Magazine Style Timeline for Heritage Scrapbook

If you are creating a scrapbook featuring your ancestors, you will most certainly have a family tree in the book. You will share photos and stories about the ancestor. If you don’t include a timeline in your project, you are missing out on a powerful tool that can cover a lot of topics in the least amount of space.

  • Credits: peach paper, clip – Tea party by No Reimer Reason; stitching – Two Soon by Shabby Princess; pink flower – Dinner Party by Shabby Princess; peach flower – altered Mouse House; green flower –  Plentiful by Shabby Princess; heart wire – Photogenic

There are a variety of different timeline options you can use to showcase the life of your ancestor. I have shared several before (here, here, and here). The timeline layout above can be termed a magazine-style timeline.

The overall concept is to list key events from each decade in your featured person’s album. Louise was born in the 1920s and died in 2012. So, each of my sections has to be small to cover the 10-decade groupings. Some decades have more bullet items than others.

On the timeline, I included events from Louise’s immediate life and those of close relations, including the additional grandmother who she never spoke of. I used the specific dates wherever possible and years when the specific date was unknown.

Before each decade, a photo was selected that highlighted those ten years. A caption was placed underneath the picture because labeling is critical. Years from now, people will know exactly who was in that 1960s photo and won’t have to guess.

Please notice the black legend at the center bottom of the page. Louise had 6 grandchildren, many great-grandchildren, and at least one great-great-grandchild before she died. Whenever I included “granddaughter Devon born,” the line count was too long, and the information didn’t fit. Instead, I had to replace the relationship name with an abbreviation such as “GD Devon born.” Then all the information fits nicely.

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Fearing those who read the book might not understand why GGGS was used, I created a key. This way, there is no doubt that this abbreviation stood for great-great-grandson. When you create family history projects, don’t ever assume people will be able to figure something out. Create a simple legend if needed.

Be forewarned. This layout is not terribly difficult to create in a digital scrapbooking program such as Photoshop Elements. Essentially it’s a few photo boxes, and text boxes lined up. The trick comes in trying to get all the text to fit in the space you have. If you’re willing to be patient, you can make it work. Just know in advance that this will take time. You won’t find a pre-designed template for something like this. Your layout will have different decades and content to include than another person. But, it can be done and look amazing.

Timelines are underutilized genealogical tools. Be sure they are not underutilized in your family history scrapbooks.


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