Family Tree

June 15, 2021

Lloyd, Prototype

About a decade ago we went to the Nebraska Sommerer’s family reunion. We only knew two people there before hand, but we met a lot of nice people, including Jordan Larson‘s mom, Kae. It’s nice to be related to someone famous other than Lauren. We’ve since gone back to the reunion several times, and each time we meet new people, and afterwards, in true Sommerer form, my parents and I argue about how they are all related.

This led to several hand drawn family trees where we tried to sort it all out. Eventually that led me to look for something better than drawing boxes and lines out by hand. After off and on searching for a few years, I started putting some information into FamilyEcho. I picked it because it was free, online –so I could show it to people from anywhere–, and it allowed other people to work on a family tree together. Oh, and it looks nice too.

I worked on adding information to this family tree off and on for the last year and a half. Then I found out something that FamilyEcho didn’t do very well. It didn’t print large family trees nicely. I tried anyway, but I had to cut pages and tape them together, and the text was pretty small anyway.

I finally ended up buying Family Tree Maker. It’s a nice program, but you can’t work on it from different computers, or show people from your phone, or work together with others. But it does print nicely. So working in FamilyEcho, exporting and printing from Family Tree Maker seems like a win.

Except for one stupid problem: PDF documents can not be larger than 16.8 feet long (200 inches actually). Doesn’t that seem like an odd limitation?

“Who could possibly need to print something over 200 inches?”

–someone who works at Adobe

That limit probably turned out for the best, because I had to think a little more creatively about the family tree. If it wasn’t for that limitation, I would have had to print something that was about 5 feet tall and 24 feet wide, and that’s a little on the big side. Instead, I split the tree into 5 sections and moved them around until they pretty well fit on a 3 feet by 16.8 feet piece of paper. Office Depot wanted $195.00 to print it.

I eventually found some guys online who print blueprints. They wanted about $50 to print it, so I ordered 3 of them. They came pretty quickly, and Lauren helped me reinforce the edges and every so often in the middle with tape. I thought about laminating it, but I’m sure there are any number of errors on it. I’ll let everyone make corrections at the family reunion before I commit to something like that.

There are almost 600 people in the family tree right now. There are huge sections that are incomplete. My great grandparents and down should be pretty complete, but after that it gets pretty iffy. I didn’t do hardly any genealogy work on this. Other people did that. I just put it in a format that would print nicely (more or less).

The cats were very interested in their heritage.


About Lloyd

Lloyd Sommerer is a middle/high school teacher who likes to build websites, read books, grow beards, make fun of Lauren’s prototypes and eat the sauce of the picante.

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2 Responses to “Family Tree”

  1. Kristi Said on:

    What a HUGE project! I’m sure the family tree will have some more branches filled out at the reunion. Well done, sir!


  2. Brad Said on:

    I love that! I think I remember that when I was a kid some old person told me I would be more interested in family trees when I was older. They were right. Several people from the next generation up from me have done family tree work for my family. Maybe I should print out a sixteen foot paper of it. Actually, it would be much smaller. I don’t think our information is as complete as yours.


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