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What happened on Your Birthday: Step 1 DISCOVER


"Chronologies" or "timelines" place historical events in a list based on the order in which when they happened. Chronologies are great for identifying an event or social condition that occurred on a certain date or within a certain time period.

Search Engines - Google Your Birthday

Another quick way to find out about a couple of things which occurred on your birthdate is to search for your birthdate with Google or another search engine. This is a rather hit-or-miss method to search, since what you find on the Web is only whatever someone happens to have put there, but you might be surprised at what you find.

For example, here's a Google search for  "June 10, 1991"  . (Be sure to include the quotation marks "  " around the date.)

Step 1 - Find Out What Happened

This page offers some tools which will help you find out what was going on in the world into which you were born. The tools include newspapers and news magazines, search engines and chronologies, both printed and online. From these you can select the event(s) and condition(s) about which you want to write.

Newspapers and News Magazines

The most obvious places to look for events that occurred on the day of your birth are daily newspapers which were published on that date, and weekly news magazines for the same week.

For example, try some of these:

Newspapers News Magazines

Many of the Library's online databases allow you to limit a search to a particular magazine or newspaper and to a certain date, week or other time period

Chronologies and Tools on the Web

  • dMarie Time Capsule
    This site lets you create a printable "time capsule" for any date in history since 1800 (though best after 1875). Enter a date and up pop newspaper headlines from the date, famous people born on the date, top songs, TV shows, books and toys, economic indicators, Academy Award winners and more.
  • Library of Congress - American Memory: This Day in History
    Discusses an important event or issue from American history for each month and day of the year. Includes related images from the Library's collections and links to information on related topics. You can also search the entire archives for specific words and topics. Click the "yesterday" or "tomorrow" link to get to previous dates and later dates.
  • This Day in History (The History Channel)
    The History TV Channel tells you what happened on March 12 (or any other day in history). Select a month and day, and if you want to, add a category such as "Crime," "Disaster," "Sports," or "Vietnam War." Includes brief articles, images and video clips.
  • On This Day (New York Times)
    Lists events which occurred on each month and day of the year throughout history. Links to New York Times newspaper articles about the events when available.
  • Life Magazine photos
    If you were born before 1980, you can look at photographs from Life Magazine to see what the big stories were.
  • American Cultural History: The Twentieth Century
    This website offers excellent background information about what was happening in the United States, decade by decade, from 1900 to 1999. Includes statistics, art and popular music, historic documents, people and personalities, television programs, movies and more. (No information for specific dates)
  • HyperHistory Online
    Choose People, History, Events, Science, Culture, Religion or Politics. Covers Pre-History through 2009.
  • Media History Project (University of Minnesota)
    Lists about 30 notable events for each year of the century. Good for getting a quick sense of what was happening in a particular year.
  • African American World Timeline (PBS)
    Good for background information, this site lists important events in Black history by year rather than by date. (For example, 1984: Jesse Jackson is the first African American man to make a serious bid for the U.S. Presidency.) Links to further information about the person or event are included.
  • A Short Chronology of Japanese American History
    Ends in 1988.
  • A German American Chronology
    Only useful if you were born before 1984.

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