Notes from the past…

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Daily Journal 31 Oct 2009: Dovie needs a timeline!

I spent most of the day looking at my great-grandmother Dovie C (Ruby) McBurnett Hall Stanley Epperson Priddy Bailey Copeland. Can you see my problem here? She wasn’t born with all those names, folks!

“Everyone needs a hobby” and Dovie’s hobby seems to have been collecting husbands! I have definitively documented the existence of 5 of these six husbands, and the order of these marriages. What I haven’t totally figured out was how they all became unhusbands. Did they all die mysteriously? Was she a “Black Widow”? Wouldn’t that be exciting! Now that would be a Black Sheep Sunday post!

But apparently that wasn’t the case, at least for 2 of the husbands. I spent several hours yesterday searching the old Fort Worth Star-Telegrams issues that are available at GenealogyBank, and was rewarded for my efforts:

this on page 23 of the 26 May 1920 edition:

Stanley divorce

I also found a similar article from 19 Sep 1920 for 3rd husband LW Epperson. These articles are only 4 months apart!

Dovie was a busy lady and some lawyer was getting rich!

Interestingly, Dovie is still living with Epperson in the 1930 census, so I guess they musta made up.

Want something even better than that? In the 1920 census, LW Epperson was Ollie and Ruby Stanley’s next-door neighbor! He is enumerated as the next person on the sheet after Ollie and Ruby…

Ok, by now all these name and dates are swirling around in my poor little Dr Pepper-nourished brain and I’m getting really confused! What I need is…

A timeline of Dovie’s marriages! All the names and dates on one piece of paper (or computer screen) in front of me, all together.

My RootsMagic program can create a timeline, but I don’t like it. I have also tried TimeToast and a couple of other online apps, but they’re not quite right, either. Too fancy. I just need something simple to clarify names and dates.

Some time ago, I read an article online about creating a genealogy timeline using Microsoft Excel. As I recall, I tried that, but never could get it to work right. It wouldn’t work with OpenOffice, which is what I use instead of Excel.

So last night I searched for a satisfactory timeline program, but still wasn’t happy with what I found. Kinda picky, ya know?

Ok, maybe I’ll try the Excel thing again. It’s been awhile, maybe it’ll work this time.

I got the directions from the Microsoft site, and tried it again with OpenOffice. And this time…it worked great!

Dovie's Marriages Timeline(click on it for larger view, please)

Nothing fancy, but it does exactly what I want: a direct and simple view of Dovie and all her husbands! Much easier now to figure out when and where to look for records on all these ex’s!

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…and every timeline in its place

Unscrambling Dovie McBurnett’s list of husbands, 5 at last count, has certainly pointed out the value of a timeline. It has made it much simpler to get all of the “Ex’s” into the correct order and the correct time period in her life. An invaluable tool!

Several months ago, I posted about Timetoast, an online interactive timeline creator that uses Adobe Flash. With it, I have been able to clearly illustrate Dovie’s busy love life! The neat thing about Timetoast is that the timeline can be embedded into a website or blog. That would work perfectly for me, as I use my blog as my research notebook. So having the timeline with all of my other data (documents and photos) seems quite natural.

The problem is that, the host of Bluebonnet Country Genealogy, does not allow flash embeds. Too much potential for abuse, I suppose. So no Timetoast at WordPress.

The solution? Blogger to the rescue!

I created a “plain vanilla” blog, just for the timelines. The link is in the right sidebar, under Research. Please check it out and let me know what you think!

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A new timeline creator

A few months ago I experimented with an online timeline application called xtimeline that I used to create a timeline for Dr N B Kennedy’s Civil War service. It created a pretty good timeline, nothing fancy, though.

Yesterday I read about another timeline application, timetoast. It is also free, so I signed up for an account. This evening, I created a very simple timeline depicting the life of my Mom, just to see how timetoast worked. I am impressed!

About Timetoast

Timetoast allows people to create interactive timelines, which they can share anywhere on the web. Anyone can join Timetoast and start creating and sharing their own timelines, all they need is a valid email address. It’s completely free!

Timetoast was created with Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex and Ruby on Rails; without them this website probably wouldn’t exist. We also used some of the delightfully tasty icons provided by Sweetie and FamFamFam.

This will make a very handy addition to my genealogical toolbox!