Twile at RootsTech 2017!

The largest global genealogy conference in the world – RootsTech – is finally here and we are delighted to be in Salt Lake City to be a part of it again.

The Innovator Summit kicked off the event today, reminding us of our experience in the Innovator Showdown in 2016, where we came away with two awards, including the coveted People’s Choice (read our previous article here).

Are you visiting RootsTech this week?Here are 10 reasons you should come and see us on booth #332 & 334.

10 reasons to visit the Twile booth

  1. It’s now completely FREE for everyone!
  2. You can create a FREE personalized infographic of your family history
  3. We can show you how to get the rest of your family interested in your research
  4. You could win a $200 Amazon gift card
  5. We’ll show you how to import your FamilySearch Tree
  6. We have free balloons for your kids!
  7. We’re on the way to the restrooms
  8. We’re from England…we might be related!
  9. We have cute British accents
  10. Our flights have cost a fortune (we’re from the UK)

Twile demonstrations

We are also doing several demostrations of Twile, so come along and find out more:

Thursday 9th February 

  • 2.30pm. Not just about records –  Kelly Marsden, Co-founder of Twile – at the Findmypast booth
  • 4.40pm. How to create your family infographic – Paul Brooks, CEO of Twile – in the Demo Theatre

Friday 10th February 

  • 2.30pm. Not just about records – Kelly Marsden, Co-founder of Twile – at the Findmypast booth

Saturday 11th February

  • 12.40pm. Turn your FamilySearch Tree in to a Twile Timeline – Paul Brooks, CEO of Twile – in the Demo Theatre
  • 2.30pm. Not just about records – Kelly Marsden, Co-founder of Twile – at the Findmypast booth

We look forward to seeing you!

 

 

Twile is now FREE for everyone

We are really happy to announce that – as of today – we have removed the subscription fee for using Twile and our family timeline is now free for everyone!

When we started Twile, our vision was for it to be used by all family members, who would share and collaborate on their family story. We feel that our subscription fee was getting in the way.

This is why it is now free to do everything on Twile:

  • Build your family tree
  • Share and collaborate with family
  • Add unlimited milestones and photos
  • Import from FamilySearch
  • Import and merge multiple GEDCOM files

Whilst we will no longer be charging customers to use our core product, we clearly do need to make some money. We are planning to introduce some optional add-ons in the future, which will enhance the Twile experience.

We realise there are many concerns within the industry about privacy and we want to take this opportunity to assure our customers that we will never sell their personal data.

So Twile is now free for you and all of your family – go ahead and build an awesome timeline of your family story, together!

Your family in numbers – a free personalised infographic

We are delighted to share our new feature with you – a personalised digital family history infographic which you can create easily for free, to share with your family and friends.

Last week we posted an article about perspective in family history and the benefits of looking at things in a different way. Our new infographic takes this a step further and what’s more, we think it will appeal to everyone, whether genealogists or not!

What is an infographic?

Family History InfographicAn infographic is a colourful graphic made up of statistics, in this case numbers pulled from your family tree.

Whether you have imported your tree or manually created one in Twile, you can simply click a button to see it converted to an infographic. It displays information such as the average age of marriage, popular surnames and average family size. Fun right?

And we’ve designed it to be very easy to share with your family – you can quickly share your graphic on Facebook or Twitter, or download it to print or email it.

To celebrate the launch of this exciting feature, we are giving away a $200 Amazon gift card. Simply create your infographic at www.twile.com/numbers, share it and tag Twile on Facebook (@TwileTimeline) or Twitter (@TwileTweets) to enter the prize draw.

How to get your free infographic

  • Existing Twile customer? Simply click the ‘View infographic’ button at the top of your family tree in Twile.
  • New to Twile? Visit www.twile.com/numbers and we’ll send your infographic to you by email.

 

Timeline of the American Civil War

Twile now includes a timeline of the American Civil War, which you can overlay onto your own family timeline to see how your ancestors might have been affected.

In 1849, my 3 x Great Grandparents were married in Hull in the UK. In the same year on Twile’s Civil War timeline, I can see that – many miles away – a lady called Harriet Tubman was leading a very different life, as a slave. In 1849 she escaped slavery and, as the American Civil War progressed, she became the first woman to lead an armed expedition.

Seeing my family events on the same timeline as world history generates new questions.  I wonder what my ancestors thought about America. A place where they would never hope to travel.  Did they think about it at all?

In 1861, when my 2 x Great Grandmother was born, was Abraham Lincoln’s election a topic at every dinner table, just as Donald Trump’s recent victory has been?  How much awareness was there of the bloody war that was raging from 1861?

We’d love to hear what you think of our American Civil War timeline – and please let us know if there are any topics you’d like to see timelines for?  Just add a comment or send us an email to help@twile.com

How to add perspective to your family history

Putting your family stories into perspective and giving them context is the key to understanding what life was like for your ancestors and for telling those stories in an interesting way.

We read an article this week by The  Family History Guy, which summed it all up perfectly:

“The character John Keating, in the award winning film, “Dead Poet’s Society” was asked why he stood on his desk. His poignant reply: “I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.” So too must we, as genealogists ‘constantly look at things in a different way’. Another way of saying this is we need perspective. Just as the world looks far different at the cruising altitude of a commercial jetliner than it does standing in the midst of a wheat field. Our family history looks much different when examined at “cruising altitude”. The most valuable thing Twile gives me as a genealogist is perspective.”

The Family History Guy goes on to explain how Twile made him – a genealogist of 25 years and public speaker on family history – step back and see his family in a whole new way.

“When I first used Twile and loaded just my parents and grandparents in, just three generations and I noticed something. My mom’s dad died before my parents were married. Not a super alarming fact. But until that moment … those two facts were complete and total strangers. Both living happy, but separate, lives in my brain until that glorious moment that Twile put them next to each other and introduced them … None of the documents I have would give me that information, and I had never thought to ask.”

Take a look at the full article here and if you have had a ‘Eureka’ moment with Twile, we would love you to share it with us!

The Family History Guy will be speaking at RootsTech on Saturday 11th February. If you are at the event, go along to hear his presentation ‘Timelines: Back to the Future of Your Research”.

 

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

Silent Night: The Christmas Truce of World War 1

On Christmas Eve 1914, roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in a Christmas Truce during World War 1. This is just one of the events on our new World War 1 Timeline.

Candles were placed on trenches and Christmas trees, carols were sung and Christmas greetings were exchanged. Some ventured across No Man’s Land, where gifts such as tobacco and alcohol were exchanged.  A few men played football. Artillery fell silent.

“I wouldn’t have missed that unique and weird Christmas Day for anything. … I spotted a German officer, some sort of lieutenant I should think, and being a bit of a collector, I intimated to him that I had taken a fancy to some of his buttons. … I brought out my wire clippers and, with a few deft snips, removed a couple of his buttons and put them in my pocket. I then gave him two of mine in exchange. … The last I saw was one of my machine gunners, who was a bit of an amateur hairdresser in civil life, cutting the unnaturally long hair of a docile Boche, who was patiently kneeling on the ground whilst the automatic clippers crept up the back of his neck” 

From Bullets & Billets by Bruce Bainsfather

Add the events of World War 1 onto your own family history timeline.

  • Click the In View button at the top of your Twile timeline
  • Move the World War 1 slider on the right hand side of the window
  • Click Done

We would love to hear if your ancestors took part in the Christmas Truce. Comment below if you have a story to tell.

How to Twile your Christmas

We have just added a new Christmas milestone to help you Twile your memories over the festive season.

We encourage you to add this year’s Christmas to your timeline, but also try to add some of your past Christmas memories.  Is there a particular Christmas memory that is close to your heart?  Are there traditions you remember from your childhood – do you still keep those traditions?

As your family comes together to enjoy a Christmas dinner, unwrap presents, take lots of photos and make new memories, firstly take a few moments to think about Christmas in years gone by.

Here is how to Twile your Christmas by adding a Christmas milestone to your Twile timeline…

Create a Christmas Milestone

  1. Click Add at the top of your Twile timeline
  2. Click Add milestone
  3. Select Christmas from the new Holidays section
  4. Enter the date
  5. Click Choose photos to add photos from the special day
  6. Click Add

Add your Christmas photos
Once you have your Christmas milestone, open it to add your photos, creating a visual Christmas story on your timeline.  You’ll then have a mini photo album of these memories.

Tag family members
Add people to your new Christmas story so you’ll always know who was there. This also means that the story will show up on each person’s individual timeline of their life. You can tag anyone in your story, as long as they are on your family tree. For more information on how to do this, read our article on adding family members.

Add some comments
Photos are great to look through, but they don’t tell the full story. Was it a child’s first Christmas or the first Christmas in a new home?  What was special about the day, what memories would you like to pass forward?  Add words to your Christmas story to fill in the details.

Add the location
Where were you this year?  Were you at the family home or enjoying Christmas with friends?  Were you abroad?  Add the location to your story so you’ll always be able to look back and know where you were.

Invite family members
A timeline means so much more when its shared with your family, especially those you shared Christmas with.  And because they can all add up to 10 photos every month for free, they can contribute to your story with their own pictures and comments. Click here to watch our video on how to invite your family members and find out more about our free service here.

From everyone at Twile, we wish you and your whole family a very Merry Christmas… don’t forget to Twile it!

Related article: What does Christmas mean to you? 

New timeline of the American Revolutionary War: Boston Tea Party

Today is the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, which seems a fitting time to launch our timeline of the American Revolutionary War.  You can now overlay the events of the war onto your own family history timeline.

On this day in 1773, Samuel Adams and the “Sons of Liberty” boarded three ships in Boston Harbour and threw 342 chests of tea overboard. It was a reaction to the Tea Act, passed by the British Parliament earlier in the year, which colonists believe violated their rights.   This event and the British reaction to it were significant in the escalation of the American Revolution (The War of Independence).

The financial cost of the “Tea Party” was significant, with more than £9,000 (present day value around £1 million) of tea dumped into Boston Harbour.

You can see the Boston Tea Party and all other events from the American Revolutionary War on our timeline at: https://twile.com/timeline/americanrevolutionarywar

Add the American Revolutionary War to your Twile timeline: 

  • Click the ‘In View’ button at the top of your Twile timeline
  • Move the slider on the right hand side of the window
  • Click ‘Done’

 

What does Christmas mean to you?

Christmas means different things to different people.  We asked some of our customers, family and friends what means the most to them at this time of year.

The video also features some of the residents of Silver Birches Care Home in Mytholmroyd, who told us of their Christmas memories. It was great to hear their stories, most of which centred around family.

We spoke to Marion who remembered Christmas mornings as a child, when her father would get the car out and take the family to church – when they came out of church there were always presents on the seat.

It was interesting to hear Ian share memories of his older brother, who was in the navy and came home at Christmas time. They would play football together and enjoy games in the snow. If it hadn’t snowed, they didn’t think it was Christmas.

And we spoke to Joseph, who said Christmas is all about the children and how we want to see them happy and enjoying it. His memories of Christmas were very different from those children might enjoy today – he remembered (very fondly) getting an apple and an orange “polished up”.

When asked what Christmas meant to them, many of the people mentioned toys and presents, some thought of the church.  And almost everybody mentioned family.

We hope you enjoy making special memories with your family this year.  And don’t forget to add your photos and memories to your Twile timeline.