Genealogy Friday: Creating a Timeline for your Ancestor

I love to create a timeline for my ancestors.  This way I am able to map out their life events and locations.  This helps me to understand and visualize these events.

I also incorporate specific events in the lives of their siblings and children that would have affected their lives.  This includes birth, marriage and death dates.

Create a timeline of the events in your ancestors life
Create a timeline of the events in your ancestors life

Using a timeline we can trace the steps of an ancestor.  In this way we can see how our ancestor got from one point to another.  For example, my ancestor Adam McKee was born in Ireland, moved to the United States as a child, settled in Williamsburg, SC and later moved to Abbeville, SC.  He also served in the Revolutionary War and had 10 children.

Looking at his life, I can see the dates and places each of these took place.  I have a better understanding and visualization of his life.

So how do you create a timeline?

So programs to use include:

  • Excel—this is my personal favorite and what I use.
  • Word—this is not visually as appealing but you can make it work
  • Powerpoint—you can create a slideshow timeline with photos, but it is more difficult to visualize everything in one play.
  • Easy Timeline Creator—this software cost around $30. I suggest trying Excel when you are first starting before purchasing software.
  • Genelines—this software reads many Gedcoms, but again I recommend using a free program before purchasing software. This software cost between $19-35. Make sure that whatever you invest in will do what you desire and is worth the investment.  If you are going to spend money, this is the program I recommend.  I have not used this software in several years but really liked it when I did.

Below is a quick video to demonstrate how to create a timeline.


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