The Best Android App for Creating Fantasy and Sci-fi Family Trees

Keep track of your long list of characters and their familial alliances and rivalries with FamilyGTG.

Fantasy and sci-fi, particularly fantasy where rival families tend to be duking it out for control over an artifact, a throne or the world, tends to introduce a lot of factions, tribes and royal or noble houses. It is essential to keep your alliances and rivalries straight for the simple but crucial sake of continuity.

But this can be difficult to do using only spreadsheets or word docs--though for the record, don't underestimate the power of spreadsheets; I keep over a dozen on Sons of Kings alone. A great solution: keep family trees handy for a quick reference to who's who, who loves who, and who hates who, anytime you need it.

I was going to include this app on yesterday's worldbuilding apps list, but the article ended up stretching so long, that I decided to showcase this one on its own.

I have since switched to using Canva for my family trees (which I'll cover this weekend, as well as why I now use this instead). But if you look in the appendices for The Siege, you'll see my original family trees, made with this fantastic app:

FamilyGTG - Family Tree

FamilyGTG is mainly meant for creating trees for real families, but it works just as well for your fictional ones. I use it to keep track of my royal Houses. (I get a little wordy on some of these, but bear with me--once inside the app, you'll see how simple it all is.)

1. Family creation screen. You can add as many separate family trees as you want.

2. This is your list of families. The tree itself will only show names and birth/death dates, but any member can be selected to view details you enter for your personal reference, such as marriages, occupation, nationality and special events like mitzvahs or christenings (see number 16 on this list).

3. Tap on your newly-created family and add your initial member. I start with the oldest generation I want to include and work my way down, but that isn't necessary, as I'll show you in number 11 on this list.

4. The initial screen for each member will ask you to add just name and gender. The only thing gender changes is the color of the default member pic that will be used, so if you plan to upload your own pic, what gender you choose will actually make no difference whatsoever because it's not explicitly reflected anywhere else, so members who identify as something other than the binary norm aren't really confined to that. The name fields are labeled "First Name" and "Last Name," but you can enter whatever you want, as I've done here with King Lannis of Aesha'an.

5. Click on the green plus sign in the bottom right of the initial member add screen and you'll be shown a list of all the optional fields you can add to any given member's data set. Each option is a modern concept, but if you're using this to create a royal or historical family tree, you can choose whichever option is closest. (For example: I would indicate that a member is the king of a particular kingdom using the Occupation option.) Includable details are address, baptism, bar or bat mitzvah, blessing, burial, census, christening, divorce, e-mail, education, endowment, engagement, graduation, marriage, nationality, note, occupation, phone, property, religion, retirement, sealing and title.

6. Check off which details you want to include and click add, and you'll be taken to this page, where you fill out all of that information. (NOTE: You can avoid a bit of mild annoyance by adding and saving each section one at a time, since if you navigate away from the page, it'll dump any sections left blank, and you'll have to go back and add them again.)

7. You can view a full-size version of the photo you've uploaded for any given member.

8. Names formats can be changed at any time by clicking the menu button at the top right of the list page or any profile page and selecting "Names Format." This will change the format of each name in that tree accordingly. Different formats can be used for the member list than for member profiles, but the chosen format will apply to all names on that list and to all profiles--it cannot differ from member to member.

9. This menu appears when you click the main (top right) menu button while viewing a particular member's profile, which can be done by selecting any family member from the list (see photo 16).

10. This menu appears when you click any member's menu button while viewing the main list of members.

11. Selecting the "Add Relative" option from the menu shown in photo 9 will bring up this submenu. You can add relatives via any family member, and that relative will show in its correct place regardless of which member profile you happen to be viewing. (For example: Married couple John and Mary have two children, Sally and Brian. Add Brian as a child of Mary, and he will automatically show up as a sibling when viewing Sally's profile and a child when viewing John's; or add Brian as a sibling of Sally and he will show up as a child when viewing John or Mary's profile. Everything adjusts according to which member's profile you're currently viewing.)

12. When adding a relative, you can add a new member, select an existing member or import a member from Facebook (I've never used the Facebook option, so I don't know exactly how that works.) Same-sex marriages are supported.

13. View of the full tree. Selecting "View Tree" from any member's profile will show you the tree structured around that member. (For example: Viewing the tree from a younger generation will show you only that generation and the ones below it, not the ones above it. However, an arrow button to the left will allow you to back up, showing the older generations' perspective.)

14. To slightly enlarge the full-tree view, collapse the top menu. The tree can be viewed in landscape or portrait, but landscape with the menu collapsed will show you more of the tree at one time, cutting down on scrolling around.

15. The full list of members, which is automatically arranged in alphabetical order for finding members easily. Each member's menu button will pull up the menu shown in photo 10.

16. Click on any member from the members list, and you can view that member's profile, which shows their branch of the tree. It will show the selected member at the top, with that member's parents, siblings, spouse and children listed below them. In this view, each member has a menu button that allows you to show that member's profile or delete that member. To view/edit a member's details, use the top right menu on that member's profile and select "Edit Information." There is no way to simply view details; this must be done via the edit screen.

This app offers so many ways in which to view your family tree, by showing you profiles on each member when you click on them, to tell you how each member is related to another--and also by offering multiple ways in which to view the tree itself (either in full or from a particular generation down).

The master list of family members is alphabetized according to the names format you choose, making it simple to find individual members when needed.

Also, when you enter details on engagements and marriages (see photos 5 and 6), those details will show up in each members' details--no need to enter the details on the same engagement or marriage twice.

This app is worth checking out--so do it! Then tell me how you liked it.

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