Fiances and Family Trees

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Expert Question: I'm currently making a family tree for an upcoming family reunion and was wondering whether or not to add my brother's fiancé to the tree. Currently, the layout has his spot connected to hers with a dotted line - the intent is "marriage pending". However, I'm wondering whether the dotted line has any official meaning (i.e. divorce, illegitimate birth, etc.) and whether or not we should refrain from putting her on the family tree at all?  They will be getting married two months after the family reunion, if that makes any difference.

Expert Answer:  There is no official guidelines for the appearance of a family tree in the graphical format you described.  There are, however, guidelines for the format you see in books which I have seen referred to as 'Journal', 'Narrative', and 'Report' among other names.  This is the less graphical one where it start with an individual and contains paragraphs about them.  The issue in this format is how the number of previous and successive generations and relatives are handled.

Regarding your tree, most genealogy programs today do not have an engagement distinction.  I know Ultimate Family Tree did have this when it existed, but did not distinguish it in the family tree printout.  I checked Family Tree Maker and Roots Magic as well and while they have a field to store engagement information, individuals are connected by marriages.

If you are drawing it out, how about adding her in there, but noting 'engaged' above the line?  This way you will not offend anyone.

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