A Contextual Family Tree is a new visualization design for family
trees that represents individuals and their spouses with enhanced
details about their families' context.
In particular, the design aims to enhance the visual analysis of:
the longevity of an individual and how it compares to his spouse;
the size of nuclear families and the order in which the direct
ancestors were born in comparison to their siblings; identify
individuals that are repeated in the tree.
An example CFT for an hypothetical family
Below, we give an example of a Contextual Family Tree created
illustrate the main characteristics of the visualization design.
A complete description of the design definition is provided in the
In brief, James Smith and Mary Johnson are the root couple. Their
are temporally aligned revealing that he was older than his wife
died before her, in 1980. In fact, she is still alive at the time
the creation of the plot, a detail that is revealed by the absence
the label "d.". The double-ring symbol indicates that they married
the horizontal line that the wedding date is known.
They have three children, of whom only the elder one, the only
have descendants. James is the second among three children while
is the sixth and youngest child.
Mary's parents were divorced (indicated by the crossed
although in an unknown date (indicated by the absence of an
line). Their dates of death of are unknown (indicated by the
representation on the bottom edges of the boxes).
Their grandfather, Albert Smith, married twice. First, he married
Nancy White from whom he had three children, two of them reached
and had descendants. The youngest one is John Smith, the father of
James Smith. Nancy died early and Albert married a second time,
time with Lisa Wilson, Mary Johnson's grandmother. They had two
children that reached adulthood and the elder one is Mary's
addition, James' mother and Mary's father are siblings as they
both descend from Robert Johnson and Margaret Brown, who had children
without being married (indicated by the absence of the