Those of us who love to play through many generations of Sims will know this frustration; after about four or five generations, the game starts deleting Sims from the in-game family tree, leaving you with no way to look back on your progress with your family. The in-game family tree also does not show the entire tree at once; it only shows the active Sim’s direct lineage.
I’m going to teach you how to use a really easy and intuitive family tree tool called The Plum Tree App to document your Sims’ family trees. The best part of this tool is that it’s designed for The Sims, so it’s much easier to use than a genealogy website designed for real people.
Even though The Plum Tree App is set up for The Sims 4, you can use it for any Sims game you want! Just manually put in your Sims’ traits and other info instead of using the preset ones for The Sims 4.
Just Getting Started
Navigate to theplumtreeapp.com and create a free account. You need to have an account to be able to save and keep track of your family trees.
Once you have your account set up, you will be able to start creating family trees. In the same section where you created your account, select Create Tree. As you can see in the screenshot below, I have many family trees already saved on my account, but we are going to start a new one for this tutorial so you can see how it all comes together.
When you create a new tree, you’ll be taken to the following screen where you will be able to name your family tree and give it a description. Be as creative or as straight-to-the-point as you like! Whenever you’re satisfied with what you’ve written, select Create Tree. Don’t worry, you can always go back and edit this later on, so don’t agonize over it too much.
Adding Sims and Their Partners
Okay, here’s where things might start to look daunting, but it’s really not, I promise! In very simple terms, your family tree is made up of nodes and people. The nodes are the empty circles you will see when you add a new spot on the tree for a Sim. When you first create your tree, you have one empty node on the screen.
Each node must be assigned a person. These are the actual Sims that make up your family. Click the Edit button and then click People in Tree to create your first person in your tree.
When you choose People in Tree, you will be taken to a screen that lists everyone in your tree. This is where you want to go whenever you need to add a new Sim to the family or when you need to update some info about an existing Sim in the tree. Right now, we don’t have anyone in our tree, so let’s select Add Someone New.
Whoah, there is a lot on the Sim creation screen, isn’t there? No worries, let’s break everything down by numbers.
- Your Sim’s picture. This is the portrait that will show up on the tree. Click Upload Image to upload a picture of your Sim from your computer. After you’ve uploaded a picture, click Crop Image if you’re not satisfied with the placement and drag a square around the part of the picture you want displayed. You can also just leave the picture as-is if you like.
- Type in your Sim’s full name here.
- This is a bio section for you to write anything you like about your Sim. It’s not for factual info like traits and aspirations (those have their own sections). This is more for you to get creative and describe their life and the kind of person they are. You can also just leave this blank if you’re not interested in writing bios or if you have writer’s block. It’s optional.
- List your Sim’s traits here. This section will auto-complete traits as you type, including reward traits and traits from DLC packs. If your Sims have custom/modded traits, you can add these in manually, too!
- List your Sim’s aspiration here. This section will auto-complete aspirations as you type, including hidden aspirations and aspirations from DLC packs. If your Sims have custom/modded aspirations, you can add these in manually, too!
- Put your Sim’s life state here. Are they a regular Sim? A vampire? Mermaid? Spellcaster? Alien? Servo? Ghost? That info goes here. You can even add your Sims’ cats and dogs to the family tree!
- This section allows you to add any extra information you want to include. To give you some ideas, I like to use this section to list things like careers, degrees, maiden names, and occult powers/weaknesses (if applicable). It’s totally up to you how to use this section. You can also completely ignore it if you like!
Once you’re satisfied, click Create Person and voila! You have a new Sim to add to your tree! Let’s go back to the tree and assign them to a node!
This next screen is simpler than the person creation screen, but it’s still important, so here’s another breakdown below.
- Set Node Person. This is where you will assign a Sim to the node. Once a node has been assigned a person, that person’s portrait will show up on the tree and you will be able to click on them to bring up all the information you put in for them on the person creation screen.
- Set Node Partners. This is where you will assign romantic partners of your Sim. You can add as many partners as you want for a Sim. You can also set each partner as a current partner, an ex, or a spouse.
- Set Node Parents. This is where you can assign parents to your Sims. In most cases, you can already see a Sim’s parents by looking at the tree, but this section becomes important when your Sims have children with multiple partners, or when a Sim is adopted by a relative and it’s not immediately apparent by looking at the tree who is a child of whom. I’ll go over this in more detail later, but for now, make sure you are always assigning parents here and indicate whether they are biological or adoptive parents.
To sum it all up, add your Sim the way we just added Mortimer and assign them to a node using the wrench symbol. To add your Sim’s spouses and/or romantic partners, first create the spouse/partner on the People in Tree screen the exact same way we created Mortimer. Then click the wrench icon on your Sim’s node and use the Set Node Partners tool to add them. Adding a partner this way will create a new node on the tree next to your Sim with their partner’s portrait.
Adding children to your family tree is very easy and follows the same basic principles. First create the child from the People in Tree screen the same way we created Mortimer. Then assign them to a node.
I’ve gone ahead and added Bella as Mortimer’s spouse using the same steps detailed above for adding spouses/partners to the tree. Now I want to add Cassandra and Alexander.
The first thing I need to do is create Cassandra and Alexander’s profiles via the People in Tree screen. Every time you want to add a new person to the tree, you must add their profile first. Again, do this in the exact same manner we added Mortimer.
Next, I need to make sure there are nodes to assign them to. I am going to click the plus sign below Mortimer and Bella to create two new nodes for Cassandra and Alexander.
Click the plus sign to add children, then add them to the node using the wrench and the Assign Node Person tool as outlined previously.
Now our Goth family tree is complete! Well, their Sims 4 version, anyway. Now that our family tree is looking good, we should save it and then share it for everyone to see!
Saving and Publishing your Tree
Saving your tree and publishing it is easy peasy! Just select the Actions tab at the top of your family tree and select Save Tree to save it to your account. You’ll be able to leave and come back to your tree anytime. Just make sure you don’t forget your account username and password!
To share your tree with the Simming world, select Publish Tree. On the next screen, make sure your tree is set to Public. If you would like to add your tree to the website’s gallery where other Simmers can browse for it, feel free to go ahead and enable that, too. Make sure to copy the link to your tree on this screen before you hit Save Settings. Then you can post the link to your tree wherever you like!
Creating Non-Nuclear Families
But wait! We’re not finished, yet! I already know what you’re thinking: “Yo Snarky Witch, this ain’t the 1950s anymore!” You’re absolutely right.
Although the Goths are a pretty easy tutorial example because they are a traditional nuclear family, we all know that in both real life and in The Sims, families rarely follow a traditional nuclear family structure. How do you deal with things like divorces, step-children, and half-siblings? Well the good news is that The Plum Tree App is more than equipped to handle these things, too.
Since I’ve already covered how to add people to the tree and assign them to a node, as well as what all the tools on the node screen are for, I’m not going to go step-by-step in this section. Apply what you’ve learned previously in the tutorial to follow along here.
Divorces and Exes
Since the Plum Tree App allows you to add as many partners to a single Sim as you want, adding exes is pretty easy.
On the node edit screen for your Sim, open the Set Node Partners tool. Select Add Partner, then add exes and set them as such.
To add a current partner as well as ex-partners for the same Sim, just select Add Partner again and do the same, but set them as a current spouse or partner.
Step-children of your Sims can be added to the tree as well. They are added the same way any other children are added. You will just need to customize their parent details.
Click the plus sign below your Sim and their spouse’s nodes to add your Sim’s step-child. Click the wrench on the step-child’s node and select Set Node Parents. Add your Sim’s spouse as the child’s biological parent. Do not list your Sim in this section. The step-child should only have one parent listed here; your Sim’s spouse.
If your Sim has adopted their step-child, you can add your Sim as their step-child’s adoptive parent. If not, you can leave this blank.
On the tree, step-children will show up alongside biological children, but if you scroll over any of the children, it will highlight their biological/adoptive parents and grey out everyone else. You can also differentiate which children belong to whom by clicking on their portrait. Their parents will be listed in their profile.
My Sim has a step-daughter. I have set his wife as her parent, but not my Sim. When I click her portrait, we can see that my Sim is her step-father by his greyed out portrait and by her parent details in her profile.
Half-siblings are also easy to do and work in a similar way to step-children. Make sure you have added all your Sim’s partners, then add all the children the way you normally would.
When you add the children, make sure to specify which two Sims are their parents in their parent details. When you view the tree, you will be able to see which children are half-siblings by clicking their portraits to see who their parents are.
An example of half-siblings from my 100 Baby Challenge. We can see this Sim’s father is Vlad. If we start scrolling over his siblings, it will highlight different Sims above as their father, so we know many of these children are half-siblings.
Extended Family Trees
Okay, so we’ve covered traditional nuclear families as well as non-traditional families with multiple partners, step-children, and half-siblings, but what about extended family trees? What if you want to add the parents and grandparents of your Sims’ spouses, for example? Is there a way to connect different lineages into one giant family tree that covers all the spouses’ genealogy, too, as well as the genealogy of our own Sims?
Well, sadly… no. That is The Plum Tree App’s one and only limitation. You cannot add parents and grandparents of spouses/partners, so you can’t have different family trees connecting in that way, but as you can see, this is still a very versatile tool that will allow you to customize both your traditional and non-traditional Sims families exactly the way you want them.
And that’s everything you need to know to get started making amazing family trees to document those legacies! It’s also great for keeping track of which Sims are the parent of which children in those 100 Baby Challenges!
Did you find this tutorial helpful? Let us know in the comments or come chat with us on social media!