Creating a Timeline

Get your genealogy database to set up the basic timeline about one person in your tree. Some have aids to help you find historical context

Fill in the blanks of significant events in the subject’s life that you may have. For example, my grandfather lost his hearing at the age of seven, an event which profoundly affected every aspect of his life even though there is no official record of it.

Use any program you like to enhance it. Think about how you want people to be able to view it. You can use Word’s HTML, Power Point, any HTML writer, or .pdf to then be put into a Windows slide show program. It can even be made into a hard copy scrapbook. But keep it simple regarding your viewer being able to get to it. You can put it in a book, on a CD, on your web page, or DVD if you want to add sound.

Separate by decades. Tell person’s age at time of event. List sources. You now have your skeletal format.

Place in an historical context. Study the history and local papers. Google timeline ”your city, country, decade”, etc.) Go to Google book search to find historical documentation, Google images and Library of Congress images to find old photos. Use those events as your background on the page. (such as a brown background for a war)

Put some thought into the individual’s life out of historical context; e.g. father was in an orphanage, what was that like for him? For his siblings, parents? Get inside their heads and hearts.

Use text colors to identify various life events. That helps your reader organize the events in their minds.

Show it to other people to get their feedback on how it flows. Put it in a drawer for three months without looking at it so that when you do take it out the omissions, errors, and lack of flow will be very apparent.

Keep it updated. Remember it is not an end in itself. Keep adding to it as you find information. Leave instruction for someone to copy and distribute it for your relatives if something happens to you.

Make it COLORFUL and INTERESTING! This is a LIFE you are reconstructing! They will THANK YOU when you meet them in heaven!

This is a really wonderful way to get your cousins interested and KEEP them involved with your hard work.

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