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
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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