Now everyone can view Twile timelines of World History

To help in our mission of engaging the wider family in family history, we’ve just opened up our streams of world events to everyone, whether they use Twile or not.  This means that anyone can view a Twile timeline of World War 1 or a timeline of big inventions, for example, even if they don’t yet use Twile to record their family story.

There’s a quote attributed to author James Patterson that will explain how we think these public streams can help:

“There’s no such thing as a kid who hates reading. There are kids who love reading, and kids who are reading the wrong books.”

Family historians often struggle to engage their family members in their research.  Are they really not interested in where they came from and how their ancestors lived their lives?  Or are they simply reading the wrong book?

We hope that by encouraging people to explore world history events on a timeline we’ll be able to help them take the next step and start recording their own lives and those of their parents, grandparents and children.  Every memory and photo they add to their family timeline will be something preserved that could otherwise be lost forever.

Right now we have the following streams that you can explore:

And we are working on many, many more.

Can you help?
We’re looking for people who can help us put together streams on specific topics that would make good timelines.  Are you an expert on the American War of Independence or the history of London or the life of Ghandi?  Please get in touch by sending us an email to help@twile.com – you could have your own stream on a Twile timeline!

We’re also looking for suggestions on what streams we should add next – please let us have your ideas.

Add streams to your family timeline
If you already have a Twile timeline, you can add any of our streams of world history to help give context to your family story:

  1. Log into Twile: www.twile.com/timeline
  2. Click the ‘In View’ button at the top of the timeline
  3. Move the sliders on the right hand side of the page to activate any of our streams
  4. Click ‘Done’
  5. You should now see your chosen content on the same timeline as your family history

Privacy

By the way – although we’re opening up access to our streams of world history, everything you add to your own Twile timeline is still totally private and secure – nothing you share on Twile will ever be made available to anyone outside of your family.  If you’d like to know more about our approach to privacy at Twile, I’d suggest this article we wrote a while back: Twile Privacy

At home in ‘Bronte’ Country

I was pleased to go along to Todmorden Library earlier this week, where members of the Todmorden Family History Group launched an exhibition sharing family history stories from the local area.

one-last-push-5

Todmorden is a market town and civil parish in the Upper Calder Valley in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, England. It is firmly nestled in ‘Bronte’ Country –   where the Bronte sisters lived and wrote their classic novels –  around 17 miles from Manchester. I live near here in the village of Hebden Bridge, so it was great to find out a bit more about family stories close to home.

Jan Bridget, pictured second from the right and founder of the Todmorden Family History Group had a great story to tell. She spoke about her link to Emily Bronte’s novel ‘Wuthering Heights’, through her fourth great grandfather, Richard Sutton.  Sutton was a possible role model for Emily Bronte’s Heathcliff.  Jan has just finished writing a book about Richard’s grandson, Willian John Sutton, whose father emigrated to Canada in 1850. Known as Will, he was a lumberman, geologist, assayer, pioneer and promoter of Vancouver Island and, with his brother James, robbed the graves of First Nation people to sell to Franz Boas, the ‘father’ of American Anthropology.

Everyone I saw yesterday had something interesting in their family history. Councillor Tony Greenwood, opened the exhibition and shared stories from his own family history including his three times great uncle, Abraham, who was the librarian of the Rochdale Chartist Library and later became first president of the co-operative wholesale society, which he ran from his terraced house in Rochdale.

Further to the remembrance day celebrations of last weekend, I was also interested to hear about the story of Joseph L. Milthorp, who having fought in the First World War,  tried to enlist for the Second World War but was too old! Instead he joined the Blackshaw Head Home Guard and a photograph on display at the exhibition shows him and fellow members of the Home Guard football team for 1943 including: Sgt Pickles, L/Cpl Simpson, Savage, Crowther, Pte Townend, Coupe, Nesbitt, Marshall, Barker and Hodge in goal.

For more fascinating stories, if you are in the area, I would recommend a visit to the exhibition which will run until November 21st at Todmorden Library.
Pictured: Councillor Tony Greenwood, Mayor of Todmorden, Kelly Marsden, Jan Bridget and members of the Todmorden Family History Group. 

Vote for Twile in Pitch@Palace

You may be aware that we are in the running for the ‘People’s Choice’ Award at the Pitch@Palace event on Wednesday 2nd November. There is still time to vote!

If you haven’t yet voted, we’d really appreciate 60 seconds of your time.  You just need to click the ‘Vote Now’ button here: http://pitchatpalace.com/contestants/twile/

We are so excited to be part of this.  Pitch@Palace is organised by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, to help showcase promising young businesses in the UK.  The People’s Choice award is your opportunity to show your support for Twile and help us raise awareness of innovation in the family history industry.

Thanks for your support.

Do you ‘overshare’ photos of your children online?

It’s so easy nowadays to share photos of our children and grandchildren online – with the ability to almost instantly post photos in places like Facebook and Instagram, it’s worth thinking about who can see them and what the longer-term implications might be.

We recently read a study by Nominet, which reports some interesting and thought provoking figures. Their poll of 2,000 parents reveals that:

  • The average parent shares 1,500 photos of their child before their 5th birthday!
  • Less than a quarter of parents knew how to find and amend privacy settings online.
  • On average parents upload a picture of someone else’s child nearly 30 times a year.
  • The top 3 destinations for sharing are Facebook (54%), Instagram (16%) and Twitter (12%).

This got me thinking.  Do I know where to find and amend privacy settings in my online accounts?  I’m not sure that I do.  We’ve spoken to a lot of parents over the years who complained that privacy settings on sites like Facebook are not intuitive or transparent.

Also, how many times have my friends and family members uploaded photos of my children without me knowing, from events like birthday parties and school plays?  Do those people know how to control their privacy settings?

It seems to me that there are some important things to consider when sharing photos online:

  1. When did you last review your social media settings? Here’s how to do it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  2. Remember that when you post a photo of your child, you could be inadvertently posting a photo of another child and their location.
  3. Photos you post now may be online forever.  Will your children appreciate the stream of embarrassing photos when they’re in their twenties?
  4. Why are you posting the photos to a social network? If you want to share with family or record a child’s life, a Twile family timeline might be a better choice – everything on Twile is private by default (so only visible to your family) and it creates a meaningful timeline of each person’s life

Family history at Old Town School

With our collaboration with Old Town School in full swing, I wanted to share the experience so far with you – the response from the children has been brilliant. Their enthusiasm and interest is amazing and I’m grateful to Old Town School for the experiment. As half term approaches, we have discussed emotions and asked the children to ‘call out’ happy and sad emotions.

Each of the children was asked to think about a happy occasion and tell the class about it. Without fail, every child mentioned their ‘family’ in the happy occasion which lead to a discussion around the importance of family and an understanding that both happy and sad times could be shared with family. The children were then asked to create a comic strip and draw out their happy memory.

img_6943

The children have also learned about two important subjects.

Death: When shown various items such as: leaves, flowers and fruit which were dead and alive, they had to describe the differences in colour and texture. They were asked to ‘call out’ alternative meanings of the word ‘died’ to help them understand why we use different words to sympathise and empathise with one another in the event of someone dying that you know.   The children watched a short movie about a badger that had ‘passed away’ to affirm their understanding.

cropped-school-image-2Family tree: We discussed how families were connected and I drew an example family tree up on the board. The children were asked to have a go at drawing their family tree and indicate how far back could they go. They were told that their family tree should include all living and dead family members and as homework, they were encouraged to ask  their parents to help add more family members to the drawing and collect dates of birth where possible.

Our first introduction of Twile to the class was in week three where, having brought in their updated family trees, we were amazed to see that one child had a tree that dated back to the 1300’s! They clearly have a genealogist in the family who will be delighted that their younger generation is taking an early interest!

After a short demonstration of how to build a tree in Twile, the students got to work. With one computer between three, they watched one another take turns to grow their trees. They were so excited to see the branches connect in Twile and enthusiastically continued to add further relatives until their time was up! The children found the technology easy and fun to use and couldn’t wait to get home and do more with their parents. I received a wonderful note from one of the students!

Slack for iOS UploadSlack for iOS Upload (1)

So far, this project is going brilliantly and I really am having so much fun with the children. I’ll keep you posted on how we progress. If the response so far is anything to go by, we have generated family discussions and made family history a bit more interesting. Young genealogists in training!

Kelly

Taking Family History back to school

We have recently started an interesting trial in a local school, which helps with our core mission of getting younger generations interested in their family history.

Besides being co-founder of Twile, I am a mum of three girls aged 4, 7 andphoto-of-me-and-girls 11 who have unwittingly been exposed to our ‘family history’ on Twile now for several years. When asked, my children would say family history is not something that would interest them. However, they sit for some time scrolling through our Twile timeline asking questions about stories from the past such as my wedding day and their christening celebrations. They ask about our family in both Ireland and South America and are puzzled by how Grandma and Grandad met when they were born so far apart! They love looking at photos of their grandparents as children and laugh hysterically at their fashion sense!  I would say that they have a good sense of belonging and an appreciation of the wider world after seeing how our family came to be.

I struck up a conversation with one of their teachers, who was hugely supportive and loved the idea of teaching children a bit about their family in school. As well as providing a sense of belonging and some emotional support for the children, the opportunity to learn more about their family story and build a family tree in something new and innovative appealed. Together with the teacher, we began to put together a 7 week  project for Key Stage 2 children at Old Town School, in my home town of Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

It turns out that Twile fits in to the UK curriculum in many ways, covering PSHE (Personal, Social, Health & Emotional), History and ICT. I was delighted to be invited to help with the project that will take place once a week for the rest of term. My 7 year old daughter Arabella, is loving having mummy in class too!

It’s wonderful to see my local community supporting and welcoming innovation. It will also be a great opportunity for me to see how the children interact with Twile…and i’m sure that they will give me some (very honest) feedback!

I will be posting regular updates on my time at the school and I am really excited to see the reaction from the children.

Related article:

Meet the founders 

Twile at the Doncaster Family History Fair

This weekend we spent the day at the Doncaster & District Family History Society Fair.  Twile is based in Doncaster, so it was great to support our local society.

The event was very well organised and attended and it was great to speak to people in our home town and tell them more about Twile. The programme included talks by Anisha Christison N.C.M on ‘Tracing your Coal Mining Ancestors’ and Karen Walker M.A on ‘Thieves, Drunkards & Undesirables’. The first is an interesting topic in my own family, with several generations of miners in the Doncaster area.

We had some really interesting conversations about how people became interested in family history. For many that we spoke to, recording their own lives is becoming an increasingly important factor – the ability to pass on family stories and make sure that their own grandchildren know more about them – where they were born, where they got married etc.

The one thing that people commented on the most was Twile’s ability to bring together the past, present and future and allow younger generations – who might not necessarily be genealogists – to record their own lives and explore the past, all on one timeline.

It was great to be part of a local event and speak to people in our home county about Twile. Our next event is the Huddersfield & District Family History Fair in November.

 

Invite your family and get a FREE month’s subscription!

Did you know that any family members on your Twile family tree can view your timeline completely free of charge?  You can invite as many family members as you like and they will all be able to explore what you’ve created.  And every time one of your family members accepts your invite, we’ll give you a month of Twile Premium for free.

Twile is the perfect way to share your research with the rest of the family and it’s also a great way for them to record their own lives and share photos and comments.  Combining family history with what’s happening today helps keep all of the memories alive.

All you need to do:

  1. Mouse over anyone in your family tree
  2. Click ‘Invite them’
  3. Enter their email address

They will then receive an email with instructions on how to register – as soon as they join we’ll give you a free month’s subscription!

Remember:

  • You have complete control over who sees the content you add to your timeline.
  • Your family tree and timeline on Twile is completely private to your family.
  • You can choose which members of your family you wish to invite and share your timeline with.
  • We use Microsoft’s secure infrastructure to store your content, so it will always be available and safe.

Related article: Privacy and Security on Twile

Behind the scenes: What we’re building now

Since expanding our development team over the last couple of months, we’ve been working hard to build the new features you’ve all been asking for.  We thought you might like a sneak preview of what’s coming soon.

Recent additions

Here’s what we’ve added to the site over the last couple of weeks…

  • Inventions
    You can now add our new ‘Inventions’ stream to your family timeline to see big inventions from history alongside your own family story.  What was your family up to when the automobile was invented?
  • Questions
    We’ll send you questions about your family each week to help you fill the gaps in your timeline.
  • GEDCOM merge
    You can now merge any number of GEDCOM files into your Twile family tree to keep it up-to-date and to combine research from multiple members of your family.

Coming soon!

And here’s a couple of exciting features we’re working on right now…

  • FamilySearch Integration
    If you’re a FamilySearch user, you’ll soon be able to import your tree into Twile, which will automatically generate a timeline of your family history for you to share privately.  More details later this month!
  • New Streams
    Following the launch of our inventions stream, we’ve had so much feedback and many requests for different history topics. We are currently working on streams for the American Civil War and War of Independence.  If you have a specific request for a new history stream, please add a comment below or send us an email to help@twile.com

We will be posting more information soon!

Merge multiple GEDCOM files into one family tree

We are really excited to announce a significant new feature. It has been requested again and again by our customers, so we’re really pleased to finally have it finished!

Since early 2015, users have been able to import GEDCOM files into Twile, but have never been able to bring in multiple versions. With many of our customers wanting to keep their timeline up-to-date for their wider families to explore, we’ve added a new feature that allows you to merge multiple GEDCOM files into one family tree and keep it updated with future changes.

This means that family members storing their research independently in different family history sites such as Ancestry or Findmypast, can now bring all of their findings together in one private family tree on Twile and import newer versions as they further their research.

As well as generating their tree, Twile will use the data in the GEDCOM files to automatically add events to the family timeline, such as births, marriages and deaths.

The merge tool will intelligently match people from a GEDCOM file by comparing their names, genders, dates of birth and relationships, requesting the user’s help with any matches that aren’t obvious.

It’s now possible to for the whole family to explore their complete family tree, with all of the family’s historians combining their research together.

Try it now

Coming up next… keep checking our blog to see the upcoming features we are working on at the moment.