06 April 2017

Jamboree 2017 Thursday Workshop - Sign of the Times: Timelines in Genealogy

Guest post by Diane L. Richard

Hit a brick wall? Wondering why your ancestors did what they did? Kind of know that you probably should be creating timelines as you pursue your ancestors? Not sure how to get started? Or, you get started and find yourself going in circles? Wonder if you need special software or have to use some online service? Maybe just need someone to help guide you enough and then you’ll be off and running? Are facing a lineage application deadline and feel disorganized? Have so much data and feel overwhelmed? Know that you’ll have to put your project down at some point and resume at a later date?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, or have any questions about creating practical, useful, engaging, visually interesting, easily shareable, living timelines, then, the Sign of the Times: Timelines in Genealogy Workshop is for you.

Learn about timelines and how they might just help you solve your puzzles! Visual representations of data can make gaps, conflicts and paths to future discoveries easy to spot. If you use color-coding or other distinguishing methods to highlight locale or surname overlaps, connections sometimes just jump out at you. These are NOT the timelines you learned to make in school!

Image Courtesy of Diane L. Richard
Timelines are very visual. Creating a multi-columned matrix can help you synthesize lots of data, identify missing gaps in knowledge, suggest seemingly contradictory information, illuminate previously invisible relationships, and so much more. Color-coding or other distinguishing methods can also highlight and correlate locale or surname overlaps, related records, etc.

As you summarize your data, it’s not unusual to have questions jump out at you – insert as a comment? Find a “gap” in your knowledge -- add it to your “to do” list. Have put your project aside for a while, just review your timeline for all the key details as you resume your research? Need to share a “summary” of what you know about some ancestors and/or a gnarly research problem? They are “living” summaries of your knowledge. As you acquire new data, add it in! Share your easily portable timeline with family, friends, or colleagues.

Once you learn about timelines and their value, roll up your sleeves and flex your fingers, as we dive into some real-time timeline creating! Plan to plunge in on your own or work with a buddy or two. The key is to realize that timelines can be very easy to make and modify. It only takes a few minutes to establish a timeline framework and then you can be off-and-running entering data. And, it’s much more enjoyable and productive to have “fun” creating timelines in a group setting where you can ask questions along the way!

I love creating timelines. They help me really get a sense of what I do know about a family, and, often more importantly what I don’t know. They save me from having to keep referring to paper or digital files or online trees and more, over and over again (just pull out your timeline). They focus my attention so I more cogently recognize gaps in knowledge, conflicting information, information that correlates, etc. They increase my ability to think creatively in terms of what records I might research next, what questions should be answered, and more. I better appreciate whether I have sufficient data to prove a lineage and/or document each so-called fact. I think you get the picture!

I create a timeline for every new genealogy research project I start.

NO special software needed – can use word-processing or spreadsheet program to create or even paper & pen!

Thursday, June 8, 2017, 2:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.   

TH-F Sign of the Times: Timelines in Genealogy presented by Diane L. Richard

This special workshop is part of a series of workshops that are open to registered attendees of the Genetic Genealogy Conference or at least one day at Jamboree 2017. Additional registration is required.

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