Create a Location Bar

I decided that above my Date Bar, I’d make a simple Location Bar to show which County/State my ancestor was living in through the years.

  • Select a row for your Location Bar.  (Row 4)  It should be a row that is high enough to enter the information you’d like.  I wanted to enter a date range and a location.
  • Using the Date Bar as a guide, follow the same steps as for the Date Bar to create the Location Bar.  I merged cells that would have been the date range for a specific location.  For example, I have information that says my ancestor was born around 1813 in North Carolina.  The next location record I have for him is an 1840 census in Mississippi.  So I merged cells to cover 1813 – 1840.  Because I don’t know if he moved during that time, I put 1813 – ? and North Carolina.
  • Merge appropriate cells across the time range until all locations are entered.
  • Again, you can border each cell.  I chose to put a border on the top and bottom and then I used color to indicate if there was a question as to how long he lived in a certain location.  As a minimum, I suggest doing each location in a different color so it is easy to see when your ancestor moved.  To fill in color:
    • Highlight the cell(s) and click the icon for fill color.
    • You can choose one of the theme colors or you can click on “more colors” to choose from a color wheel of sorts.
    • You can also choose to add a texture or effect to convey information.  Because I don’t know exactly when my ancestor moved from North Carolina to Mississippi, I chose to add a gradient effect to make the color gradually fade out.  This reminds me to keep my timeframe for research flexible.

      • To make a special effect with your coloring:  Right-click in the cell you will be formating and choose “Format Cell”.
      • Under the “Fill” tab, click on “Fill Effects”
      • There are various choices here.  You can select your color or colors at the top and you can choose different shading styles at the bottom.  Look at the different options and then click on the box with the desired design.   Because I knew a specific date that my ancestors WAS in a location but didn’t know when he moved from that location, I chose to start my box with solid coloring that gradually fades out.
  • I used the same steps to also add a Location Bar for my ancestor’s father directly above his Location Bar.


That can show me areas that I may not have considered searching before because all I had in my group sheet was a date and location.  For example, census records say that William Stephens was born around 1813 in North Carolina.  But William’s father, Welcome’s timeline shows that he is listed in the tax records of Adair Co, Kentucky in 1812.  So either William was born in Kentucky, or he was born before 1812.  If he was born before 1812, then I might search in Buncombe Co, NC, where Welcome was located in the 1810 census.  A good researcher already is looking at this, but seeing it in a visual format keeps it in the front of my mind – not jumbled in with all of the dates and locations in my mind as I’m looking at group sheets.

Coming next time – adding Call Outs to show additional information.

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