Our Family Timeline

A few months ago I decided to start a little home project that has turned into a fun and interesting resource for us.

I started by opening an Excel spreadsheet and made sure I had 5 sheets on it. The first one is called Timeline. The other 4 are the family names of each of my and Patricia’s grandparents (for us it’s Williams, Hayes, Santiago, and Donegan).

On each named tab I wrote in one column everyone in the family starting with grandparents and down the tree. In the next column I put their date of birth.

Then I decided to not stop there. When appropriate I created another entry for their date of death. And also when appropriate, I made another one for date of their anniversary.

So I kind of did it with this syntax:

Date Name = Date of Birth
Date [Name] = Date of Death
Date Name & Name = Date of Anniversary (both names since it’s shared!)

So each sheet had all the key dates for each family. That is a pretty cool thing in and of itself. But I wanted to take it one more step.

I took each of those lists and copied them over to the sheet called Timeline. Once all there, I sorted it by date and took out all the duplicate entries.

Now I’m left with a timeline of all the key dates of our family. It’s really cool seeing how Patricia’s family and my family dates blend. It’s also impressive to see, in ours, 4 generations of family, who was still alive for births and weddings, etc. It’s given us some pause and reflection on our family.

I encourage you to do the same. The hardest part is tracking down dates from family. Some don’t like to tell you what year they were born. Argh! Get over it! But open a spreadsheet, open as many tabs as you want saving one for the blended timeline. See what you find out!

On a related note, anyone know of a way to graphically display these dates in a timeline (that is easier than this)?

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