I love maps. Only slightly less than my love of maps, is my love of charts. I spent many hours poring over the genealogies at the back of the Silmarillion over the years. I began reading the Silmarillion again when I got into LOTRO, and have read it a few more times since. Even though I have become a min-maxing raider who spends a lot of time analyzing the game to maximize my effectiveness, it was the Lore which brought me to this game. And I still love that Lore.
One thing that always bugged me about the genealogies was that they were split up into 5 or 6 charts. They were split up by families, or races, etc. I wanted to see it all together in one chart so I could trace genealogies through the whole thing. I assumed there would be one on the internet, so I began searching. I found many good resources, but never exactly what I wanted, and never all in one chart.
Deciding this useful piece of research would be desirable, but was strangely lacking, I took it upon myself to create it. I started with the Genealogies themselves as they were presented in the Silmarillion.
I used Visio to build the chart, placing all the names on the chart and linking them up.
I then noticed that there were holes. For example the charts show Arwen descent from the Eldar of old, but just splice in Aragorn marrying her. Where did he come from? His ancestors as well as the Numenorean Kings were missing.
So a little Googling yielded some important resources:
Using these and a few other sites I was able to tie everything together. There were also a few controversies I had been unaware of. One was the lineage of Celeborn, Galadriel’s husband. After some research I decided to adhere to the opinion that he was a son of Galadhon, from the House of the Teleri as per this chart.
There was also the question of Olwe and Elwe. Were they brothers or merely from the same house? I decided to go with this interpretation and made them brothers of some unnamed lord.
And Mahtan, was he a Noldor? I decided to use this chart, and assume he is in fact a Noldor.
After getting everyone on the chart I spent a good bit of time untangling all the interconnections. There were a few loops which could not be untangled, but I believe I have reduced it to the fewest crossovers possible.
I then desired to place a little more context in the chart. I placed background boxes for each age and grouped the families. But I wanted to add in some other narrative and chronological details. I also wanted to have the years shown on the chart so that everything would be in its proper context. I used the Tolkien Gateway to help me sort out the earliest events.
So in the end I had a chart which showed almost every important person in all of Middle-Earth history. And the lines of Arwen and Aragorn can now be traced on one chart from beginning to end. But more than that, it turned into a condensed history of Middle-Earth.