One of my very first blog posts was about a creating timelines for our ancestors as a way to better understand what is happening in their lives. You can see the post here. At the time, I uploaded a simple Excel template of a timeline structure on my website that genealogist can download. You can find it here under Genealogy Worksheets.
Since then I’ve creates a whole class on the subject entitled, Problem Solving with Genealogy Timelines. The class has been one of my most popular and well received classes to date.
The technique is pretty straight forward. Imagine having collected lots of dates, facts, stories, pictures, records, and sources about your ancestor. You have digital notes, documents, books, and scribbled notes on scraps of paper. (I speak from a great depth of disorganized experience here!) Now that you’ve gathered lots of information, It is very hard to know what you have and don’t have – even with family group sheets and pedigree charts, what’s well documented and what has no proof, and honestly, where to go from here. The timeline sorts everything out, makes clear the ancestor’s story, and opens doors and makes connections you may not have noticed amid the literal or figurative pile of notes. It’s very cool, as well as stress releasing.
I’m very excited about this tool, what it can do, and how it has made such a difference for me. So, I was tickled today, when I stumbled on an article in About.com about genealogy timelines. The article is well written and makes a lot of good points.
Even more exciting was that the author directed readers to me, my website, and my downloadable template, as a way to get started. Imagine that!
Go forth and put your ancestors information in timelines! It’s easy and a huge boost to your research efforts. As you do, I’d love to hear your stories and questions.