I love timelines. They enable us to tell us what information we hold about an individual, whether that is our own ancestor or someone from our studies. A timeline also enables us to see what we DO NOT know and that is sometimes more useful!
I wrote about an individual Genealogical Timeline HERE where the focus was on my fifth times great Grandfather, Daniel Butcher (1720-1787).
As I process individuals I document every piece of information, occupation, address, age (because as we all know our ancestors were not always consistent in the declaration of their age!). I also record on the side of timeline sheet, if there was any lodgers, visitors and random others with the family. Sometimes they are exactly what they report they are, lodgers and other times they are, or go on to be additions to a family. Other information is also noted, such as if they are recorded in other documents or they witnessed a marriage. All the individual facets of people’s lives noted on a two page spread in a notebook is very basic and yet can be totally revealing and or thought provoking.
Top Tip – why not do your own timeline and see just how much information there is; or perhaps do that of a parent and see what you know and what you don’t know.
In my view a timeline is a useful tool to include in genealogical research and it is analysis of that timeline that might go on to be the baseline information for another piece of genealogical work.