Twile grandmother and granddaughter running on the beach

Family History is About the Living Too

How much of your life will be remembered by your descendants?

The death of a relative can often bring to mind all of the questions we wished we’d asked before it was too late. Why didn’t we ask them more about their life? Why didn’t we pay attention when they tried to tell us their story?

Once they’re gone, we will dig through boxes of photos they’ve left behind, maybe find diaries that we didn’t know existed. For some it may generate a new (or renewed) interest in their family history, but no amount of research can uncover a person’s full story.

I think about this a lot. I remember that my Granddad – who lived well into his 90s – always had a story to tell. But we were too young or too busy to ever really listen. Now that I’m older, I would love to hear the stories about his time in the war. Where was he stationed? What action did he see? How did he spend his time in the days or weeks in-between?

And that makes me curious about how he met my Grandma, where they went on holiday or how life changed when my Dad came along. How was parenting different for them than it has been for me?

Mixed with this frustration is a fear that my grandchildren will know as little about me as I do about my grandparents.

So I’ve made an effort to record my life so far. My family has a Twile timeline that starts in 1843 (the birth of my great-great-grandfather) and runs through to this morning (when I took my daughter to dance class). My descendants will be able to explore my life in detail – photos of my school years, my time at university, my wedding, honeymoon, birth of my children… and all with comments and thoughts that I’ve added.

In time, my kids will start adding their own stories and photos to the timeline, hopefully building a tradition that will continue forever – an endless record of the family story, which starts with my great-great-grandfather (until I get the time to work out who came before him!).

I’m curious to know how other people feel about the stories they’re passing forward. Have you ever thought about what your descendants will know about you? Are you doing anything about it?

Published by

Paul Brooks

Twile CEO

5 thoughts on “Family History is About the Living Too”

  1. Hello,

    You mentioned starting with your 2nd great grandfather and working your way forward to the present. That must produce a HUGE timeline!

    Do you cite your sources/documents? Is this a big deal for you? Do you use a separate genealogy program for this? Or is this not a big deal for you?

    Twile could potentially be a game changer for those tracing their roots. I, for one, am liking what I see.

    Peace & Blessings,
    “Guided by the Ancestors”

    1. It is indeed a huge timeline! It’s amazing to be able to browse through my family’s history in this way – I can jump back to the 1800s and explore my ancestors, jump forward to the 1950s and see photos of my parents as children on the beach and then find my own school days in the 80s. What’s even better is that my children are getting to the age where they’re old enough to understand what they’re looking at and are showing an interest in their family history because of Twile.

      My extended family uses Ancestry (primarily), which is where all of the sources and documents sit. We’re lucky enough to have 2 genealogy fanatics in the family and they’ve done an amazing job of researching and building a pretty complete tree. The challenge was getting that into a format that would engage the rest of the family – and that’s why we created Twile.

  2. I am looking for a replacement for for my family tree. Perhaps this is it? This site will only have trees on it? No documents? I can upload a GEDcom?

    1. Hi Toni – thanks for your comment. Twile is not designed to replace the research tools provided by Ancestry (or other similar services), but we hope it provides a way to build your tree and a timeline of your family history in a way that makes it easier to consume and to share with your wider family.

      We’ve just added the ability to import a GEDCOM file and we have a long list of other features that we are planning to add, including attaching documents to events and people. There’s a lot of exciting developments to come in the near future!

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