There are two different kinds of timelines that will help you solve brick walls. The first is a timeline of the location where you are are researching.
Take a look at William Morris:
I was lucky enough to find burial records for William at Magnolia Cemetery. His grave is unmarked but the original burial records survive. He died of yellow fever. I immediately went to the Augusta Chronicle to see if this was a fluke or was there a yellow fever epidemic going on. There happened to be a yellow fever epidemic in Augusta during that time. If I didn’t have the burial records could I have figured this out? Maybe. I knew that William died between 1837 and 1840 (mentioned in a newspaper article in 1837 and he does not appear in the 1840 census). If I started nosing around in the paper I would have seen the yellow fever epidemic. He was only 40 so this is a plausible explanation for his disappearance. This would have led me to the coroner’s records in Richmond County. The coroner would have listed the deaths from yellow fever. He might have not snagged all of them but it would have been well worth checking. I would also now be looking for any unknown children that might have also died in the epidemic. His widow and known children moved from Augusta to neighboring Columbia County which is something I would have expected. At the very least, when I write up William’s biography I can now include some details of the epidemic from the Augusta Chronicle which adds some depth and interest to William’s story.
Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis