Tutorial: How to make a “descendants of” timeline using Wikidata.

New tutorial now available:
Create instant location based timelines using Wikidata queries

Using the incredible querying power of Wikidata, Histropedia can now automatically create an instant timeline showing descendants of anyone who has a Wikipedia article.


Don’t worry if creating a timeline using a Wikidata Query sounds daunting and complicated, it’s actually fairly simple, especially with our step by step guide to show you how it’s done.


For this example we will be making a timeline showing descendants of Queen Victoria. 
Just want the timeline and not the tutorial? click here


1. Go to the Wikipedia Article for the person of interest

The first step is to choose the person who you are interested in and find their Wikipedia article. Normally a search on Google for the person’s name will return their Wikipedia article in the first or second result.


2. Navigate to the Wikidata Item

Once on the Wikipedia page, click on the link labelled “Wikidata item”. This will navigate you to the corresponding page on Wikidata.

Wikipedia Article

Wikipedia article showing the location of the link to its Wikidata item


3. Get the Wikidata item number for the person

The Wikidata item number begins with a Q and is next to the Title of the item (articles become items on Wikidata). The item number for Queen Victoria is Q9439

Wikidata item

Wikidata item showing the location of the item number

For this tutorial we only the need the item number, but if you scroll down the page you will see a long list of facts and information about Queen Victoria. Because of the way the information is structured it can be used to do all sorts of interesting things, like creating instant timelines on Histropedia! Here’s a link to the Wikidata home page if you want to learn more about the project.


4. Use the Item number to build a query that we can use to make a timeline

To create the timeline we have to add the item number to the URL template shown below.

Breakdown of the query URL for a descendants of Queen Victoria Timeline

The item number without the Q should be pasted into URL where the blue text is. Everything else can be left the same.

histropedia.com/timeline?q=tree[item number][40]

The item number for Queen Victoria was Q9439, first remove the Q so you are left with just 9439. Then insert the number into the template. The resulting URL should look like this


*This URL template is for all descendants of the person. At the bottom of the article you’ll find templates for other timelines like only living descendants or only female descendants.


5. Create the timeline

To create the timeline simply copy and paste the URL into a web browser.

Click here to run the example query for Descendants of Queen Victoria




Our timeline creating robot, Histrobot, will run the query on Wikidata and add the results straight to the timeline.



If you already have events on the timeline from a previous session, you will be prompted with the following message:

Merge or Replace (in answers doc)

Select “Replace” to discard the previous events and show the new result only. More info about the other options is available here


More URL Templates

We have created several templates for you to choose from. In each case simply replace the blue text in the URL with the Wikidata item number (without the Q) of the person of interest.

Female Descendants of:

histropedia.com/timeline?q=tree[item number][40]AND claim[21: 6581072]

Male Descendants of:

histropedia.com/timeline?q=tree[item number][40]AND claim[21: 6581097]

Living Descendants: 

histropedia.com/timeline?q=tree[item number][40]AND noclaim[570]

Relatives of:

histropedia.com/timeline?q=web[item number][25,22,40,26,7,9,1038]

IMPORTANT: the ‘relatives of’ timeline searches for every relative living or deceased and  can get very large, at present around 500 people is the maximum number that you can reach on the site (this limitation will be removed soon). For example, the “relatives of Queen Victoria” is too big to be displayed at present.


Part 2 of this tutorial will show you how to combine the queries above as well as introducing new ways to filter the query. There is also a list of 16 different descendants timelines for you to choose from.

NEXT: Descendants timeline tutorial Part 2: Combining Wikidata query statements


Any problems understanding the tutorial? Have some follow up questions? let us know in the comments below.


Also don’t forget to share your own “descendants of” timelines with us, the best ones will get included in our Timeline Directory!!


See latest post:

Presenting the Timeline Directory and Auto-Arrange

Sean McBirnie

Co-Founder at Histropedia

Latest posts by Sean McBirnie (see all)


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