Wondering how your ancestors’ lives fit into history? Want to see a quick overview of Great-grandma’s life—and check that the dates and places make sense?
Make a timeline.
A sample timeline, via
Instead of a ho-hum handwritten or typed list, you can now use online timeline generators to create a snazzier snapshot of family milestones.
Below are two of our favorite timeline websites. Both allow you to enter in events and share the resulting timeline in some way; we’ve also highlighted unique features genealogists could put to use. Take some time to explore these tools, and start linking together your ancestors’ stories. We’ve listed our favorite features to help you get a feel and pick which website is right for your family tree.
Cost: free; option to upgrade to a “plus” version for a monthly fee
Content: Add information, web links and images. Later, you’ll be able to import events from other
Key features: Select icons for events, visually categorizing them. Assign a level of importance to zoom in or out without clutter.
Access: A unique URL allows friends to view (but not edit) your timeline while keeping it hidden from others.
Click here to visit the Timeglider website
Content: Type in family information, then choose the appropriate category for each event.
Key features: The site automatically fills in significant historical events on your timeline.
Access: Our Timelines doesn’t archive your timeline, but you can print it out or copy the source code to post on your website.
Click here to visit Our Timelines
A version of this article appeared in the January 2010 Family Tree Magazine