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The genealogy software I use is Reunion. They offer a website which permits members to ask a question or answer one. Members receive a daily update of these postings, or let’s call them a conversation.

Reunion is not unlike most other genealogy software offerings in that it offers output from your database of information on the family in word processor format. Nearly all of these outputs, one way or another, can reach WORD from Microsoft format. This monograph will relate to the WORD version of your data.

Lately the Reunion daily member conversations has centered around several participants’ wishes for a better book writing software than WORD. Suggestions have included inDesign, Printfolio, PageMake,  NeoOffice and others. While my book “Getting Started in Genealogy” mentioned elsewhere on these pages was done in inDesign and for a large audience, my family histories were for family and did not require such efforts. Let me illustrate.

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Here is what you see above as pages 8 and 9. These are two pages output as a Register Report into a Rich Text Format (.rtf) and then Saved as a WORD document (.doc).

What you should notice are the following.

I chose to alter the color of the direct line males to blue in order to highlight them. Their spouse, or my grandmothers were changed to red. Not necessary, but a useful highlight as you consider great-uncles and aunts also appear in these Registers.

Next you will notice I took what I consider important or interesting facts and inserted them into a box in red, in order to gain or retain the attention of the reader. As you know a picture is worth 1,000 words, and since early immigrants provided no pictures, the red boxes are a substitute. For modern day people, a picture can be substituted easily. (See the earlier posting entitled Pasting Pictures or Graphics into WORD). Clip-art graphics can also be useful, as for example using the clip-art of a man with a scythe to illustrate one of your farmer ancestors; or a Bible for a preacher.

You will also note that there is no paragraph indentation. This is because as one collects Notes on one’s ancestors, you often learn more or different facts and it is useful not to have to alter indenting as you add or alter the sequence of sentences.

While it will be more obvious in the next illustration, I keep my Notes in chronological  sequence. There are other standards I used such as Wills and Contracts which appear in the Notes are in italics and certain important facts or paragraphs are either bolded or in red or another color.

But be certain – none of these techniques cost much time after your research is finished or at least ready for publication, and yet provide most useful attention grabbers for the reader.

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You might also notice there has been added to the Notes certain facts or historical references because as you know, genealogy is actually a history course for we who practice. See the last sentence in the page above.

Lastly, since it is probably the most important point a genealogist can make, you will notice there are references to Endnotes for the Sources of the data. Sourcing for data is more important, it is said, in genealogy than in a court of law.


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