two of this series covers several of the new
genealogical programs and software. These products
offer timeline charting as part of the program's
capability. Some of the more popular examples used by
our local genealogists are listed below:
Family Tree Maker 2005
The timeline view in Family Tree
Maker 2005 places life-spans on a backdrop that marks
off decades. Users have the option of adding
historical timelines to the chart. Categories of
historical events that can be added include Arts,
Asia, Economics, Europe, Military, Politics, Religion,
Technology, United States, and the World. Any or all
of the categories can be placed in a timeline at the
bottom of the chart or interspersed through the body
of the chart.
Timelines in FTM
2005 are fairly basic. People are listed in
chronological order. Users have the option of
including any information they have entered on the
family page. All the individuals in a database can be
included, or users can select ancestors and/or
descendants of a person. People can also be chosen
individually to be included or excluded from the
timeline view. Users can alter the format, including
the interval of the tick marks (the default is one
tick mark for every two decades), the flow of the
years (left to right or right to left), and the
appearance of fonts and boxes.
access timeline view in
click on "View," then click on "Timeline" near the
bottom of the list. The buttons on the right side of
the timeline view control data and formatting options.
Once the timeline has the desired features, users can
save the view by clicking at the top on "File," then
"Save Timeline as." Saved timelines can be viewed
later by going to File>Open Saved View and then
clicking on the name of the desired timeline.
Generations Liberty Edition 8.5
Generations Family Tree Liberty Edition (with
8.5 and EasyChart
8.5) has a timeline chart feature. It does
not have the pre-set events that users can incorporate
as in FTM.
uses what it calls "perspective events." Users can add
these events, as well as change formatting for them on
the chart, save them as a set, and use them again in
individuals on the chart can be arranged in several
ways?sorted by birth date, death date, age, last name,
or descendants. The descendant option arranges the
individuals as they would appear on a traditional
descendant chart with subsequent generations being
indented. The use of color also assists in sorting out
can create a timeline by going to the family card
window of the desired couple. At the top of the
screen, click Charts>Timeline Chart. Several choices
are offered at this point, including whether to
include all individuals in the database, marked
individuals only, or descendants of the current
Timelines can be saved for future viewing. While in
section, choose File>Save and give the timeline a
name. This timeline can then be viewed again in
EasyChart using File>Open.
Family Origins 9.0
Family Origins 9.0 has two types of
timelines: a chart, similar to what has been discussed
previously, and a text-based list of events. Unlike
the other programs discussed so far,
does not have the ability to add historical events,
nor can a timeline report be saved for future use.
chart type of timeline can be found under
Reports>Timeline. Users can adjust the format of the
names, fonts, and colors used in the horizontal bars,
as well as choose whether to include the entire
database or selected people. If the user opts for
"selected people," upon clicking "create" a new menu
will appear. From here, users can select who to
include in the timeline. There are many options,
including individuals (even unrelated ones),
descendants and/or ancestors of an individuals, etc.
Individuals can also be excluded from a timeline.
descendant and ancestor options allow the user to set
the number of generations and to include spouses.
Choosing to include ancestors of an individual also
gives options on including just the direct line, the
direct line and their spouses, or all of the ancestors
and their collateral lines. Similar options exist for
a timeline created for descendants of an individual.
second type of timeline that
9.0 can generate is a text-based list. Rather than
displaying a person?s life against tick marks
representing decades, it gives a chronological list of
all the events entered for that person, either as an
individual or with a family. It can be generated from
Reports>Lists>Timeline List (Family) or
Reports>Lists>Timeline List (Personal).
The timeline features of Legacy 3.0
are similar to other programs, although it is in black
and white, rather than in color. You can save the
timeline report, but you can?t add historical events.
the timeline, go to Reports>Select a Report and then
click on Timeline. The timeline report menu gives the
option of including either the ancestors or
descendants of a particular person. It defaults on the
person highlighted on the family view, although users
may select a different individual with "Record
Selection" at the bottom of the timeline menu. Users
can define the number of generations to include. The
Report Options button gives additional options, such
as whether to include the data of living persons.
Living persons can also be listed as "living" rather
than by name.
The Master Genealogist v4.0d
The Master Genealogist 4.0d handles
timelines a bit differently than the other programs.
Rather than showing life spans as bars on a chart,
timelines emphasize the events in a person?s life and
4.0d comes with 41 different historical timelines.
There is also a function in
allows users to create a customized timeline. A common
custom timeline outlines dates of county creations
where the family lived. Wholly Genes, makers of
Genealogist, encourages users to share the
timelines they create and to submit them to the Wholly
Genes Web site. All of the latest timelines are
included with version 4.0d.
can select any number of timelines and apply them to
specific individual(s) in the database. If applied to
the entire database, the timeline will show only those
events near a person?s life. For example, if a person
was born in 1935, it would not show the beginning and
ending of the American Civil War (1861?65).
a timeline, either globally or to an individual,
select Tools>Timeline, then Globally Selected (to
apply to the entire database) or Locked to this Person
(to apply to the person currently in the person view).
To see the historical events appear in person view,
click on Tools>Timeline>Status or use the timeline
button on the left side of the screen. Having
timelines appear in the person view will slow down
printed timeline can show the historical events in
addition to the events entered for that person. To
print this report, click Report>Individual>
Detail>Individual Detail. To include the historical
timelines, go to the options 2 tab and select
Timelines: Globally Selected and/or Locked to Each ID.
Users have the option of generating this report for a
group of people using the focus tab.
Genelines is a utility software
program designed specifically to create timelines. It
can read GEDCOM files as well as files directly from
Family Tree Maker
(through version 8.0) and
File (versions 3.0 through 5.0). It has
three sets of historical events included with the
program, with more available at the Progeny Software
Web site. Progeny also has a free add-on program for
that allows for easier creation of new history files,
which Progeny encourages users to submit for sharing
on its Web site.
has two types of charts: biographical and
relationship. The biographical charts ?individual life
bar and comparative life bar ? use events from the
person?s life. Default categories of life events
include health, occupation, relationship, religious,
and residential. Users can add other categories. The
individual life bar shows the events for one person,
while the comparative life chart simultaneously shows
the life bars for two people (who need not be
related). Neither type of biographical chart will show
relationships charts ? pedigree, family group, and
direct descendant ? take the traditional charts that
family historians are accustomed to and show them in a
timeline format. These types of charts allow the
insertion of historical events.
is very flexible in allowing users to change formats
and colors. Individuals can be moved around on the
chart, if desired. This should be done judiciously
however, as it could confuse relationships.
Although genealogists have
wholeheartedly embraced software for the creation of
ancestor charts and family group sheets, the other
types of reports available, including timelines,
should be explored. Timelines can give a whole new
look to data, making it possible for researchers to
develop new strategies for researching their
Bryan L. Mulcahy
Fort Myers-Lee County Library
2050 Central Avenue
Fort Myers, FL 33901-3917
Tel: (239) 479-4651
Fax: (239) 479-4634