A Blast From the Past - Family Time Line

Originally published in the Sentinel on 6 June 2005...

I love timelines. Looking at timelines can broaden our perspective, help us see new relationships between events and give us a sense of order. Making a family timeline is a great family project. Here is one way:

Start by brainstorming events that have happened in your lifetime. On a piece of paper, list births, marriages, graduations, family vacations, moves, accidents, or dramatic events that have happened in your lifetime. (You may want to browse through your scrapbooks to help jog your memory!)

Take pieces of paper and tape them together horizontally. Draw a long black line through the middle. Determine your furthest date back in time, and start there. Decide how many years you want to cover, and mark the years proportionately. (JJ's timeline of his life so far was 8 pages, and he is only 8).

Write the events and where the event happened on your timeline in the appropriate year. Post your timeline, because you will remember more events. You will also find that some years were busier than others! This is your "Sloppy Copy" so don't worry if it gets a little messy, or if you have to add another piece of paper in the middle of your timeline.

Photos can be added to help highlight some of the events on your timeline.

After you have added all your events in the correct time and place - you can make your final copy.


We made a timeline of my husband's great-grandmother, highlighting the service she gave over the last century. We added when she was born, was married, and died, and also when she gave birth to all 13 children. We then added military service, marriages and births of children and grandchildren, etc.

For fun, we added a timeline of world events, church events, and famous inventions. The timeline was 44 feet long and covered a whole side of a room! (We also noted that the washing machine was not invented until her 13 children were out of diapers!) It was very fun to put life into perspective and see what a single family could accomplish in a century's time!