Timelines for Genealogy

This year’s Quad Cities Genealogical Conference will be on Saturday, April 27th from 8am-4pm at the Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center in Moline. One of the topics that will be covered by speaker Beth Foulk of Genealogy Decoded is “Solving Genealogy Problems with Timelines”.

Timelines help you get a better understanding of what life was like for your ancestors. You can see all of the important events in their life in order. If you add major world history events to your ancestors’ timelines, you get a sense of historical context. 

Timelines also help organize your research. When you lay out your ancestor’s life using a timeline, you can easily identify where you have gaps in your records and if you have conflicting information from different sources.

To prepare for the conference, we looked up the many newer Apps and websites that take your family tree data and display it as a Timeline. 

We chose Twile because it is free, easy to use, and you can collaborate with other family members or researchers. You can import your tree data from FamilySearch, a gedcom file, or start from scratch. 

You start by adding your information, then it takes you step-by-step. You can upload photos from your computer or import photo albums from Facebook. In this example, we uploaded images from vital records, census records, and family photographs.


Not only does it display your data in a timeline form it also displays a traditional Ancestor Chart. This is where you add more relatives and invite living family members to view and collaborate on your timeline.

Each person in your tree gets a profile where you add “milestones” in your ancestor’s life. In this example, I added my grandparents’ marriage with an image of their marriage license. 

 When you specify the place an event took place, Twile adds information from Google Maps. There is also a place to add other relatives who were present at that event.

Use “Streams” to add historical events to your ancestors’ timeline. See who was president when your ancestors were born, or what important invention was made during their lifetime!


You can also view your family tree data in an infographic:


Have you been using timelines for your research? Which programs have you tried? Or do you prefer writing it everything out on paper? Let us know in the comments!

(posted by Cristina)



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