Most people begin their family history research with a pedigree chart. This chart begins with you and branches back in time, displaying the line of your direct ancestors. Most pedigree charts cover four generations, including space to include names plus dates and places of birth, marriage and death for each individual.
The standard pedigree chart always begins with you, or the individual whose ancestry you are tracing, on the first line - number 1 on the chart. Information on your father (or ancestor #1's father) is entered as number 2 on the chart, while your mother is number 3. The male line follows the upper track, while the female line follows the bottom track. As in an ahnentafel chart, men are assigned even numbers, and the numbers for women are odd.
After you've traced your family tree back more than 4 generations, you will need to create additional pedigree charts for each of the individuals included in the fourth generation on your first chart. Each individual will become ancestor #1 on a new chart, with a reference to their number on the original chart so you can easily follow the family through the generations. Each new chart you create will also be given its own individual number (chart #2, chart #3, etc.).