Timelines Come Alive With Twile

Timelines are very useful research tools for the genealogist. Not only do they show your ancestor’s place in history, they also show the gaps in your research. There are all kinds of timeline options ranging from printed sheets to Excel templates. While these are very useful, they can also be rather clunky. When you find sources to fill in a gap in your timeline, the editing necessary to add that information can be quite an effort.

Today we have a timeline management option that’s not only easy to manage, it’s also quite beautiful. And, while it will help your research, it will fascinate your family too. This wonderful tool is an online platform called Twile.

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A sample of a person’s timeline in Twile.

Twile’s timeline consists of a series of milestones. In the example above, you see “cards” for each milestone in this ancestor’s life. Each milestone includes the date and place for this event, but you can add much more. Here you see lots of photos. Click on any milestone and you’ll find room for even more information.

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Sample milestone panel

Each milestone panel gives you the opportunity to add more information about that milestone. Some of that is automaticlly included. For example, if there is location information related to a milestone, Twile will include a map showing you that location. You can add photos – with captions – along with your own notes, documents and even video.

Now this might look more scrapbookish than timeline, that’s what makes Twile so interesting. It’s both! Once you register your account with Twile, you control your timeline. Only you and your family have access to it. One other thing . . . Twile is free!

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When viewing your Twile timeline, you chose your focus. You can view a single person’s timeline or expand it to close family or even the entire family. Here is a broad view. In this example you see mostly death and burial milestones in this full family view. There are two photo panels added – one describing a summer vacation in the early 1960s and another is a newspaper clipping related to the Cuban missile crisis.

For research purposes, use either an individual’s timeline or a close family timeline to determine what’s missing.

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Notice the Family Tree tab at the top of the Twile screen. After registering your account, use the family tree tab to upload a GEDCOM and build the basics of your timeline. Twile will capture all the milestones in your GEDCOM – like the wedding milestones shown in the example above. Looking at this, I can see that I need to research when and why the family moved from Georgia to Tennessee in the 1920s. Other obvious missing links include what happened between her marriage to one man in 1943 and another in 1950. How did she get from Tennessee to Mexico in the middle of a war? Early school records are missing too. There’s still a lot of research ahead.

Twile is functional, beautiful and free. You can also use it as a private family social network to share your research with others. As you add photos, documents and stories to your timeline, you are also building an eye-catching history of your family. Who can resist this fascinating look into their family’s history.

Introducing Twile from Twile on Vimeo.

Want to learn more? Visit Twile today. You’ll find a series of video tutorials at Vimeo.

Introducing Twile

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 World War II In this timeline,…

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Introducing Twile

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.

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A marriage shown in context with World War II

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.

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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.

Republished with permission from Moultrie Creek Gazette

Get Creative With Twile

Think of Twile’s panels as scrapbook pages just waiting for pics & ephemera …

Twile is an amazing platform. Not only does it show your family’s place in history, it’s also an impressive scrapbook. In this example, you are looking at the milestone panel for Bill and Adrienne’s wedding. Each milestone on the timeline opens up to a panel such as this one where you can add photos, documents and even your own notes. It’s the photo and document elements that can be exploited to…

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Get Creative With Twile

Twile is an amazing platform. Not only does it show your family’s place in history, it’s also an impressive scrapbook. In this example, you are looking at the milestone panel for Bill and Adrienne’s wedding. Each milestone on the timeline opens up to a panel such as this one where you can add photos, documents and even your own notes. It’s the photo and document elements that can be exploited to “kick it up a notch”.

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A wedding event in the family timeline

Since this was a wartime wedding, it probably wasn’t a big wedding. If there were any pictures, who knows where they are now. Fortunately, there were newspaper announcements of both the engagement and the wedding. The photo of the bride seen above is also from a newspaper clipping only it was from another wedding where she was one of the bridesmaids.

You’ll notice the “Add something” box in the upper right corner of the milestone panel has buttons to add words (your own text), photos and documents. The “documents” only accepts image files – no PDF or wordprocessing files. The document image is cropped on the milestone panel but a visitor can click on it to view the entire image.  In this instance I cropped each announcement and saved them as images. When added to the panel, the entire announcement appears on the panel and is actually quite readable. Unfortunately the only photo I have of the bride is from a newspaper clipping so it’s a bit grainy.

Since I cropped the newspaper clippings, I added a note to include the newspaper and dates for each clipping.

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Twile Timeline showing the wedding milestone.

Take advantage of the photos and words elements to add all kinds of ephemera to your family’s timeline. Postcards, notes, letters and other ephemera are the elements that will grab your family’s attention. Somewhere I have the Forecastle Card and a postcard of the USNS Tallulah – the ship that delivered all that water to Guantanamo many years ago. It would be a great addition to the Last Cruise story. LastCruise.png

One of the really nice things about Twile is that your timeline is a never-ending project. You can always come back to an event to add information, photos and ephemera as you find them. Don’t be afraid to get creative either. Most everyone loves a scrapbook and Twile gives you a beautiful platform to build something that will capture and hold your family’s attention. Who knows, you may just inspire some future genealogists!