Search your ancestry and create a timeline of events

As you continue to search your ancestry and build your family tree it is useful to create a timeline of events.

This means simply placing all the information you have about your relatives in chronological order so that you can see the sequence of events as they happened.

Create a timeline for each one of your relatives that appear in your family tree. Include key life events including date and place of birth, marriage details, date and place of the births of their children and finally the details surrounding their deaths. All this information helps to build a picture of the individual’s life.

The completed timeline of your family history will help it come to life. The visual is also a good way to highlight which information you want to search for next, and acts as a guide for the next step of your research.

A timeline of events will help you know where and when to search your ancestry

Another useful element of creating the timeline is that it could identify any inconsistencies. The information you have about your ancestors may not add up once placed in chronological order.

For example, you may have information stating one of your ancestors was born on a certain date. Place all the information you have into a family history timeline. You may discover that that person’s mother had died several years before the date of their birth.

Of course, this means that something in your records is not correct.

This could be the date of the mother’s death or the date of the child’s birth. It could also be something more intriguing such as the child was not actually a blood relative. Perhaps they were an adopted member of the family.

In cases such as this, you must decide which course you wish to investigate further.

It demonstrates the importance of having a clear family timeline of events. Also, the importance of fact-checking the information you believed to be true by confirming it with official records.

Remember to keep records of which facts you have confirmed to be true, Make a note of the source you used. You may find the sources useful for another family member later down the line.

It is a good idea to use a colour coding system on your family history timeline. Use different colours used to represent the validity of various dates and records.

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Key points to take away

  • The timeline of events will bring your family tree to life and make any inconsistencies easy to spot
  • Keep a note of all your source materials, they will likely come in handy in the future too
  • Include key life events for individuals to help understand their personalities and bring their characters to life.