Friday, August 23, 2013

People timelines

We talked about timelines of places but you also need to look at the timelines of people.

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Excluding bigamy, the above statements are pretty much true.   You want to include every single document/event your ancestor appears on, census, tax records, land records, military records, vitals documents, everything.  All of the top genealogy database programs have built in timelines that are generated automatically as you add data.  Some people prefer to hand type the information into a spreadsheet because they feel they have more control.

Here is my timeline for Silas Simmons  This report was generated by Legacy Family Tree. 

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silas2

silas3

silas4

When you have two (or more) people with the same name in the same county at the same time timelines are invaluable.  I gave an example of Mathew Patton earlier in the brick wall presentation.  Mathew Patton was of Augusta County, Virginia. The problem was that there were three Mathew Pattons there at the same time.  I used an Excel spreadsheet to record every occurrence of all Mathew Pattons.  I was lucky in that I had a marriage record for my Mathew Patton as well as exit dates from Augusta County for my Mathew and one of the other Mathews.  My Mathew migrated to Alabama and one of the other ones migrated to Kentucky.  I had pretty close dates for the migrations via a couple of newspaper articles.  These extra dates helped me start dividing the three Mathews up.  I also noted the associations each Mathew had with other people (also on the timeline) which helped even more.  One of the Mathews was associated with people that the other two were not.  Timelines are another powerful weapon in your arsenal.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis

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