There are monographs concerning the creation of Family History books in earlier postings on this site, specifically:
• How to Create a Family History Book. which suggests putting your research which has come from many and multiple sources into chronological or other sequence by person, and creating books or Chapters using Register Reports.
• Let’s Create a Family History Book, which suggests what to do once you have ‘mostly’ finished your broad family research; arranging the families, creating PDFs from Register Reports, and combining all into a book with hard cover, soft cover or inexpensively on CD.
One of your most important books can be for your own or your spouse’s surname. If you will go to the “The Book” on the home page of this site, you will see that my first book concerned The Bourlands, Tracing a Family. This book covers about 11 generations, and 331 people – all of whom share the blood of our immigrant Bourland.
There are 106 pictures of blood relatives in the book, sent to me using techniques I will describe below. Before getting into genealogy and deciding on this book, I knew about 10 of the 331 people and had heard maybe of another 5.
Let me disclose that about one third of the 331 people are the children of the 10th and 11th generation. Their faces and bodies will change over the next few years – BUT, each one of these children can take pride in being in a book, AND owning a book about their family and heritage.
I call this a Wellness Factor in that it helps a child develop a sense of self, a person with roots and a feeling of importance. And who can’t use more of that.
Here is what you do:
Start with your address book and select relatives with the surname chosen (yours). Then call these uncles, aunts and cousins with whom you have limited contact and see if they know other members of the family.
Next get a copy of the document called Family Group Sheet (FGS), or sometimes called a Family Group Record (FGR). This document can be downloaded from www.familysearch.org and other sites. Or like everything else, when you have trouble finding something, pose a question to Google, Bing or Clusty!
Next write what will be a form letter or e-mail, as appropriate, covering the following points:
Dear Cousin, I am attempting to write a SURNAME book based on research I am conducting as a hobby in retirement. I hope you will participate. The book is projected to cost less than $20.00. I ask that you fill out the Family Group Record (FGR) attached.
• Please include if known the FULL name of each person, including middle name;
• Please include COUNTY name in addition to city and state f or all locations;
• Because I intend to write a book for the use of the extended family, I would ask that you send me an e-mail or other electronic communication addressing biographical items you would like included. You should consider covering your schooling, work career, homemaker career, hobbies, extracurricular activities in the community and the like, If you prefer, merely write this information of the back of the FGR;
• Finally, I ask that you send pictures of the each person as they will make the book much more interesting and provide considerable pleasure to the young children.
This data will not be placed on the Internet but remain within the family. I will treat all you submit with confidentiality, beyond the book itself.
You, as I was, will be amazed at the number of people who show up and contribute to the book, if you have pursued them with reasonable diligence. You will also be amazed at the breath of your blood relatives and the things they have accomplished in life.