Naturalization PetitionThe afternoon I assembled the entire immigration story of one line of my family when a distant relative’s Petition for Naturalization led to the original last name.

Gma's TreeThe breakfast over which my grandmother dictated her family tree going back six generations, with amusing anecdotes for nearly everyone.

Leavenworth fingerprintsThe months of research that amassed a trove of records related to the family black sheep, whose misdeeds had lain buried for over a century.

These are some of the highlights of two decades spent researching my family tree. When I think back to them, what stands out in my mind is less the elation I felt when I finally connected the dots, and more the excitement to share my discoveries with the rest of the family.

I started by putting together trees, but the story got lost behind all the facts and figures. I tried writing up accounts with pictures, but some relatives complained they were too long, and other relatives couldn’t keep track of all the names and dates and places and relationships. Finally, I carefully organized everything into a web site, but there were just too many links for anyone to read everything. Somewhere along the way, I started focusing so much on the presentation that I lost track of the heart that went into my research.

I looked around the web and saw that I wasn’t the only one struggling. Many other family tree web sites have the same shortcomings as mine. Even the most popular tools emphasize the sheer mass of genealogical data at the expense of personal narratives. Everyone I know who researches their trees wants to share the same kinds of stories as I do in a way that honors the ancestors who lived them and inspires our relatives who can learn from them. But how?

That’s where Treelines come in.

Treelines are storylines for your family tree.

We are something new: a tool focused entirely on the stories that your hard-won genealogical discoveries reveal. For example, an orphanage file urges you to reconsider what you thought you knew about your grandmother’s childhood. A letter connects the dots between your grandfather and the mysterious siblings he left behind when he moved west. A photograph brings you closer to the moment when your great-great-great-grandfather made history. The thrill of the chase of the elusive record may be what keeps us going, but the recovered stories these records outline are the bigger reward. We want to help you tell these amazing stories.

Treelines aims to become the default tool you will use to curate and share the family stories you uncover. We are genealogists like you, so we will pick up exactly where your family tree leaves off without requiring duplicate work. It will be easy and low-effort. Here you’ll find a new outlet for expression that you can’t find elsewhere.

We hope that for you, as for us, Treelines will get to the heart of why we research our family trees:

  • To enrich our family and ourselves emotionally and spiritually.
  • To personalize history and make it present in our lives.
  • To recognize that the world is bigger than us.
  • To understand how we came to be and where we are going.
  • To give our own pursuits meaning and context.

Taking the time to appreciate the lives of our forebears keeps us honest about who we are and reminds us of our own potential. The more that we genealogists can share the best stories of our ancestors’ struggles and triumphs, the more all of our family members can learn from their lives. We at Treelines would be honored to be your partner in this leg of your genealogy journey.


Treelines was created by Tammy Hepps, winner of the RootsTech Developer Challenge, who combines in Treelines her significant experience in both technology and genealogy. Learn more »