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

Import your memories from FamilySearch

Our FamilySearch import feature now also brings in memories and photos, allowing you to create a visual timeline out of the pictures you have in FamilySearch.

Since announcing our integration with FamilySearch back in September we have had some great feedback and suggestions – the most requested addition has been this import of memories.

If you have dates associated with your FamilySearch memories, Twile will automatically add them to the right point on your timeline, along with your family’s milestones – such as birth and marriage.

Photos make it much easier to get the rest of the family engaged in their history, by giving them something more visual to explore.  Give it a go – import your FamilySearch tree and see what your family timeline looks like.

Note: If you already have a Twile timeline, re-importing from FamilySearch data will overwrite your existing Twile tree and timeline.  We are working on a merge tool that will let you import as often as you wish.

Family history in numbers

How much time and money do you spend researching your ancestors?  We surveyed family historians recently to see how much commitment it takes to build the family tree.

First of all we looked at when they started researching their family history. The common belief is that family historians are typically aged 50 or over.  For example, according to Ancestry Insider more than half of the attendees at the annual RootsTech genealogy conference in Salt Lake City are over 55 years old.

According to our survey however, the average age of starting to research family history is 40 years old, with 42% of our respondents having started before they were 40 – and a few beginning before they were 20.  So, while family history is typically considered a hobby for the retired, there is clearly some appetite for it in younger generations – look at the growing popularity of groups like NextGen, for example, who work to foster an interest in family history among the “next generation”.

We found that family historians spend more than 12 hours per week on their research, with more than a third spending 2 hours a day on average. 11% donate more than 4 hours a day to their hobby!  This includes time spent online in sites like Findmypast, FamilySearch and Ancestry, plus working in libraries or attending local groups.

And family historians spend $360 per year on their research on average.  Most of the large online genealogy services charge around $100-200 for an annual subscription.  Our survey respondents are either subscribing to more than one of these services or paying for extra records, society attendance fees or travel.

The amount of time and money that family history research requires, possibly explains why most people wait until they are 40 or older before starting.  Parents with young children will struggle to find the time (or energy) to dig through census records, birth certificates and black-and-white photos for clues about their ancestors.  But once the kids are older and more independent, those same parents will look for hobbies to fill their newly-found free time – genealogy is one of them.

Our mission at Twile is to make family history more engaging and accessible for the younger generations now.  If you’re keen to get the rest of your family interested in your hobby, import your years of research into Twile and share your timeline with them, for free.  Your commitment so far means that they will be able to explore your research easily, minimising the time and cost to them. They can contribute their own memories and photos too.  Sign up for free at www.twile.com.

How does your family history research compare with these numbers?  Add a comment below to tell us how much time you spend each week on your research or when you started showing an interest…

How to Twile your Thanksgiving memories

For our friends celebrating Thanksgiving this week, we’ve just added a new Thanksgiving milestone to help you Twile your holiday memories.

Families all around the US will be coming together to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner, take lots of photos and make new memories.  Twile is a great place to put all of those memories together for the whole family to share and to look back on in years to come.  Wouldn’t you love to explore a timeline of your childhood Thanksgiving memories?

Here’s how you can use Twile to record your Thanksgiving memories, creating something that will live on for your future generations to explore…

Create a Thanksgiving Milestone
We have created a new holiday milestone for Thanksgiving. To add it to your timeline:

  1. Click Add at the top of your timeline
  2. Click Add milestone
  3. Select Thanksgiving from the new Holidays section

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

Tag family members
Add people to your new Thanksgiving 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 there a culinary catastrophe or was the Pumpkin pie as amazing as it always was with Granny’s secret recipe?  What was special about the day, what memories would you like to pass forward?  Add words to your Thanksgiving story to fill in the details.

Add the location
Where were you this year?  Were you at the family home or enjoying Thanksgiving 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 Thanksgiving with.  And because they can all add up to 10 photos every month for free, they can contribute to your Thanksgiving 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.

Twile your Thanksgiving holiday and preserve the memories forever.

 

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.

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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. 

Twile at Huddersfield & District Family History Fair

We are pleased to be going along to the Huddersfield & District Family History Society’s Family & Local History Fair on Saturday 12th November.

The society will have their own researchers, society members and committee members on hand, to help and advise and we will be there showing how to bring your family history to life by creating your Twile family timeline.

Wherever you have done your research, we will be happy to show you how to import your GEDCOM file or import your FamilySearch data. We’ll also show you how you can upload photos, add milestones and share your new timeline with your family members.

If you’re local, come along and see us on Saturday 12th November at Cathedral House, St Thomas’ Road, Huddersfield, HD1 3LG. Admission is £2.50, with accompanied children under 16 free.

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.

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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!

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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

Twile selected to join Pitch@Palace boot camp

Twile has been selected to proceed to the next stage of the Pitch@Palace competition, which means we’ll be attending a boot camp in Oxford later this week.

A couple of weeks ago, we had the honour of presenting Twile to The Duke of York in Sheffield, as part of the Pitch@Palace program – and we are delighted to again be presenting Twile to royalty and to showcase our unique timeline to an audience of investors and mentors.

Pitch@Palace on Tour event at the AMRC Factory 2050 on Tuesday September 20th 2016 with HRH The Duke of York. Pitch: Twile
Pitch@Palace on Tour event at the AMRC Factory 2050 on Tuesday September 20th 2016 with HRH The Duke of York. Pitch: Twile

Believe it or not, genealogy is a multi-billion dollar industry. Times magazine found it to be the ‘second most visited category of websites, after pornography!’, so we hope the investors find our presentation interesting… the pressure is on.

This time around, Co-Founder Kelly Marsden and myself will be up on stage to tell everyone how Twile came to be and where we are going.

We have spoken several times about our journey and how Twile has evolved.  As a startup in the North of England, we joined an accelerator scheme – DotForge in Sheffield, which helped us launch our product. We have received various rounds of investment from ‘Dragons’ in Yorkshire and London, plus investment from Findmypast, all of which helps us continue to make Twile even more amazing.

We need your help!
As part of the Pitch@Palace boot camp, we will record a 1 minute pitch, which will be our entry into a ‘People’s Choice’ award, voted for by the general public. After our success at RootsTech in February, we would love your support again! We will be circulating information soon, so be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Thanks!

Caroline