A timeline is a very useful research tool. It helps us see our ancestors’ place in history. There are a number of timeline templates to help us build a timeline, but they all pale when compared to Twile. This amazing platform will transform a GEDCOM of your family tree into a gorgeous presentation of each person’s place in history.

A marriage shown in context with WWII.

In this timeline, you see a wedding that took place in the middle of World War II. Each family event is called a milestone and the basic information about that event is used by Twile to automatically create them. You can add photos, documents and comments to each milestone to provide more details. The basics appear in the timeline, but click on any milestone to view its details.

The opened milestone

Here you see the detail view of the wedding milestone. In the upper right are links to add photos, words or documents. In this example, there are more elements that can be viewed by scrolling down the milestone panel. With a bit of effort, each milestone can become a scrapbook page full of interesting goodies.

In addition to milestones and historical overlays, there are also stories. Stories are instantly created when you add one or more photos to your timeline. Once you’ve added the photos you can open the photo panel to add descriptive text. This opens all kinds of avenues for creativity.

Twile is free. Even better, you control the privacy of your timeline. You can invite family to view your timeline and assign permissions if you want to give them editing rights. My family enjoys the family stories I post in my Moultrie Journal blog, but I’ll bet they will really enjoy Twile’s beautiful timelines.

I’m still in the experimenting stage – looking for ways to take advantage of the milestone and story panels. I already see how this effort will help me find new research avenues, but I also hope it will generate interest in our ancestry with the rest of the family.

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