Several things have happened in the last few months that made me want to start a new series focusing on the timelines of my female ancestors.
First was Women’s History Month in March. I wanted to write several articles about my female ancestors during that month and as I was looking through my archives to see who I hadn’t written bios on already, I realized that the answer was almost all the women! For some reason, almost all my bios had been about the male half of my family tree. Clearly, this was a situation that needed to be rectified. I decided to start with my great-grandmothers and work backwards.
Second, about the same time, there was a Carnival of Genealogy topic that included writing a timeline. I was not able to participate in that carnival because of time constraints, but reading all the other fabulous timelines made me want to do one myself. With that in mind, I decided to do my first great-grandmother bio in the form of a timeline, which was published last month.
I learned that timelines are a lot of fun to write and the experience is eye-opening. There is something about composing in chronological order that really makes you see the events in a new light. You see when the children were born in the life of the mother. You see when her parents died in relation to the other events in her life and start to realize which children may not have known their grandparents. If her husband died before she did, you see how many years she lived as a widow and whether she was alone or living with her children. These are all “facts” that you’ve looked at before, but suddenly they have context. In the article about Lizzie West Kendrick, I also added a few Georgia historical events from her lifespan to provide even more context.
Because I gained so much insight doing the first timeline, I’ve decided to continue the articles about my great-grandmothers in timeline form. When I finish that generation, I’ll move back to my great-great-grandmothers and so on. The next installment in this series will be on Maud Whitener Butler and is scheduled to come out later in June.
To read other articles in the Women’s Timeline Series, click here.