and client reports. The answer is Lucidchart! I love it. Lucidchart helps me problem-solve visually. It’s so easy to use and the designs are so appealing and shareable. Here’s what Lucidchart is and how I use it. Consider how it might help YOU.
What is Lucidchart?
Lucidchart is an online tool for creating charts, diagrams and other illustrations. You use it to put your ideas or research into a visual format that you can easily change and share. People use Lucidchart to map out project ideas, complicated problems, workflows, organizational charts and more. Mind mapping. Collaborative designs. There’s SO much you can do with Lucidchart!
How to use Lucidchart for genealogy and DNA
Genealogists can use Lucidchart to draw all kinds of family trees and charts. When working with DNA, I often need to draw a specific kind of family tree: a descendancy chart.
Descendancy charts show a set of common ancestors and people who descend from them. You use these charts to visualize the generation of connection you may share with your DNA matches. Drawing out relationships and having the flexibility to move them around, color code them, etc., has helped me SO much, because as I learn more about DNA matches, the chart may need to change. I use Lucidchart not just because the charts are pretty (they are) but because they’re easy to work with and change.
Tips for your Lucidchart family trees
This quick video tutorial shows you how to use Lucidchart, especially for family trees. We’ve summarized some top tips below it.
- The common ancestors’ box at the top of a generation should cover all the descendants. Example above: see how Thomas Newton + Mary Smith cover all the generational lines below it, and each of their children’s boxes are as wide as need be to cover THEIR descendants? (Hat-tip to genetic genealogy pro Angie Bush for suggesting this tip.)
- To add more relatives, duplicate an existing set of boxes by copying (Ctrl or Command + C) and pasting (Ctrl or Command + V). Move the new boxes to where you want them; Lucidchart will snap them into place in the grid. Then label the new boxes with the new relatives’ information.
- Identify your DNA matches by their DNA profile names (the ones above are privacy-protected) and how much DNA you share (in cM).
- Color the boxes of your DNA matches so they’ll stand out in your descendancy tree.
- Use sticky notes for helpful reminders such as “had no children” or “not sure of this relationship.”
Is Lucidchart completely free?
You can start a free Lucidchart account that allows an unlimited amount of charts. However, please note that only your most recent three charts will be editable in the free version. So if you make three, and then want to make a fourth, the first one will become read-only. Also, you have fewer options for shapes and templates in the free version.
There is a paid version of Lucidchart. Individual plans start at $7.95 per month, with unlimited numbers of editable charts and access to hundreds of templates. I draw a LOT of charts. I use the paid version. In fact, I love and recommend it so frequently that now I’m an affiliate. If you use my Lucidchart links here to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Thank you!)
How long is Lucidchart free trial?
You can get a free trial of Lucidchart for 7 days. This gives you a chance to experience all the premium features in the full-function version.