I always intended this blog to be about the process of writing my book and not just the subject of the biography: Captain Thomas Bowrey. I have been reminded about this recently. My current bedtime reading is Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques by George G Morgan and Drew Smith: http://www.ancestralfindings.com/advanced-genealogy-research-techniques/
The authors stress the use of timelines in genealogical research. I have also used them many times and, combined with family reconstruction, they have assisted me in the breaking down of brick walls. I just wish I could find a really helpful timeline software package.
I have tried Twile: http://www.twile.com and it was really fun to work with but I still hate the idea of keeping my data on the Internet. My OCD nature means that I want a package I can use offline and I have not been able to find one. I would love it if someone had a recommendation. Meanwhile, if you are looking for an online tool with which to interest the Facebook generation in family history, Twile would be a really great choice.
In my experience, timelines are also essential for writing a family history or biography. I am only on my fourth chapter and have already used more than one. I certainly could not have written my chapter on Bowrey’s involvement in the case of the Worcester without a timeline.
Anyone familiar with the Worcester story will be aware of just how complex the story is. Bowrey was one of the freighters for its trading voyage which departed from the Thames for India in March 1702. Following a difficult voyage, the ship was forced to put into the Firth of Forth in July 1704. Here, as a result of otherwise unconnected events involving two Scottish ships (the Speedy Return and the Annandale), the Worcester was seized and the captain and crew tried for murder and piracy. Captain Thomas Green, his Chief Mate John Madder and a gunner John Simpson were executed the following year. Opinions still differ as to whether or not the three were guilty but one of the consequences of the executions is believed to have been the political union of Scotland and England.
A great deal was written about at the time and is still being written today. Any Google search will produce multiple results. In order to bring everything together, a timeline was invaluable. It helped me to understand the complex issues connected to the story.