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Laying out the Family History

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 15:59:49 GMT

Hello, I don't see any examples that show me how to create a family tree. I'm not sure how to make one entity the child of two entities. Is there a tutorial or video on this?

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 20:07:28 GMT

Hi, @hlpell. I haven't tried using AT2 for a family tree, but I might be able to give you a few pointers and things to watch out for in getting started. First just a little vocabulary. The parent/child relationship that you are asking about only applies to EVENTS. People in AT2 are often defined as ENTITIES, but entities don't have as much flexibility for adding custom properties. If you were doing project planning, you would use the entity person as a resource or for writing a novel, you would use an entity resource as a character. Using entities allows you to do things like filter your display based on whether a scene has a certain character in or a task involves a particular staff member. You may find creative uses for entities in a genealogical timeline or you may find entities aren't needed. You could, for example, represent a person just as an event with a line that represents their lifespan. Or you could simplify even further and just have a dot (no duration) for each person and aim for more of just a tree of names than any real representation of l ifetime events. If you opt for recording more information for each person, one approach would be to have a parent event for the person's lifespan, then sub-events (child events) for the date they were married, the birth date of each child, date they moved to another country/city, etc... AT2 lets you collapse the parent events easily so you can hide these details when you don't need them. Also, by using events to represent people, you can use the configuration editor to add custom properties to your people. You could, for example, add a new property "Religion". Maybe your family has a long history of being Freemasons and you want to indicate which ancestors were members. You can then customize the Display options to show these added bits of information in the detail view for your event-driven people. Note that you cannot add these extra properties to entities - which is why it was important that you understand the difference. Note that if you elect to use both entities and events to represent your people, you will have somewhat more data entry, but you would be able to easily view the age of the participant for each event. One small challenge you might experience will be how information flows on the screen. You probably won't get a consistent view of information like you would with common genealogy software. AT2 redraws and repositions elements in the timeline based on the zoom level, the length of names, the length of the coloured time bar, etc. All you can definitely count on is the progression of ancestors from left to right, past to present in time, not how they get displayed vertically. If you make Jim Smith (the son) a dependent event of John Smith (the father) and Mary Jones (the mother) and do this recursively back through the timeline, you will get nice lines connecting parents and children (in the genealogical sense). You may find though that you can't control just how those lines get drawn, as again AT2 draws them in automatically and redraws them as objects flow on the screen. Sometimes fiddling with the zoom range can improve the layout. Good luck with your project. I'm sure the devs or others who may have direct genealogy experience with AT2 will weigh in with their own ideas.

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 22:44:30 GMT

Hello @razyr, Thank you so much for this. I am currently writing my second (non-fiction) and third (sci-fi) books in Scrivener. My wife is doing the genealogy for both our families and I'm attempting to create a nice template in Scrivener for her. I have the evaluation copy of Timeline and really like what it does for my Sci-fi, and so wanted to see if I could make it work for my wife. I'm going to try your suggestions and see how it works for my wife. Thanks again, both for your reply and for such a quick reply.

Sun, 05 Nov 2017 23:38:04 GMT

I am just learning about AT2 and the topic of building a family history timeline is of intense interest to me. The advice given by razyr makes a lot of sense. It is akin to building a descendant chart. I can think of two issues, the first minor, the second maybe tougher: 1. Do you have to decide, at the beginning, what person will be your top level event? Or can you continue to add "higher level" events (i.e., older and older ancestors) as you construct your timeline? 2. Using the method described by razyr, one person's life event would have to be a sub-event in both the father's and the mother's life events. Is this even possible, i.e., in a general sense, can one event be a sub-event in two other independent events? I will continue to think about this and play with some possible templates, and report any further ideas here.

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 00:28:49 GMT

Two good questions. #1. No, you don't have to decide anything at the beginning. If you are creating events that follow on other events, you can add someone earlier in the time, then just point the former top of the chain to the new person. #2. Yes, it's entirely possible. Have a look at the attached screen shot of a simple case. [Family_tree_sample_1](// I'm not suggesting that AT2 is the best solution for creating a family tree, just suggesting a couple of ways it might be done. There are a lot of manual steps that you'd have to do with AT2 which would feel more natural and take a lot less time if you were actual genealogy software.

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 03:04:16 GMT

I have several genealogy programs which produce pedigree and descendant charts simply and easily, so I'm not looking to duplicate those. What I would like to do is capture the many, many events in the life of each person in the past 4 generations of my family members. I have over 1000 events, many with multiple participants and/or witnesses. AT2 seems ideal for showing all these events, where they occurred, who was involved and even the source of my information. I looked at the example that you gave to me. Some further comments / questions: 1. I can see that selecting the life event of one person as the parent event of another person won't work, because the child life event has to fit entirely within the parent life event, i.e., the parent life event is extended to fit the death date of the child, which won't do. If I followed that logic, the life event of my oldest progenitor would extend for hundreds of years. 2. The example you posted shows the child's life event being dependent on the parent's life event, i.e., using "Based on" in the Range section of the child life event. This works OK, but to establish the dependency, you have to state an offset of the beginning of the child's life event from either the start or end of the parent's life event. This is awkward - do I want to have to calculate that a child was born X years Y months Z days after the parent's birth, every time I do this? No. (As an aside, it would be nice if the program just let me directly enter the starting date when establishing the dependency). 3. However, I could accomplish the same thing by creating a zero duration birth event for a child within the parent container (call this event 1.1), and then for the life event of the child (call this event 2), make that dependent on event 1.1, i.e., starting event 2 - 0 seconds after the start of event 1.1. I've uploaded an image of what I'm talking about. Does this approach make sense to you? (Note that I've also created entities of "Category" (Birth), "Location" (Victoria) and "Person" (John) that are associated with the life event of John S. 4. The above approach takes a bit of work, but I hope the payoff will come when I enter another 15 events for Walter and 25 events for John, etc. That's my next step, to enter that information and then see what it looks like on the screen. 5. Do you think I am I pushing this whole idea too much, or am I likely to get something that makes sense, in the end? [AT2 Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1](//

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 05:01:10 GMT

I used other software to do our family's genealogical research and was able to trace the paternal line back to 1370. I don't think I would have persisted if I'd been using AT2. If your primary goal isn't a deep genealogical tree, then I think you can make AT2 work nicely for you. What matters most is whether the timeline and relationship views make sense to you. Best of luck in your project!

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 05:41:37 GMT

Razyr - yes, that is what it comes down to - how does it look, and is it relatively easy to implement? Another thing that attracts me is the ability to both import and export to a csv file - very handy! Thanks for all your help. Working through your posts and setting up a trial set of events/relationships was really useful in understanding AT2. Great program!

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 11:47:03 GMT

A final note for anyone following this thread: 1. I did manage to set up a template for a new A2T file and download over 1000 lines of data from an Excel file. I had to clean the spreadsheet up a bit, so all single line events were in a consistent format, to match the requirements for import into A2T, and also saved it as a csv file. The import worked flawlessly. 2. My main contribution to this is a slight variation on the suggestions from @razyr. I used two type of “main events”. 3. The first “main event” type, as described by @razyr, is a life event for each person on my timeline. It starts with their birth and ends with their death. This life event acts as a parent/container for all other events that specifically and solely concern that person throughout their life. Many of these are “0 duration” events (such as “first day of school”) but some are themselves containers for a group of events. 4. The second “main event” type is a marriage/family event for each married (or equivalent) couple on my timeline. It starts with their marriage or when they first get tog ether, and ends when one of them dies, or they get divorced or separated. This type of main event acts as a parent/container for other events that concern the family as a whole, such as birth of children, vacations, celebrations, etc. 5. An event which describes the birth of a person is duplicated - one copy goes in their life event and one goes in their parents’ marriage/family event. 6. I use the following entities: Category, Place, Person and Source. Everyone that has a life event also shows up as a Person entity (along with a large number of other people). All entities allow multiple roles per event. 7. This way of organizing things takes a small amount of effort for duplication of birth events, but makes the timeline clear and easy to understand. 8. I’m happy to send anyone a copy of the template, if they want.

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 05:26:27 GMT

Hey, Geo. That's awesome. I wonder if you might send a copy to the AT support crew. Maybe they can bundle it or link it somewhere on their site. I'd love to see what you came up with.

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 07:03:00 GMT

Sure - I'll send something to the support e-mail address.

Sun, 06 Jan 2019 22:33:15 GMT

Hi, I would love to get a copy of your template. Sounds exactly what I need for my project. cmpointer AT gmail .com (remove spaces and replace AT with @). Thanks in advance!

Mon, 07 Jan 2019 04:22:49 GMT

In answer to the recent post by CMPointer, I have forwarded the template file that I produced in Aeon Timeline for tracking family history events, to both that person and AT support. Following are some associated comments... In previous posts, I asked some questions about and then described how I had set up an Aeon Timeline file to record family history events. Note that I was not trying to capture genealogical information such as a family tree or descendant charts, etc. There are much better programs suited to that task, such as Roots Magic. However, I had a spreadsheet with about 5000 events from the lives of my own family, my parents’ family and my grandparents, and I felt that Aeon Timeline would be perfectly suited to capture that information. The ideas for doing so are captured in the previous post of 13 Nov 2017. I promised to provide a template for others who might be interested. So, I took one of my personal files and pared it down to just 3 generations, hopefully also removing all the personal information. However, this file still demonstrates the layo ut that I used to show each person and each family, and to “connect” generations, using the “Based on” field in the “Range” tab for one event, which for other events shows up under the “Followers” field. The file submitted to AT support (and which you can also get directly from me) is not a true template, in the sense that you cannot just start entering your own data. Rather, it is an example file with enough information to show you how you can set up your own Aeon Timeline family history. It should be fairly obvious from looking at my template file and reading through the original posts, but if anyone wants further information, feel free to contact me. Note that for each event a lot of information can be entered under the “Roles” tab, for 1) “Category” (I have left in all the categories that I created; you may want to add or delete some), 2) “Place” (I have only left a few generic places; you will want to add a lot of your own), and 3) “Person” (same; enter your own family names). I have not used the “Source” field under the Roles tab, but this would have obvious value for family history buffs. A list of Categories, Places, People, and Sources can be found by clicking on the “Entities” icon on the top of the Aeon Timeline window. When checking my information, I have found it useful to use both the Timeline and Category view modes, again accessed from icons at the top of the Aeon Timeline main window, and likewise the “Group by” and “Filter” functions are quite useful for finding information buried in your database. Within the Inspector window, I have mentioned that I have used the Roles tab a lot; this is also true of the “Range” tab wherein a lot of basic information is entered. To date, I have not used the Values or the Links tabs, although I can see there is information in both that could prove quite useful, e.g., adding tags in the former and adding links to images in the latter. I just haven’t done that yet myself. One final comment - it is clear that there is some duplication of events in the way I have done things, mostly because I have elected to have separate events for both individuals and families, and clearly individuals also appear in families. I see this as necessary and really quite an easy effort - a simple copy and paste of an event, combined with a change of “Parent” (Aeon Timeline terminology), will move an event from one group to another. Then one can use the “Based on” field in the Range tab to connect events between different “Parent” groups (again, Aeon Timeline “Parents”, not using the word in a family sense). I hope this discussion, along with the original posts, is helpful for others who wish to create their own family history timeline. I am happy to discuss ideas regarding applying Aeon Timeline to family history work - please contact me through this Aeon Timeline posts, buy adding your own comment here. I will happily send anyone my template file.

Sun, 10 Feb 2019 07:08:17 GMT

I would like very much to have a copy of your Family History Timeline template file. I'm also into family history and as you know timelines are a great tool for use in family history. My email address is: *bostongenealogy1* and that's at **. Thank you!

Thu, 09 May 2019 19:47:02 GMT

Hello geoeng51 - I'd love to get a copy of your Family History Timeline. I'm working on a family memorial - dates with lots of writing - and I think this would help me combine the two. Much appreciated! ggalleher AT - Thanks you very much!

Tue, 14 May 2019 23:22:41 GMT

Hi galleher, I have sent the template to you aswell, in case the original poster missed your post. Jess

Tue, 21 May 2019 23:43:33 GMT

geoeng51 or Jess, please could you send me the Family History Timeline template. kerdar1 at gmail dot com Thanks

Wed, 22 May 2019 01:07:57 GMT

Hi kerdar1, I have emailed you the template. Jess

Fri, 24 May 2019 03:31:11 GMT

Jess - thanks for keeping an eye on these requests :>). Cheers....John

Fri, 24 May 2019 13:20:38 GMT

Hello Jess. I would like a copy of the template as well. Thanks.

Sun, 26 May 2019 19:19:31 GMT

Could I get a copy of this template as well? victor_patv at