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Beginning Lesson #23
Time Lines

The challenge, should you decide to accept it, is to place your ancestor in the context of history by creating an actual time line with markers as follows:

Those items ABOVE the line indicate significant events in the LIFE of your ancestor
Those items BELOW the line indicate significant events in the LOCALITY of your ancestor

Here's a fictitious example:

John Henry Taylor

If we considered only the actual events we know of in his life (above the time line indicator) we would mistakenly believe that John moved from Henderson to Wilson County somewhere between 1887 and 1889. In fact, he never moved, but due to expanding growth in the immediate area, his county was split into two jurisdictions. We would need to check both counties for records on this ancestor.

If we are not aware of the specific history of an area, we would have completely missed the possibility that John had served in the American Revolutionary War. While Revolutionary War Service files are pretty cut and dry, the pension request files and bounty land records are a goldmine for genealogists. The DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) continue to support and collect valuable lineage information, including obscure bible extracts. If any ancestor was on the American continent and alive at the time of the Revolution, don't disregard this resource. The ancestor may have been too old to fight, but may have rendered patriotic service by providing food, clothing, wagons, horses, etc. to the cause. See also: P. William Filby's Bibliography of American County Histories.

A well-designed time line reflects the types of federal and colonial/state records created during the time period. To accurately list these, one must study the US and individual state research outlines I refer to often as being available at your local LDS Family History Center. When I need to help a patron in an area I have not had much experience researching, I consult these guides to get my bearings. Be sure to see:
Family Search.org's Blank Time Line.

Genealogy software programs are now including a time line capability to create personal historical times lines comparing:

  • one ancestor in your database to another person(s) in your database

  • your ancestor to a database of historical events Genelines Timeline Charting Software - Genealogy Software from Progeny

For a good article on this subject see:  Amy Johnson, Crowe, CG Using Timelines to Re-evaluate Data from Genealogical Computing

Specialized software includes: Timeline Maker by Progeny. By checking today, I found links to 57 locality-based timelines that can be added to enhance the program.

Acadian Timeline 
Cajun Timeline 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints History 1805-1880 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints History 1881-1970 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints History 1971-2000 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Presidents (only) 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temples (only) 
General World Events 
Georgia History 
Jewish History 
US History
World News

US State History - Alabama 
US State History - Arkansas 
US State History - California 
US State History - Colorado 
US State History - Connecticut 
US State History - Delaware 
US State History - Florida 
US State History - Georgia 
US State History - Idaho 
US State History - Illinois 
US State History - Indiana 
US State History - Iowa 
US State History - Kansas 
US State History - Kentucky 
US State History - Louisiana 
US State History - Maine 
US State History - Maryland 
US State History - Massachusetts 
US State History - Michigan 
US State History - Minnesota 
US State History - Mississippi 
US State History - Missouri 
US State History - Montana 
US State History - Nebraska 
US State History - Nevada 
US State History - North Dakota 
US State History - New Hampshire 
US State History - New Jersey 
US State History - New York 
US State History - North Carolina 
US State History - Ohio 
US State History - Oregon 
US State History - Pennsylvania 
US State History - Rhode Island 
US State History - South Carolina 
US State History - South Dakota 
US State History - Tennessee 
US State History - Texas 
US State History - Vermont 
US State History - Virginia 
US State History - Washington 
US State History - West Virginia 
US State History - Wisconsin 
US State History - Wyoming 

For Further Reading:

PS - City Directories? I can just hear you now trying to tell me that there were no telephones at the turn of the 19th century. True, but early city directories listed individuals, addresses and their usual occupation. Aha! Another clue.  -- Just trying to keep you thinking!

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy

1995-2005 Pat Richley HOME | Ask | Blog | BookShelf | ContactLessons | Listen | Add to My Yahoo | PodCast media RSS feed | Read | Search | RSS feed
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