Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2016

A Few Lines of History

Quite awhile ago, I heard about the biography-generating website New users were permitted a free test-drive, so I gave it a try. I uploaded a small GEDCOM and generated a biography for my great-great-grandfather, Andrew Jackson Kerr. It was pretty nice, but I'm on a budget so I didn't become a HistoryLines subscriber, and I pretty much forgot about it.

In the meantime, the new iteration of Ancestry has been forced upon its members despite unbridled and voluminous dissatisfaction, and the new Ancestry includes a "Lifestory" view which also met with much disapproval.

This morning, I received an email from HistoryLines informing me that the biography I'd generated has been expanded with a new paragraph about the introduction of the telephone, so I went to have a look.

I have to admit, HistoryLines has quite an impressive product there, and what little I know about my ancestor has been well placed into a story about the history that went on around him. He's called into each paragraph of the story via a mention of how old he was when the various historic events happened. In addition to national events, the narrative includes several local events specific to the place he lived.

In a side-by-side comparison of the story generated by HistoryLines versus Ancestry's Lifestory view, well, really, there is no comparison. HistoryLines has got it all over Ancestry. Check out the biography of Andrew Jackson Kerr at HistoryLines and you'll see what I mean.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

You are correct; this is amazing and so very much better than Ancestry. I took my complete Ancestry tree down because of the controversy with Ancestry discontinuing Family Tree Maker which was my major reason. However, another reason was the horrible way that Ancestry did the "Lifestory". Most of the Lifestories on my ancestors were full of very flagrant errors.

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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