Our Process

The core value and purpose of Family Trees and Timelines is to put family history into artistic and visual form, taking genealogy out of storage closets and boxes, and, instead, putting it aesthetically into framed digital prints on the wall or into easily accessible portfolios. In addition, our mission is to preserve the personal identities of loved ones and ancestors, making them come to life for all to enjoy.

Family Trees

The family trees are fine artwork created by Jan Faught with pen, airbrush, and watercolor, which are then photographed and uploaded into Adobe Photoshop or InDesign. She hand letters the family names separately in calligraphy which are then uploaded into Photoshop and placed on the tree. The photographs of ancestors are repaired, corrected, and enhanced in Photoshop before placing them in the ovals on the tree. The end result is an artistic digital print on quality photographic paper that can be framed and hung on the wall in your home.

Your job, after selecting and purchasing your choice of family tree style, is to provide the family names and photographs that will go on the four generation family tree. Family names can be submitted online through the Forms page in our website. Instructions on how to submit photographs are found by going to the Submitting Photos page.  Select and buy a basic family tree design by navigating to the website Products page.

The order is scheduled according to workload and a completion date estimated. Upon completion of the tree, A PDF proof is emailed to you or put into a shared Dropbox file for approval.  After approval, your finalized 16×20 family tree is color printed on 17×22 quality paper and shipped to you in a flat shipping box.  You also receive an 11×14 print, an 8.5×11 print, and quality printable PDF file on disk.  It can be framed in a 20″ x 24″ glass frame.

Biographical History Timelines

The timeline combines family history and personal history for one person of interest into a single graphic display.  You can preserve your own life in a timeline, or the life-memory of someone important to you. If you have an older parent or grandparent that is still alive, you can interview them, collect their photographs with them, fill out the demographic table, discover the important historical events in their life, listen to their stories and create a story line with them. It is a lot of work on your part, but its fun, and, when completed, the rewards are great.  If you have done your own timeline, and those of your parents, your children and grandchildren will get a sense of the people who influenced their own psychological and cultural development.

The timeline can be framed (16 x 20) and hung on the wall or stored in portfolios (11 x 14 and 8.5 x 11) for easy access.  Each layout design and composition is created by Bob Faught using Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator.  The design can vary depending upon family size, available photographs, and the amount of information that exists about the person of interest.  There are two general categories of information: Genealogy and Personal Identity.  The timeline is further divided into the seven sections listed below:

1.  Person of Interest
2.  Parents and Grandparents
3.  Spouses and Children
4.  Siblings
5.  Demographic Table
6.  Biographical Storyline
7.  Historical Timeline

A sample generic Biographical History Timeline and Timeline Layout Illustration are shown below:

Biographical Timeline

Family Timeline Example

Generic Timeline Layout Illustration

Timeline Layout Illustration copy

Genealogy (Sections 1-4 in the Biographical History Timeline)

Genealogy consists of the parents, grandparents, spouses, children, and siblings of the person of interest. If a picture of a particular person is not available, then a square box with genealogical information can replace the photograph.  The full name, dates of birth and death, and relationship to the person of interest are located below each individuals photograph.  The genealogy on the timeline is not simply meant to document the biological family, but also to document the significant others who may  have had a strong influence on the person’s cultural and psychological development.

Personal Identity  (Sections 5-7 in the Biographical History Timeline)

The emphasis is on the life-world and personal identity of the person of interest.  Biographical, demographic, and genealogical facts are important, however, as much as possible, we also want to capture an understanding of who the person is or was.  Three mechanisms are used to capture the cultural and personal identity of the person of interest: a biographical storyline, a historical timeline, and a demographic table.

Biographical Storyline Section 6

The storyline for a generic timeline is divided into four life phases that each includes at least two photographs and a short narrative paragraph that describes the significant life events and experiences of the person of interest.  The phases could be life stages such as childhood (age 0-18), adulthood (age 19-40), midlife (age 40-60), and old age (age 60 +).  The paragraphs must be short and concise descriptions of those experiences, events, values, accomplishments etc., that shaped the character and identity of the person.  The idea is to get a feeling of who the person was fifty years after they have died.  See an example phase of my own storyline below:

Bob and Uncle TomUSS HornetBob lived with his Uncle until age 18, then went to college for one semester and quit to join the military, to be on his own. Bob signed up for the Army Special Forces but was talked out of it by his uncle. Instead he joined the Naval Air Force and became a green shirt on the flight deck of the USS Hornet. The Viet Nam war broke out a year later. If his uncle hadn’t talked him out of the Army, he may have been seriously injured or died in Viet Nam.

My time with my uncle (age 16-18), and my experience in the military (age 18-21) significantly influenced the person I came to be, which is why I made it an important phase in my own storyline.  Most people’s lives are complicated and full of changes, however, we want to select the four most defining and revealing phases of the person’s life.  If this were your own timeline, think of how you would want your great-great-grandchildren to know and remember you.

Historical Timeline Section 7

The historical timeline documents the person’s life events from birth to present (or from birth to death).  The historical timeline is divided into five year segments (fore example: 1945-49, 1950-54, etc.), spanning the person’s life.  Short descriptions of life experiences and events, embellishing and coinciding with the storyline, are placed in each five year segment.  In addition, newspaper headlines for certain years, if important or relevant to the person of interest, are included in the appropriate timeline segment, placing the person within history.  If a person lived through the Great Depression or World War II, that is certainly relevant to a person’s life story.  A sample historical timeline segment is shown below:

WORLD WARII ENDS: Bob is born June 1945
Grandfather dies 1948; Parents separate
Lives with grandmother at 19 Alston Court

The above segment is also from my own historical timeline.  I was born two months after World War II ended and I idolized Ike as a kid.  World War II places me in a time in history.  Eisenhower Elected refers to a person I looked up to as a hero.  So that is why I put those particular news headlines in my own historical timeline.

Demographic Table Section 5

The final section is the demographic table that documents the person’s worldview, places of residence, education, and marriage history.  The worldview describes the person’s orientation to the world, whether religious or non-religious, Christian or Buddhist, capitalist or socialist, liberal or conservative, naturalist, materialist, atheist or whatever best describes how the person relates to the world.  Educational history points toward one’s knowledge base, skills and abilities, and perhaps how one earned a living.  The history of residences shows the geographical regions within which the person lived.  For example, if a person grew up in the middle class suburbs of Southern California, that must say something significant about his or her cultural environment.

Customization of the Timeline

The timeline described so far is what I am calling the generic timeline.  You have to start somewhere, but in actuality, the timeline can be embellished with additional pictures depending upon the size of the family, and depending on the type, size, and quality of the pictures submitted.  For example, the work title for each person could be added below the genealogical photographs (for example: dentist, company owner, engineer, etc.).  If it is a small family size, filler family pictures can be placed in-between pictures of parents and grandparents, spouse and children, or in-between siblings.  Pictures can be larger if there is not very much known about the person, or smaller pictures can be used to allow for more narrative if that is important.   The following timeline for Elinor has 32 photos and shows what kind of variation can be accomplished:


The large photo was used to highlight her being a Powers model in NYC., and the timeline beneath it was shortened to accommodate it.  Her parents and siblings take up the left column because there were no photos of her grandparents,  while her two marriages and all her children appear on the right column.    This was the best arrangement to capture who she was given the information and photos.  Consider the below customized timeline for Thomas who was born in 1876 and died in 1948 shown below:


We had only the names of his parents which we put in boxes at the top of the left column.  Below that is his wife and his three children; however, in the right column images and symbols representing information from his timeline were used.  There is a picture of Mary Baker Eddy since he went to the Christian Science church; a picture of the first automobile since he lived through the transition from horses to automobiles; a picture of the first airplane flight by the Wright Brothers; there is a picture of Emerson since he had Emerson’s collected works in his personal library; there is a picture of Edison since he worked with Edison to patent detonators for bombs later used in WWII; there is a symbol for Free Masonry since he was a member of the Grand Lodge of NYC.  His storyline was filled with the information we had about him.   On the other hand some timelines can have a lot of pictures and information as shown in the below timeline for Jan having 40 photos:


Her parents and grandparents are in the left column, while husband and children are in the right column.  Her sister and step-children are shown in the bottom column since she only had one sibling.  Her timeline follows the generic timeline that should be the starting point for all timelines;  we simply added more pictures.

We can work with whatever data and pictures you supply us, since each timeline is different and unique.

CRITICAL:  It must be recognized that the generic timeline can only support a family size of approximately fifteen people.  The parents and grandparents are always six persons.  That means the spouse and children, or the combination of spouse and children and siblings cannot exceed nine persons.  Siblings could be left out entirely if necessary.  If the family size is greater than nine, then you must call the business phone and get a quote for a larger timeline.  The cost to expand the timeline beyond the generic format is significant, because the paper size must increase to one that requires going to an external printing company.  In addition, custom design and layout work must be added, a larger shipping box is needed, etc.  Call us at (801) 930-9087, and let us see what we can work out.

Ordering A Biographical History Timeline

Your job, after selecting and purchasing a particular timeline layout, is to provide all the information and photographs as described above.  The timeline is complex and requires several forms to be completed.  Forms are provided in the Timeline Forms page on the menu bar for each section of the timeline.  Print out the paper forms, complete, and mail them along with your photos.  You must follow the instructions in the Submitting Photos page on the menu bar.  Print out and complete the Timeline Photos Form in the Submitting Photos page  and mail it along with your photos.  Follow the instructions on scanning photos onto a CD, or you can make quality paper copies and mail them to us.  There are no electronic forms at this time for the timelines.   It is best practice to gather all the information, complete all the printed-out paper forms, collect all photos on disk or make quality copies, label all photos according to the Timeline Layout Codes, then purchase the timeline.  After purchasing the timeline, mail all the forms and photos in one package.  Please identify your package with your name, address, email address, and phone number.  If you have an invoice number or sales receipt number, that would be very helpful.  

Scheduling Your Order

Your order is scheduled according to workload and a completion date estimated.   We will do our best to meet the target date we give you in the beginning.  Upon completion, a PDF proof is emailed to you or put in Dropbox for possible corrections.  After approval, your finalized timeline is color printed as 16×20 image on 17 x 22 quality photographic paper that can be framed and placed on the wall.  In addition, you will receive an 8.5 x 11 and an 11 x 14 print on photographic paper that can be stored in easily accessible portfolios.  You will also receive a printable PDF file or your Timeline on disk.  The file can be used to add the timeline to any family publication or book.   The three prints and disk will be mailed to you in a flat shipping box.

Caring for Your Family Tree or Timeline

To archive, store in a dark place, away from high temperatures, high humidity, and direct sunlight.  To prevent fading, do not display your prints outdoors or in places exposed to direct sunlight. When displaying your framed prints indoors, we recommend placing them in glass frames to preserve the colors in your image.