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Family Tree Desk Top and Collage Wall Photo Frames: A Gift They Will Love and Cherish

Updated on November 14, 2014

Do you have your ancestors photos on display?

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The Story Behind My Family Tree Desk Top Photo Frame

It all started with an email. I met a woman online who was researching a similar surname as me. It was an uncommon surname that was created by one of my ancestors in the 1830s. Originally it was de Mello but around 1830 my ancestors began using the compound surname de Mello Castanho. Everyone from the village of Maia, Ribeira Grande in the Azores who is a de Mello Castanho is related to me in some way.

Her ancestor's name was Engracia de Mello Castanho from the same village. Surely, she was related but we had a gap in our research between 1870 and 1900. Because of this, we weren't able to make a connection at first.

We dedicated ourselves to researching the line from opposite ends. Eventually, we figured out our mystery relative and we connected her to the tree, and thus, to each other.

One day around Christmas, I got a box in the mail from this cousin. I opened the box and found this beautiful family tree picture frame. I was so excited that I set it up that night. It was so beautiful when completed!

It holds a place of honor in the middle of my dresser. Sometimes I stand in front of it for a little genealogy meditation time. I will cherish it always!

Photograph of My Great Grandmother

Brigitte Breilh Mazeres ca 1890
Brigitte Breilh Mazeres ca 1890 | Source

Deciding Which Pictures to Display

Before I put my frame together, I needed to decide which photographs to use. They had to be small enough so the head of the person sat correctly within the frame, but not so small you couldn't tell who it was.

Some photographs weren't going to work. There was too much distraction around the individual or their head didn't fit in the frame. Some needed a little digital manipulation before I could use them.

When you set out to do your own frame, remember that you'll have to cut the photographs up to put them in the frames. Please don't use originals or the only copy that you have. Once it's cut up that's it. Make a copy or two to work with. That way if you mess up or you change your mind you won't have ruined something that can't be replaced.

I decided to go with all black and white shots. Once I had the right mix in the right size, I was ready to put it together.

A Desk Top Frame from the Same Series

It's difficult to find my same exact frame at this time. However, you can still find frames within the same series that has a very similar design.

This is a lovely frame is the same style with small leaf detailing. The only difference is that nstead of five frames on the top row it has four frames. It holds 12 photographs rather than 13.

This pedestal standing frame displays your photos with a classic look and feel.

Larger and Smaller Frames in the Tree of Life Collage

These are two of the sizes of frames in my tree
These are two of the sizes of frames in my tree | Source

The Leaves

My frame comes with thirteen leaves. The leaves come in two sizes. There are four larger ones and nine smaller ones.

You can arrange the leaves in any order that you like. You might like to arrange your tree by generations or couples. My tree in a mixture as I didn't have an equal amount of photos for each side of my tree. My parents, grandparents, and great grandparents are represented.

I hope some day to have representation of all my great grandparents. Until then, this will do just fine.

The Back Side

Back of frame shown
Back of frame shown | Source

Filling the Frames is Easy

Once I decided what photographs to use in my tree, it was a piece of cake to fill the frames. Each frame opens easily from the back. Just slide the metal piece over then lift the black piece out.

I cut the photographs to the size of the frame on the inside. The black back piece or the clear plastic "glass" was my guide for the proper dimensions.

Once I set the photograph inside the frame, I returned the back piece to the proper position, and slid the metal piece back over so that it was secure. The I hung the frame on a hook! And, then I moved it and moved it again. An hour later I was satisfied with my presentation.

Hallmark Desk or Shelf Family Tree Collage

Hallmark Family Tree FTF1001 Metal Family Tree
Hallmark Family Tree FTF1001 Metal Family Tree

I think this is a gorgeous, contemporary frame that really stands out. If I didn't already have a family tree photo frame, this would be the one I'd choose.


Picture Frames Come in Many Designs

You might be looking for something a little different than the frame my cousin gave me. There are so many styles to choose from. You are sure to find a great frame that is exactly what you're looking for!

You might be looking for something traditional or a little different. There are so many styles to select from. These are some of the best for table tops and shelves.

The Hallmark Metal Tree Pedestal Style shown at right is a beautiful frame, don't you think? If I had my druthers and was going to purchase one for myself, this is the one I would get. It's a lovely design. I love the contrasting colors. And, it really shows off your ancestors.

It holds ten photographs, so you can do your parents, your grandparents, and your great grandparents. The Hallmark Family Tree Frame is a metal frame. It measures 19.5" x 19.5" with a 7" x 5.5" base. This would look great in the living room or hallway table.

There are others to consider:

  • The Malden Family Tree has a multi-tone finish. It is two sided. It holds 14 photographs in circular and square frames.
  • The Bronze Family Tree is a dark colored tree with a square base. It comes with 6 frames.
  • The New View Family Tree Wall Style has room for seven photos that surround the phrase "Our Family Grows with Love". This one is made of metal.
  • The Prinze Generations is a black wood frame. It has a silk screen design embellishing the glass. It has the phrase "Generations: A Legacy of Love" on the glass. It hold 6 4"x6" photographs.
  • The Gorman is perfect for the holiday season. It is shaped like a Christmas tree. Use it to hold Christmas memories.

Do your research. Decide what colors and styles you want. There's one out there perfect for you!

Family Tree Collage Wall Frame

Malden Ironworks Family Tree Collage Frame, 6 Opening
Malden Ironworks Family Tree Collage Frame, 6 Opening

Lovely, scrollwork design displays six pictures.


No room on your tables?

Not much table space available? Maybe a wall mounted collage of family pictures would be a better choice. You can find them in many shapes and sizes. What a wonderful way to honor your relatives by displaying them over the on the wall.

I really like this design of the Maldon Ironworks Family Tree Collage. The tree is delicately woven into the background of the photographs. The black outline would fit with many different types of décor (no colors clashing!) It measures 15 1/2 inches by 13 1/2 inches. The largest spot is 4x5 while the others are 3x5

Instead of hanging multiple frames this cuts down on the clutter. You could also make it the center of a design with several other photographs around it highlighting different branches of the tree.

Make It a Project - Do It Yourself Frameable Family Tree

This is my Dad's side of the tree printed from genealogy software.
This is my Dad's side of the tree printed from genealogy software. | Source

Printable Trees...Or Draw it Yourself

Are you the do-it-yourself type? You can create your own family tree collage and put it in a frame. All you need is a computer and software that will help you create a design.

If you can draw, you might like to design it yourself. If not, there's software that can help you. Most genealogy software has an option to print a photo tree as long as you have photos connected to the people in your database. I've used the photo chart feature of RootsMagic genealogy software to create this chart. (Needs a couple of more photographs before it is complete!)

You can also find different designs on the web. Do a search for "decorative genealogy charts".

Tips for Selecting as a Gift

There are some questions you should consider before you buy:

  1. Do you have enough photographs to fill the frame?
  2. Does your recipient have a table top to put it on? Many elderly people live in small apartments. A pedestal frame may not be the right choice if they have limited space.
  3. Do they have room for a wall frame? Be sure to consider how large the frame is so that it will fit in the intended space.
  4. Should you buy a modern looking frame or something more traditional? Is your recipient someone who likes contemporary things or do they prefer antiques and traditional looking stuff?

Family Pictures Make Great Gifts, Too!

Anyone interested in their genealogy has a whole collection of photographs that they'd like to show off. Wouldn't it be nice if you could display your family tree in a frame design just for this purpose? Well, you can!

There are many family tree picture frames available. Some stand up and are perfect for a shelf or desk. Others are meant for display on your walls.

I'll show you one I received as a gift one Christmas. Then, I'll show you two examples that I think are magnificent. I wouldn't mind owning either! If you are a do-it-yourselfer you can create something from your computer.

This is a great way to display your heritage. They make great gifts, too! Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa...they'd be proud to share their history with one of these fine frames. It's a wonderful way to share your love with other family members, especially if that person is difficult to buy for!

Planning to give one as a gift?

Before buying, you should think about what style the recipient would enjoy most. An elderly person with limited space, might prefer something that goes on the wall than one that sits on the table. A renter may not be able to put anything up at all.

Also, you need to decide whether you'll fill it in or allow the recipient to do it themselves. This really depends on who it's for. If you are giving it to a friend, they'll probably want to select their own photos. However, your Mom would probably love seeing all the photos lovingly selected for her. Another option is to give the gift of time along with it. What better way to spend an afternoon then rummaging through old pictures! At least I think so.

And, remember, if you decide to fill the frame yourself, be sure you have enough photos! Count how many spots are available and how many photos you have before you purchase.

A Frame to Cherish

I know that I cherish my frame. I find myself stopping to look at it each day. I try to take a moment to think about my ancestors and give thanks for my heritage.

© 2011 Melody Lassalle

Thanks for visiting!

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    • MelRootsNWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Melody Lassalle 

      4 years ago from California

      oceansunsets, thanks for your comments, I appreciate it! It's nice to meet another genealogist. I never dreamed that we had roots in Massachusetts so it was incredible to find this cousin and to see how her line of the tree developed in different ways than my one. They migrated for different reasons and had a different experience on the East Coast than my Hawaii/California kin.

      I agree that history is wonderful and when you do genealogy you realize how history affected your ancestors in very personal ways. There is something humbling about that.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      4 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Melody, I love the family frame idea in the form of a tree. Whether on the table or wall, I simply love the idea to remember your family by, and share the knowledge through pictures at least, of them. The project sounds like special one to spend even a fair amount of time on. You give great tips when considering what kind to get and what to possibly give.

      Most of all, I loved how you found a family member, and made the connection together. How very special that sounds! You have a treasure there for sure. Thanks for sharing, and would love to see more about ancestry and genealogy, as it's a passion of mine as well. History is wonderful, and finding our family in it is very special I think. Voted up, useful, beautiful, awesome, interesting, etc.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Melody Lassalle 

      5 years ago from California

      Thank you for your comment, Randall! I know that I treasure the one I have.

    • Randall Guinn profile image

      Randall Guinn 

      5 years ago from Pinellas Park, Florida

      These are some neat frames. Great article!

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 

      5 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      I love the idea of using a real family tree that has frames for holding photos!

    • cjbmeb14 lm profile image

      cjbmeb14 lm 

      6 years ago

      Nice gifts

    • MelRootsNWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Melody Lassalle 

      6 years ago from California

      @Celticep: I understand fully. Knowing those were the photos that were important to your grandmother makes it all the more special.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      6 years ago from United States

      These really would make beautiful family gifts!

    • Celticep profile image


      7 years ago from North Wales, UK

      I have a very old family tree photo frame that belonged to my grandmother. It still contains the pictures she put in there. They're faded now and I should probably change them but I don't want to because they were the ones that she chose. One year I bought my mother one of these frames as a gift and filled it with pictures for her, they do make lovely gifts!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have a passion for genealogy myself. Found this lens very interesting.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Really lovely idea to remember our family members,great lens thanks a lot

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very very classic. I'll try to DIY with my child. Thanks for sharing.

    • GonnaFly profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      This is such a lovely idea. I should put more family photos on display.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Love the frames - I have so much gathered information about our family to put together one day soon...started before there was so much help available on the internet and can't get over how quickly something new appears when I do searches about different family members.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love your family tree photo frames. The image of the family tree is really cute with a green tree and the photos hanging from it.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      8 years ago from United States

      These are really awesome photo frames!! I have never seen them before and I would love to have a few for my old family photos. Really awesome.

    • auntjennie profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      I have some ancestor pictures up but most are tucked away. These are great ideas to put your history on display.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wonderful idea; I have my ancestor photos carefully put away in albums, but really we should put them on display. Great page!

    • UKGhostwriter profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens, we should play tribute to our ancestors

    • MelRootsNWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Melody Lassalle 

      8 years ago from California

      I've got the photo frame and in my previous house I had a whole wall of family photos going back to my grandparents. I think it helps relate to your ancestors when you can see their faces and put faces to names.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A lovely idea for showing off your immediate family tree !

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A lovely idea for showing off your immediate family tree !

    • Brookelorren LM profile image

      Brookelorren LM 

      8 years ago

      These are really nice. I have over 1000 people in my family tree, but I don't have photos except for ones that I have taken (obviously of people that were alive in my lifetime). I hope to scan some this summer when I visit my family.

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 

      8 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      I love these family trees!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What a fun way to display photos from the family tree!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love these kinds of frames. Nice job on this lens!


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