When studying genealogy, a time line can be an invaluable tool and source of information to help us put our ancestors in context. It is important to be aware of not only the major events and important people of the day, but also the small items as well. The common, everyday things are what really give flavor to any time period. For example, when the sons and daughters of our ancestors ten generations ago were born, Cheddar cheese was first made, Isaac Newton invented the reflecting telescope, watches utilized new “minute hands,” the first studies of geology began, the Paris Opéra was built, and Japan’s Mitsui Bank was founded. This time line, encompassing the years from 1640 to 1900, can only illustrate the tip of the historical iceberg, but we hope that it will help readers learn what was going on in the world when various members of their ancestry were alive.

You will see very quickly that this time line reflects the Western perspective. No disrespect was intended in omitting people and events of other cultures. The main focus of the project was on the events and environments of a particular lineage of English ancestry.