Make a Timeline

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Viewing this timeline gives you a nice overview of their life. This also makes it possible to see unaccounted time gaps and possible lapses in your research.


A timeline is also an excellent tool from which to write an ancestral biography. This is especially true for those who would like to create a biography, but don’t think they are have enough information.


A timeline puts everything in an organized order and sometimes can make inconsistencies a little easier to spot.


As in all research be certain to put the source for every item in your timeline.



◦                     Choose an ancestor for your time line. You can create a time line for your entire family tree but my recommendation is to try to keep things manageable by doing one ancestor at a time.

◦                     List the important dates and events in your ancestor’s life. This would include the date and place of birth, baptism, graduation date, wedding day, events of employment,  births of children and of course death.

◦                     Find interesting and relevant historical events for the period of time your ancestor was alive. This could include any world events such as Wars, any known events that apply to the area in which your ancestor lived  (if doing an Irish ancestor you may wish to include the Potato Famine). What events you include will depend on who your relative was, where he lived and the historical subjects and events that would have impacted his life.

◦                     Organize your genealogical information and historical dates in chronological order. This chronological list is the basic structure of your time line.


Example of a Partial Timeline

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  • Vic Franklin says:

    Great idea. Went back and did a very basic timeline for one of my lines. Amazing to see what was happening in the world during their lifetime. Just wanted to say thank-you for the idea, going back to fill in further details.


  • Maxine says:

    No problem Vic, it really does make things more interesting when you can tie our ancestors lives in to historical facts that we can all relate to.

    Maxine :-)

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