There’s a simple way you can make your ancestor’s timeline more interesting and more useful. Add hyperlinks!
If you’re like me, your timelines probably include dates when your ancestor appeared on a census, when he showed up in a city directory, when he was naturalized, in addition to when he was born, married and died. I also like to throw in every newspaper article I can find about my ancestor.
I try to save images of these documents to my computer, either in a jpg or a pdf file. Then when I create a timeline in Excel I can link to the image of the document.
I’ll admit, I’ve looked at these documents many times, but once in a while something pops out that I hadn’t noticed before or that I hadn’t really focused on. And I find that the organization of a timeline gets my brain processing information in a different way than if I’m looking at a stack of papers in a file/ Looking at these images in the context of a timeline might just help me make new discoveries in the old documents.
Right click on a cell where you want to link to a document image. A dropdown menu of options including “Hyperlink” will appear.
Select a file from your computer and click “OK.” That’s all there is to it. Next time you hover over that cell, click when the pointing finger icon appears and you’ll see the document. Easy peasy.
This makes a simple way to share information about an ancestor with your family. Send them a timeline and the image files and they can see what their ancestor was up to.
Whose timeline will you hype up first?
Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.