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Jan 27 13 6:44 AM

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In yesterday's newsletter our feature post came from Tami at Your Story Coach. Tami discussed the use of timelines to get your ancestor's lives organized. Does anyone plan on using this tool? If you have used a timeline share your experience ?  I'm a very visual person so a timeline works well for me, it's a great visual tool. What's your thoughts on timelines?  

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#1 [url]

Jan 27 13 9:06 AM

You know, a timeline invites you to "dig deeper" and find verification for family stories handed down orally, since you need actual dates to add markers on the timeline. For example, while trying to map out my grandfather's childhood, I knew he'd been put in a boy's home for several years as a child. I had a couple of handwritten letters that helped give me an estimate, but it wasn't until I dug deeper and found his name on the 1900 census, listed in a Los Angeles boy's home, that I was able to have a solid verification.

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#2 [url]

Jan 27 13 4:19 PM

I've used the timeline feature on Family Tree Maker and also just by googling various dates and/or years.  Watching that youtube the other day about breathing your ancestors time and space, the link that Debra sent, it sure convinces me how important an historical timeline is.  For instance, setting the important event his grandfather lived through along side a news headline about Lucretia Borga (sp?), what was going on in baseball, and current music, really gives you the flavor of the setting. 

Bettyann Schmidt rhinegirl.blogspot.cim

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#3 [url]

Jan 29 13 9:49 AM

Even though I am writing about more recent events, ending about 23 years ago, I still need to timeline. I have been thinking about this project for some years now...too many. The events during my own lifetime still need a timeline just to keep the record straight. It's hard to remember the way an event played out over a 14 month period after 23 years!  

I have not fully decided if I will be going back to my father-in-law's birth (1910), or if that will be another project and just intimated in the book when his first cousin said that they had searched for him for over 40 years. There are really three stories tied into one. I had thought of writing it in three parts... I don't know. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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#4 [url]

Jan 31 13 6:32 PM

In terms of doing an historical timeline for events, I think I would have to research it myself and build up a timeline. I checked out the link for the timeline maker that was posted in the newsletter, and I found that apart from major world-wide items like the wars, most of the events that came up were American. My grandfather grew up in Canada, then lived for 24 years in British Guiana, then worked out east in Asia, so that timeline maker wasn't very relevant for him. I wouldn't expect to find a detailed timeline of events in British Guiana on the internet anyway!! So I'll do the research myself. 

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#5 [url]

Feb 1 13 4:00 AM

I know what you mean, and I'm looking at a much narrower area: Northern Ireland, late 19th century through WW I. The American slant is not so relevant for me, even though  I'm looking at people who immigrated to the US. I want to know more about the context in which they left home and later traveled back and forth.

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#7 [url]

Feb 1 13 5:29 AM

Timelines are great. I use them with each family group I plan to write about. I include important family dates & dates for the area they lived in, as local as possible. Floods, fires, epidemics, financial hard times may have effected my family. Happenings in our families & the world can be related.

I just Google search my family's town or county or state with the word 'timeline'.  A specific timeline webstie is not necessary to find the info you are looking for. For example: I just Googled 'Waterbury Ct timeline' and came to Greater Waterbury. com with a nice timeline.

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#8 [url]

Feb 1 13 5:47 AM

@nicb, your right about building your own. One website won't be a one-size fits all. When it comes to creating your historical timelines you're going to require many resources. Build a spreadsheet for your timeline. Keep track of the links, so you can cite your sources. Also be sure to investigate beyond the internet. Local historical societies may have plenty of local books that will help that are not digitized and available online, as well consider local newspapers. Your historical timeline should not only include global events but regional events as well. These resources are going to prove valuable in building your ancestor's character and demonstrating the setting of your story. 

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#9 [url]

Feb 1 13 6:55 AM

I find The Timetables of History, by Bernard Grun very helpful in finding out what was going on around the world. It covers major events, worldwide, in history, politics, literature, theater, religion, philosophy, visual arts, music, science and technology and daily life. It covers dates from BC to the 1970s. Quite comprehensive. You can probably find used copies on Amazon or at your local library.

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#10 [url]

Feb 1 13 1:38 PM

Another helpful book for timelines is The People's Chronicle by James Trager.

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#12 [url]

Feb 2 13 5:31 AM

Oh my goodness, Colleen, thanks for the advice! Looking briefly, there are definitely several British Guiana timelines that will be helpful. I will spend some time on this this afternoon. And Lynn, doing a timeline on a spreadsheet sounds like a great idea - I will do that too. I think by combining general British Guiana timelines I find on the Internet with dates/information I find from my own research, I should be able to one up with a quite specific timeline. Thanks!

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#14 [url]

Feb 2 13 8:33 AM

I found that I did not use one tool and only one.  If you go to my blog, GenWestUK you will see I have a specific page (called 'Timeline', what a surprise *grin*).  This timeline starts in 1546 and covers events in and around the area where my family originated (Devon and Cornwall, UK).  I have been accumulating the info over several years, so it covers things like plagues, monarchs, wars, harvests, floods, earthquakes, when the typewriter was invented, and of course the important dates from my own family,

It really helps me 'flesh out' a rather boring ancestor when I realise that he/she lived through things like the invention of the box camera, blizzards in June, and Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in a few short years.

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#15 [url]

Feb 3 13 6:23 AM

ros, your timeline is super! I can see that you have out lots of time into it. I don't think I have an ancestral branch that has stayed in one location for such a long time.

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#17 [url]

Feb 6 13 7:23 AM

Thanks Lynn for the suggestion.  I just picked up a book from our library called History for Genealogists, Using Chronological Timelines to Find and Understand your ancestors, by Judy Jacobson.  First glance seems pretty through, lots of tips and includes for those of us in the US a state by state list of major events. I'll be incorporating this into my plan.


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#20 [url]

Feb 9 13 2:00 PM

Hi Ros,
i like your time line as well, particularly the idea of colour coding the family event events, it help to highlight them in the context in which they sit.  I also like the way that you put in their relationship to you.  I might do something similiar but put the relationship to the main character of my story (the ancestor I hae choosen to work on).

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