When to do a Timeline (…and how to Make it Effective)


  1. Jill
    Jill December 19, 2013 at 7:44 am .

    I use an Excel spreadheet for one family line for the 1800s. People are in columns on the left, each generation indented. Moving to the right, I have columns with headings: 1800 census; 1800s; 1810 census; 1820s, etc. In the cell for each person I enter location (in the case of census) or event/other reference in the decade column. It has really helped me spot inconcistencies (turned out to be errors, of one sort or another, I had made, like tracking the wrong person of the same name) and also helped me develop hypotheses about how to solve gaps in information–for example, I was missing my 4th great-grandfather in the 1800 census and began to suspect he hadn’t moved to his new location until after 1800. Then, months later, as I found additional records and filled in the spreadsheet, I realized I had info showing he did in fact lived there in 1800. Back to the 1800 census for a page-by-page search, and there he was. He had been mis-indexed with a very poor trancription spelling in the index.

  2. Pamela Treme
    Pamela Treme December 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm .

    I add the person’s age between the year and event. Sometimes you can spot an error based on age. For example, a woman in her 50’s most likely isn’t having children. Without the age being stated, I might or might not spot the error and investigate.

  3. Jade
    Jade December 22, 2013 at 10:28 am .

    Thanks Leslie, for the ease-in introduction to timeline use. A practical case-study presentation was posted in November on the Reclaiming Kin blog, here: http://msualumni.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/analyzing-and-correlating-records/, that some readers might also find helpful.

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