Posted by Pam Velazquez on April 10, 2014 in Website

Timelines are great tools for deciphering all of your family history discoveries. They can help place your ancestor at a given time and help you understand your ancestor’s life and what records, events, etc. you might be missing. Use timelines to analyze the different records you have found and understand where you should be setting your sights in the future. Take a look at expert Juliana Szucs Smith’s presentation on creating family history timelines:


  1. joan4164

    I like’s timeline. However, it would be nice that the children’s birth information would automatically show up on their parents’ page under Residence. I find it useful in tracking families. (Maybe have an option to have the kid’s marriage show up under their parents’ Residence in the timeline also???) Thanks for your informative articles.

  2. Fredrik Coulter

    I concur with children’s births (and deaths) automatically appearing in the parent’s time line. It would be useful if the information could cascade up the tree through multiple generations, limited only by the life span of the person up the tree.

    This would be similar to marriage records. When you enter a marriage fact, it shows up on both parties. However, if you attach a citation, you have to do it separately for both parties. The default behaviour should be that a citation should follow the fact.

  3. Larry Smith

    I’ve got some people from Czechoslovakia. However, in different censuses and records, this country is referred to as “the Czech Republic” and “Bohemia” and even “Yugoslavia.” Even Family Tree Maker seems to be confused. I realize that this country changed hands and names in its violent history, but which name do I use?

  4. Brooke Eastburn

    I agree with Fredrik Coulter. I wish the citation would stay with the fact. As for Larry Smith and the geographical names of places – I have ancestors that were born in Indian Territory. I use the current place name such as Oklahoma, USA but in the description field I put Indian Territory and/or the particular tribal nation. Otherwise the map feature won’t track the location properly.

  5. Linda Clubb

    Frequently when I merge information the data I have gets changed. There should be a button to lock in the information that you wish to retain so that merging does not alter it.
    I truly love using It is a very useful tool. Having the fact follow down the family would be very helpful. currently you have to do each family member individually which can be very tedious.
    Thanks, Linda

  6. Sandy Q

    I’ve recently begun adding historically significant events (primarily wars, epidemics, hurricanes and other disasters, etc) into timelines. This really helps tell the story. For example, I know when a major streetcar line was built down the street where many of my ancestors lived. That was a significant event for them, and shortly thereafter many of my great-aunties went to work in the city – because now they could easily get there.

  7. jdove222

    I agree with the author on the value of timelines. An ancestor’s name has never been enough for me. I want to learn about my ancestors and creating a chronological view of your ancestor’s life is the best way to start. Adding family events and historical events to your timeline allows you to see how those events shaped their lives. FTM 2014 can create timelines for you and you can export the timeline in several different formats including pdf, bmp, jpg, etc. FTM 2014 allows you to manage historical events and you can also add historical events that you believe were important in your ancestors life.

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