See Historical Events Your Ancestors Lived Through and More—FamilySearch Update

May 21, 2019  - by 
Grandpa sharing history of airplanes with child.

When we learn about historical events in our ancestors’ lives, we can better understand who they were.

I recently read my grandfather’s account of visiting his first air show in 1912. He described seeing his first “airship” and the excitement he felt watching a prominent aviator perform an aerial stunt. Reading about his experience reminded me of his enthusiasm when he watched men land on the moon 57 years later. Do you know what historical events your relatives lived through? FamilySearch can help you find out!

A recently-released feature on helps you see historical events your relatives lived through. An additional update to the person page lets you toggle details on and off, giving you extra insight about who has added or changed information.

Historical Events Added to the Time Line Feature

Last year, FamilySearch updated the time line feature to help you make discoveries about your ancestors’ life events. With a more recent update, you can also see up to eight historical events on the time line. The historical events are randomly selected, but they give additional insights into what your ancestors might have experienced.

To try the time line feature, go to a relative’s person page in the FamilySearch Family Tree.

Under the person’s name, click Time Line to see your relative’s time line and map (you may need to toggle the map on to see it). Click Show to make sure Historical Events are turned on.

Turning on person page historical events.

Look through the time line to find a listed historical event. It will give a brief description of the significance of the event, and it may let you click the title for a more detailed explanation. My grandfather’s time line shows that a regional airport was built near his home in 1949—which was 37 years after he saw his first air show.

Historical event on ancestor page in the Family Tree.

For help using the time line feature, see Using the Time Line and Map in Family Tree.

Toggle Details On and Off

Another improved feature on the person page is found in the Details tab. When you go to this tab, you can now toggle the detail view on and off in the Vitals section and the Other Information section.

The detail view gives additional information about changes that have been made to a person’s record, including when it was changed and by whom.

Turning on detail view on FamilySearch ancestor page.

This feature allows better collaboration among family members who are interested in learning more about a common ancestor. When you click on the name of the person who made a change, a pop-up shows the person’s contact information and allows you to send a message.

Both of these new features can give us additional insight into our loved ones’ lives and allow us to connect and collaborate with family members to learn more about them. Visit the Family Tree on to explore your relative’s pages and see what new things you can find!

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  1. Looking for John Seabrook [Mariner] married Mary Ann McMuliin in Liverpool England in 1845 in the 1851 Census Mary Ann is a widow with son Robert, in the 1861 Census she has a daughter Mary. What became of John after 1845? Please if anybody can help I will be most grateful

  2. looking for information about my Great Grandfather Daniel Hatchin/Hutchen ,he married Ann Sarah Chamberlain on the 27th february 1862. Hope someone can help me.

    1. Hello Kathleen, Daniel Hutchen/Hatchin was my mother’s great grandfather. We do not have any supporting documentation, but it has always been the understanding in the family that he was originally from Spain. He and his brothers were orphaned and went to London. From there they came to Australia where Daniel jumped ship and settled in N.S.W. They had 13 children. We would appreciate hearing anything else you may know.

  3. I am having a lot of trouble downloading pictures to the family tree. I have windows vista, which is not supported by any thing any more. family doesn’t like my browser. I am not sure what is my best alternative. I can not buy a new computer right now.

    1. Robbie, I’m sorry you are having trouble. Do you by chance have a smartphone? There are ways you can download pictures with an app. You can also visit a family history center in your area that will have the updated computers that will allow you to download your pictures to the family tree. Click here to find a center near you.

  4. I love the timeline tied to a families life events, however, I’d love to print it out to share with family members. Please advise me if printing the Timeline is available. Thank you, Jack

    1. Hi Jack! Thank you for your question. The Family Tree software doesn’t currently have the function to print the timeline. However, you may be able to copy it and print it via your browser’s print function. Give that a try and see if it will work for your needs.

      1. Thank you Amy….I did it and it works great. I found it’s best to take these steps: 1) Open the “Detail” section and make sure you have checked each of the events for completion, spelling, etc., 2) Expand each event by clicking the “more” button, 3) Open the Timeline, 4) Turn off the “Map” button … this will allow you to print out full page widths as hard copies or into a PDF format to save to one’s file. Having the Timeline in a PDF format allows you to share it or even post it to the Memories of a respective person on your tree.
        Have a nice day, Jack