My genealogy dabbling began a few years ago and has lead me to a fascination with the back stories of my ancestors’ lives. As time allows I search for records and newspaper stories that give detailed accounts of individual experiences of their time and places.
I am writing a piece of fiction based on the story of my convict ancestor (Mary Ann Hughes) through the eyes of her grand-daughter (another Mary Ann) whose husband became the Mayor of Balmain. This morning, I grabbed some markers and a large sheet of paper and began to play with a series of time lines on the same page. It was a useful exercise up to a point but I was after more flexibility.
So the large piece of paper has now become long strips of paper (6-10 cm wide). The top strip is time itself. The visual below uses decades though the scale could be larger or smaller as appropriate to your needs. Other strips (eg individual life lines, local history events) need to be scaled to match the top template and the level of content required eg births, marriages, immigration, residences.
They will be reasonably easy to store (the paper rolls up nicely) and will enable me to mix and match the relationship timelines for different angles on the story eg siblings together, comparing the story of various grandparents etc.
I’ve mocked up a static visual to give you an idea of how it might look on a large table and/or wall. The possibilities are, as always, only limited by imagination. Story timelines based on genealogy are just one application. You could have fun with future gazing or comparing the emergence of historical discoveries or inventions.