T is for Timeline

Camping at Lake Shore Park, Lake Winnipesaukee, NH.

Postcard from Adair Mulligan’s book, The Gunstock Parish: A History of Gilford, NH.

Plotting your ancestors on a timeline can be a helpful exercise for several reasons.

  • If you don’t know much about them, seeing them in their historical context gives you a general idea of what life might have been like for them.
  • It’s helpful putting what information you do have about a family on a timeline to discover any possible anomalies or discrepancies. Did the mother give birth to a child when she was 5 years old? Probably not the correct mother…
  • Knowing what was happening in their region of the world can help explain what happened to the family. Can’t find them in the 1920 Census of Louisiana? This was a time of great migration (actually referred to as America’s Great Migration) for black families residing in the South. Established migration routes show a steady flow of families from Louisiana to Chicago. It’s a clue!

Related links:


Family Vignette: Tent Story

Our most famous camping story was the time we went to New Hampshire with a tent and it rained for days. Our parents decided to pack up and drive a while to find a sunnier location. All was ready when Mom noticed we’d forgotten a bottle of dish soap on the picnic table. She jumped out of the car, threw the bottle on top of the trailer containing the tent and all the equipment and we drove off. We found some sun, set up camp and enjoyed the day of swimming and exploring, but that night, the rains found us again. Unbeknownst to us, that bottle of soap had leaked all over the tent, then dried out. In the rain that night, the waterproofing on the tent was washed out by the soap and we found ourselves drenched in our sleeping bags and surrounded by soap suds as the rain poured right through the canvas. We packed up again, this time in the middle of the night, and went home.

This post is part of the A-Z Challenge 2014

© Gail Park and Making Life An Art, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Gail Park and Making Life An Art with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


About Gail

Genealogist, librarian, writer, traveler, Mormon
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge, Books, Creative Writing, Family, Favorites, Genealogy & Family History, Good Old Days, Life Lessons, Synchronicity, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to T is for Timeline

  1. Sammy D. says:

    LOL that was a tent story worth waiting for! I’m sending that to my tent camping sister.

    Timeline is such a great suggestion, and -as you say – knowing historical context of their current events. I have had to plot timelines and character trees while reading fuction about time travel or geberational tales.

  2. wordstock16 says:

    We are still tent camping and have had our share of leaks. We learned early on not to touch the roof of the tent when it’s raining. I bet you’re still laughing about the soap. What a horror that must have been.

  3. I’m sorry, but the tent story is making me laugh. That’s a memorable story for sure.

    ~Patricia Lynne~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, YA Author

  4. Arlee Bird says:

    Actually making a timeline for my own life would be a big help. I’ve had to make several period time lines to help me recall something for my memoir writing. I should go ahead and make a definitive version from birth until present so I can refer to it when I need to.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  5. Miss Andi says:

    These are the stories that are funny to tell but probably not so funny to live through! :)) Thanks for sharing!

    • gapark says:

      Exactly! Now if we can only use that to get through the difficult times, by thinking, “This will be a really funny story 10 years from now!”

  6. melinda says:

    Loved the tent story–we have one like it ourselves, sans the dish soap. The timeline is great advice–I’ve made one for my fictional characters, but not one for my family! I should do that!

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