Make Time Line Charts to
Bring Your Family History To Life
Make Time Lines on your computer with software like Genelines and Timeline Maker Basic by Progeny
Timeline software is a lot of fun to use and it is a great way to look at your family history in a whole
First, let me say, that I've been a huge fan of this topic for awhile.
I used an older version of Genelines Software back in 2002. I used it to make time line charts for quite a
few members of my family. It was super easy to make time lines with Genelines Software.
I created a timeline of their lives and printed a copy and presented it to them as gifts.
Special Note: Progeny Timeline software is an add-on product to some of the popular genealogy
software programs. Some of those programs are Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, PAF, and
Ancesteral Quest. The starting point for any Progeny time line chart is the GEDCOM file from any
of these genealogy programs.
Why Make Time Line Charts?
Creating a timeline chart of your own life helps you get a look at the "big picture". Your whole life is
right there on the time line. You see how your life has unfolded and where you've spent most of your life.
Genelines software has a comparison feature that I found fascinating!
I built a time line example of my life, and one for my dad. Genelines let you create timelines side by side.
Actually one on top of the other, making comparisons easy.
I can see what he was doing at age twenty five and compare that to me at age 25.
How old was he when his oldest child was born and how old was he when his youngest was born?
It was easy to know using timeline software.This is what I found out.
Age-wise, compared to my dad, he had two children before my wife and I had our first. But he was 28 when
his youngest was born.
I, on the other-hand was 39 years old when my youngest child was born. This would
seem obvious, but I had not really even thought about this until I was looking at it four years ago on a
Here you see a time line example. The one you see here is one that I created for my brother Jeff back in
In this time line example, I built it all around 5 major categories. Those categories are:
Make Time Line Categories
On Jeff's chart I included certain events that I thought he'd find interesting. These are historical
happenings that have transpired since Jeff was born.
These events include presidents in office, wars, famous people alive and the creation of the
floppy disk etc. These historical facts and events are preloaded into the software.
Create timelines and learn a lot. When I created a timeline for my granmother, I realized that
Thomas Edison was still alive during her first eight years of life! It's just kind of cool to see things
like that. I don't know... I guess that I assumed that Thomas Edison had died many years before.
Make timelines interesting by including occupation information. Use a start and end date to chart out the
time periods that you worked for each employers.
My timeline showed me that I had worked for my current employer exactly half my life. I wasn't all that
excited to be reminded of that fact! :(
In the time line example, above, I included a relationship category.
I used this section to include grandparents and other family members that have passed on. The timeline shows
how long they were around and at what point, in the subjects life, they passed on.
The relationship section is also where spouse and child information are listed.
I used religion in the fourth section. These categories can be changed and manipulated. If you have an
idea for a different topic, by all means, use it.
As you can see, Jeff used to be in the military and so he moved a lot. I used this information to put the
final category of his time line chart together.
Some Additional Time Line Comparison Charts
Here is an example time line chart given on the Progeny website. The first one is
of the life of John Adams, the second president of The United States. The second
chart is a comparison between his life and the life of his son John Quincy Adams,
who also became president.
I believe time line charts are amazing tools. They help us see a whole lifetime from start to present day.
A lot can be learned about oneself and a dear family member.
Timeline charts make great gifts and you won't regret the time that you put into them. I had a lot of fun
working on those timelines that I created.
Remember, you'll need some genealogy software to use this Progeny Timeline program.
Create a Timeline Online
Oh, I almost forgot. If you'd rather create a timeline online, then be sure to visit
Ourstory.com. Ourstory is completely different
than the Progeny program, but it might just be the kind of "different" that you like.
Ourstory has both a free and a paid version.