|Photo by Nat Tarbox|
Timelines can be helpful in many different ways, but when it comes to Family History and genealogical research it can be critical.
Often when analyzing a family's migration one wonders why a family moved from point a to point b, especially if the place of settlement was another country.
Some of the interest around the 1940 US Census release has occured from descendants of individuals who left various locations in Europe and settled in the US because of the social unrest occuring at that time.
Historical events can and usually have a ripple affect on individuals moving and settling in another location. Additionally, loss of jobs, the ability to support a family and/or opportunities in new locations can also be additional clues as to why families relocated to new countries and/or new locations far away from their current and familiar surroundings.
One needs to consider what was happening in the time period of the ancestral research in their current location as well as in their surrounding communities and the whole world. All of these types of events affected the lives of those living at that time. This also includes epidemics as well as unusual natural events like floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, etc.
There are programs that allow one to add in those situations that were occuring at different points in history. No one person can recall everything and it is important not to forget anything that could affect a families' move. Timelines also come in all shapes and sizes, but the information they provide can aid one in breaking through a brick wall problem.
Most locations have a historical timeline of events in their area which can be accessed through a browser search online or that localities archive or library. Software programs that provide the larger scale of historical events have been created just for the genealogist in mind.
Remembering that a timeline is a chronological list of events for a location, a family or even an indvidual. Most genealogical software programs allow for a timeline of an individual from the information already entered on that ancestor. Progeny has a program called Genelines that allows you to add in the historical world events surrounding your families.
In addition, there are other timelines that will need to be consulted going down to the actual area your families are located. These can usually be located in local libraries, online or in published volumes in relation to the history of that area. OurTimeLines has a website to assist in creating custom timelines. Timelines can also be done with an Excel spreadsheet, there are many ways to create a useful timeline.
There are a couple of online tutorials available in the education section of FamilySearch.org. The first on is entitled "Timelines and Lifelines" and the second one is a Mentoring Class from ICAPGen called "History, Geography and Timelines".
In closing there is an exellent article in the FamilySearch blogs entitled "Its About Timelines" which shows how these are often used to solve many genealogical problems.
Comments and Suggestions are always welcomed!
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