When you’re collecting your genealogy information, it’s also important to learn your family’s health histories. Your doctor can use that data to uncover hereditary health problems and how they may affect you and your family.
To start, you want to create health portraits for yourself, your children, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Some of the basic data you should collect include: ethnic and racial background; major illnesses and chronic health problems; surgeries and hospitalizations; medications, immunizations; lifestyle habits (diet, weight, exercise, smoking and other addictions); emotional and behavioral problems; and cause of death. It’s also important to add birth and death dates as well as age at onset or diagnosis for each health event.
Some genealogy software programs track medical conditions and DNA results, such as Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic, and Family Tree Maker. In addition, you can use:
- Cleveland Clinic’s Health & Your Family Tree, a simple form to fill out for members of your family
- The Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait tool
- Genetic Alliance’s Does It Run In the Family tool
- GenoPro, a family tree software program that specializes in medical history and genograms. Instead of basic pedigree charts, GenoPro creates genograms, with detailed health histories, emotional relationships, social relationships, even household configurations. For fun, check out Harry Potter’s tree, based on the J.K. Rowling book series.