Family Trees

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Guild Exclusive

This is a Master+ feature. To get access, Join the Worldbuilder's Guild!

  Family trees let you visually represent relationships between relatives from the Relationships tab of the character template page. Follow this guide to get started with your family trees!

Step-by-step instructions

To get started, choose a character from your world, edit it, and click on the Relationships tab. You will see this page:  

  Use the Blood/kinship relations box to set the parents of your character. To do so, type in the text boxes the name of the parent and select from the drop-down list. If the parent does not have a character article, use the Create a new character and link it button to create a character article on the fly and link it automatically to the family tree:  

  Changes to the family tree relations are auto-saved, so you won't need to press the save button of the article. Now, click on the Copy Family Tree Embed button, which will copy to your clipboard a BBCode tag that you can paste anywhere. For the example shown in the screenshot above, this is the result of pasting the tag:  

  You will notice that the family tree has more content than just Amy's parents (Julien and Linda). In order to make the tree more complex, you just need to edit the relations of each character involved. In this example, Cindy has the same biological parents as Amy, so they are displayed as siblings. On the other hand, Felix is one of the biological parents of a character (off-screen), together with Amy, so they are displayed as united.   From the family tree, you can use the button controls to zoom in and out, and the search bar to focus on a specific person of the tree (useful if it's a big one!). Clicking on the picture of a character (a silver circle by default) will display that person's family tree, while clicking on their name will take you to the character article.



Tips and tricks

In order to further customize your tree, keep these points in mind:
  • Use the Character portrait field of the character template to display a custom image in the family tree.
  • You can change the direction of the tree (top, bottom, right, left) by adding a parameter to the tree tag. For example, the following tag will make the tree have a leftwards direction: [familytree:ID|left]
  • You can set the initial zoom level of the tree from 50% to 150% by adding a parameter with the number (without the % symbol): [familytree:ID|50]


Family trees employ a set of symbols to signify different kinds of relationship. This screenshot has all these symbols in action:  
  • Bright gold ring: selected character
  • Copper ring: half-blood sibling
  • Silver ring: default ring
  • Crossed blood drop icon: the character is not biologically related to the selected character
  • Contrasting half-circle icon: half-blood sibling (same as copper ring)


If you only want to display the parents and the descendents of a character instead of the full family tree, copy the bloodline embed instead. You can do so in the sidebar of the article editing page:  

  The code of the bloodline will container an ID number, which you can use to create the bloodline of a couple. Take the regular [bloodline] tag from one of the couple members and add the ID of the other member of the couple, separated by a & symbol. The result will look like this, using ID as a placeholder for the actual ID:  
Content Trees
Generic article | Oct 29, 2023

Learn how to setup a content tree and embed it in an article. Content trees are a tree like structure with a single root element. They can be embedded in three different variants.


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Apr 27, 2020 18:45

The note is not correctly formated. The HTML-Code is not processed.   Also this article is missing information on the borders of portraits (which are sometimes golden when having another person selected) and the red marker that is not the droplet that shows that there is no blood relation.

Apr 27, 2020 20:34

Hi! We've talked on the help channel on Discord :) I'll fix the note now, thanks for reporting. I have added the red market and the gold circles in my to-do list, I'll do some investigation and add it to the guide. I'll try to remember to ping you when it's done.

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Apr 27, 2020 20:55

Thank you. :)

May 6, 2020 20:08

Hi! Sorry it took long, I've been busy with other parts of World Anvil. I've checked with the developer, these are the answers:

  • Half circle icon: half siblings
  • Crossed blood drop: no blood relationship with the selected character
  • Copper circle borders: same as the half circle icon
  I'll add this information to the guide tomorrow, but wanted to ping you ASAP. Hope this is useful and feel free to ping me if you need anything else!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
May 9, 2020 15:57

Is there any easy way to get Protagonist Characters and World Characters on the same family tree? I feel like i'm doing something wrong.   Should I just have players edit a "World Character" article instead of their Protagonist Character to make editing trees easier?

May 9, 2020 16:00

To be clear I'm running a Pendragon (5.2) campaign, which has a huge focus on player Dynasties. Its the reason I chose World Anvil, for the family trees. Increasing the possible number of Co-Authors and making Protagonist Characters easier to "Fit" in the world would be lovely.

May 11, 2020 13:56

Family Tree members must have a character article. However, if the PCs are synced with your world, they will also have a character article (and its contents will be the PC's extended profile), so it is possible to link PCs in a family tree through their article counterparts. Hope this answers the question!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
May 11, 2020 16:33 by Amelia Nite

I'm having issues with the family trees. I started with my character Keith and added his parents. Then, I added his biological sister and his half-sister (same father, different mothers), in which I created stuff for them. But low and behold, the family tree is putting the half-sister in Keith's biological family, basically claiming that Keith's birth-mother is the half-sister's mother, too, even though her tree shows her true mother. Basically, it looks like this:     Keith & Keith's half sis mother--------------------father | | | ------------------------------------------- | | | | | | | | | sister half-sis Keith   AND   Keith & half sis half sis mother--------------------father | | | ------------------------------------------- | | | | | | | | | sister Keith half sis   Is there any way to fix this, because I don't want to confuse my readers if they don't know the character's birth parents. I know what the copper circle and contrasting half-circle mean, but that still doesn't make up for the fact that you can't tell who the half-sibling's biological parent is on the tree. Is it the father or the mother? That's what I'm upset about and need to know if it can be fixed.

May 11, 2020 20:44

Hi! It can probably be fixed, but I need a link to the family tree, since your "text diagram" didn't work in the comment box.

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
May 12, 2020 04:58 by Amelia Nite

Here's the link:

May 15, 2020 17:31

Hi! Sorry for the late answer. I don't think this is currently possible. Not sure if there are plans, though.

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
May 16, 2020 15:39 by Amelia Nite

Okay. Thanks for the reply.

May 15, 2020 07:41

Hello, Are family trees able to handle multiples relationships? I have a king who married twice and had children with both his wives, but the tree only shows one wedding (and only kids from that union). Also, how many generations can the tree show at once? (I'm missing great-grandchildren for that same character)

May 26, 2020 20:50 by Lyraine Alei

I think it only shows two generations before and after the selected character. If you were to select the characters' children, you'd see their grandchildren.

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive
Jun 29, 2020 09:51

I cant seem to find Family Trees in any of the menus? Am I missing something?

Jun 29, 2020 19:33

Hi! Make sure to read this guide, to set up family trees you have to use the relationships tab when you're editing an article!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Jul 11, 2020 03:44

I am having issues with this. When I click the relationships tab it acts like it's loading but the only difference that appears is the highlighted tab is now the relationships tab. None of the pieces required to create a family tree actually shows up.

Jul 11, 2020 15:15

Hi! What do you mean that the only thing that appears is the relationships tab?

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Jul 14, 2020 03:45   Link is to a screenshot of my issue. I have tried with one other web browser with the same result

Jul 14, 2020 07:07

Ok, that's a bug. Can you report it using the "report bug" button you'll find in the help page? You'll need to create a new account for the bug tracker, as it is a third-party platform. Don't forget to attach the screenshots you sent me too.   Thanks!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Mar 3, 2021 04:27 by Robert Evanila

Any updates on this having been a bug? I was attracted to WorldAnvil specifically for the Fantasy Family Tree feature on 3/2/2021 and seem to be having a similar issue. I can see the Relationships tab. I can see the header thereunder noting "Blood/Kinship Relations - Define the parental relations of your characters in order to map their family trees and bloodlines." Thereafter, no additional fields load and it does not look like anything is trying to load. In essence, this view does not match the first steps in the video tutorial. Perhaps it is something I have done? Must I be a paying member to use the feature? Must I be using a specific browser?

“Exit, pursued by a bear.” ~ William Shakespeare
Mar 3, 2021 10:20

Hi! As you can see at the top of this page, family trees are a Master+ feature. I'm afraid you'll need to upgrade to this tier if you want to use them!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Mar 3, 2021 19:57 by Robert Evanila

My apologies. Received The WorldAnvil Twitter response. Only available for Guild Master level and up. Thank you.

“Exit, pursued by a bear.” ~ William Shakespeare
Dec 18, 2020 05:38

How do I get the character pictures to show up on the family trees? I assigned the characters pictures and they show up for character profiles, but the family tree pics are all still World Anvil logos.

Dec 18, 2020 11:54

Hi! Just to check, did you assign the character picture using the "character portrait" field in the right sidebar when you're editing a character article?

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Jan 5, 2021 08:11

Thank you!

Feb 22, 2021 19:08

Is there a way to have the family tree to sort generations by year of birth rather than alphabetical by first name?

Feb 27, 2021 11:52

Hi! Could you clarify what you mean by this? I'm not sure I follow!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Mar 27, 2021 04:22

This is exactly what i am looking for (i think). As in, instead of the order of children being Alex (3rd born), Jess (1st born), Zack (2nd born), have it auto-order them to be Jess, Zack, Alex. All of the people have dates of birth, but its in alphabetical order instead of birth order.

Jan 10, 2022 04:39

OK so I don't if anyone got back to you on this question but I found a work around. To avoid the system ordering alphabetically you can put a number before their name as so: 1. Jess, 2. Zack, 3. Alex.   since sequential number take precedence over letters it will order according to the number sequence just like a cascading bullet point in a outline.   Feel free to get creative with this. For example might order it by birth year so that you not only know the order of birth but also when at a glance. Don't be afraid to create your own systems of symbolism. I understand your frustration with this problem.   Hope that was usefully to everyone.

Jan 10, 2022 05:01

Additional trouble shooting.   One of the problems with numbering is that I suspect it will influence how you search for your character or the order of certain drop downs. That will likely be equally annoying.   Again another way to work around that issue is about sequencing.   So say you want to lay out all the kids in the first generation. But then lets also say you are telling a multigenerational story. So if you use this system you'll have lets of people potentially with 1s in front of their names. It will suck trying to sort through a bunch of characters all with 1s in front of their name, right?   So you may instead name them as such: 1.G1 Alex, 1.G2 Sally, 1.G3 Jim, etc. ect.   This way when you begin to search for a name to drop into a relationship only names from the designated generation will pop up.   This is also useful as a way to show that characters in a couple are from different generations. Like if king Will who's 50 decides to marry Princess Gina who is 20. In this case it might be useful to see at a glance that they are rooted in different generations for plot purposes. Different perspectives and all that good stuff.

Mar 14, 2021 01:39

Feature Request: I would love the ability to expand a family tree further than it goes now, for dynastic tracking purposes. Under the current system, it is very difficult to find lateral relationships (cousins, for instance) unless you already know they are there. Even a toggle to expand the entire family tree at once (think Crusader Kings III)!   Thanks!

Mar 14, 2021 12:12

Hi! Unfortunately the devs don't watch the comment sections (time constraints). To request a feature, please use the form in the help section. Thank you!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Mar 14, 2021 17:42

Thanks for the tip!

Jun 28, 2021 11:22 by Alex Harlequin

Hi, can I make certain sections/entries on a family tree private for spoiler purposes? Or will all entries show up even if they're private articles?

If at first you don't succeed, have a cup of tea and try again.   Creator of Relativity, a science-fantasy time-travel universe.
Jun 29, 2021 10:10

Hi! Just tested it in a secondary world, it looks like an article's visibility state won't change its visibility in the family tree. However, clicking its name will take the reader to an access denied page (unless they have permission to see the article through subscriber groups, of course). Hope this helps!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Oct 24, 2021 18:20

I've been noticing that parents have not been showing all their children. They show up correctly on the family tree, but in the articles, they don't show up.

Oct 26, 2021 10:46

Hi! Can you clarify the second part of your message? I don't quite understand what you mean when you say they don't show up in the articles (but they do in the trees).

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Dec 1, 2021 03:49 by Casey Lee Danger

I know this is kind of an old post, but I had a question about the Family Tree feature- is there any way to view an entire extended family tree? As is, it seems like trees only display direct ancestors, parents and grandparents, I was wondering if there was any way to display a full tree including things like aunts and uncles and the like?   Thanks!

Dec 6, 2021 12:32

I'm afraid that, for now, family trees can only display direct relatives (ancestors or children). But you can take a look at the feature suggestion board and see if there's any open suggestion for that and, if not, open your own!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
May 30, 2022 22:56 by Billith Frostwolf

Hello! I'm editing and organization and then the cover changed to be a family tree member and I can't get rid of it. How can I override it? I don't want to have a family tree on top of an organization cover

May 31, 2022 09:13

Hi! Would it be possible for you to send me a link to that organization article? I'm not sure I understand your question. This will help me help you!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Oct 24, 2022 17:06

two questions. Is there a "view all" where you can see the entire tree and 2, is the extended relationships not included in the embeded trees/bloodlines? If they are how do you see that, if not why not? and also if can I set up a contenet tree as a family tree then

Oct 25, 2022 07:46

Hi! So, to answer your questions:  

  • There is no "view all" feature at the moment. Embedding is the only option.
  • Depends on what you mean with "extended". An embedded family tree and a bloodline are different things. The bloodline will only show relatives directly connected by blood (hence the name), while the family tree will display all relatives of the selected character.
  • Content trees can't be used as family trees because there can be only one parent for a group of children (whereas a family tree is usually the reverse—the higher you go, the more people you have).
  • Hope this helps!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Oct 26, 2022 10:05

    By "extended" I mean where you can add other types of relationships other than parents. But it does a bit thank you

    Oct 26, 2022 15:11

    You can only add parents. However, if two characters have the same parents, the family tree system will interpret them as siblings and so on. You only need to know who the parents are for everyone in a family to know how everyone is related to each other.

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Dec 1, 2022 07:54 by Joanna White

    Hi. I'm trying to figure this out, but there is no relationship tab and I don't see where to create a family tree anywhere? I'm new; please help! I paid for this so I could use the family tree!!

    Dec 1, 2022 08:49

    Hi! When you edit a character article, you should be able to see the Relationship tab at the top—the tab appears even if you aren't a Guild member. Then, as a Master you get the options to set the character's parents. Doing this with all the involved characters will generate a family tree that you can then copy into any article. Hope this helps!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Mar 3, 2023 23:20

    Hey, quick question, potentially a bug? So in the family tree, I've noted one of my characters (Finneas) as being an illegitimate child by having the father (Daarach) be marked as 'adoptive' rather than 'biological', but with the mother (Amreen) still listed as the bio mother (i.e. he was raised as a full-blooded child despite not being one). But in the family tree, the father's list of children doesn't seem to show him at all, he's just missing. When I click on any of Daarach's other kids, suddenly Finneas appears. Also, I've noted that two siblings (Oskar and Atalie) in this family tree have a shared set of adoptive parents on top of their shared biological parents (i.e. just those two went to live with their uncles). For some reason it lists them as being half-siblings (both via icon and frame) relative to each other when you click on either. I've double-checked that both have the correct bio parents (Amreen and Daarach) and adoptive parents (Audemus and Kai), but it seems like for some reason they're being interpreted as being half-siblings. When I click on one of the adoptive parents, the little half circle icon disappears but they're still both displaying copper rings. Here's where you can see the family tree. Are these just bugs or more of a byproduct of how the system functions?

    Mar 6, 2023 09:16

    This could be a bug or a limitation of the current implementation of family trees. Can you report it in the bug tracker? Thank you!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Apr 15, 2023 07:59

    I dont understand how to see the family tree. Ok, I copy the code, but where do I paste to actually see the family tree?

    Apr 17, 2023 08:08

    You can paste it in an article! Anywhere relevant—such as a section talking about the character's family, for example.

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Jul 21, 2023 00:54

    Has this function changed since it was originally posted? I've been trying for a while to try and create a family tree and its been a nightmare

    Jul 21, 2023 08:26

    Hi! It has gotten some minor updates, but nothing major has changed. Note that the feature is Guild-only so currently you won't be able to use it.

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Sep 14, 2023 20:20 by C.R. Jones

    I upgraded to Master today and I don't have relationships anywhere.... can someone help me find that?

    Sep 15, 2023 09:21

    Hi! You'll find the family tree options in the Character template. Simply create or edit a Character article and you'll see a "Relationships" tab at the top!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Oct 3, 2023 20:49

    I'm confused how to get to the relationship tab. I'm doing this on a tablet.

    Oct 4, 2023 10:31

    Hi! The relationships tab is inside the Character template, so you need to create or edit a Character article. That said, family trees are a Guild feature, so you'll need a subscription is you want to use them.

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Dec 22, 2023 06:10

    So everything I got to the relationship tab. The blood/kinship box aren't appearing its just the top bar text

    Jan 3, 2024 06:16

    Hi! I see you became a Master on the 24th. I'm assuming that the blood/kinship box is appearing now, but I wanted to check if you need help with anything else!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Mar 14, 2024 11:47

    Hello - is there a way to display age instead of birth date on the family tree? Apologies if answered already i couldn't see anything

    Mar 15, 2024 05:26

    Hi! Not currently, but you can suggest this as a feature here if you think it will gather enough community support:

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.