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I belong to a group of users of my genealogical software which is managed by the company which produced and owns the software – Leister Productions, Inc. The software is Reunion. They call this on-line group endeavor a Forum. In the Forum users pose questions by e-mail and answers are supplied sometimes by other users and sometimes by the company. The questions/answers are returned in a daily e-mail to all registrants. The ability to add a thread to each question is provided, which helps provide diverse answers to some questions.

Lately, there have been several questioning threads about producing a book covering one’s family research so that the reader can easily grasp the fullness and complexity of their ancestors. It might be useful for some if I describe how I approached this problem. There of course are other ways but here is mine.

When I reach a point in my research where I believe I have gone about as far as I can with a particular surname of a grandmother or grandfather, I create a Register Report from the top of the line down to the point where that surname intersects with my own surname. I stop there and indicate after the last name using a special color that the balance of the descent can be found in my own surname chapter. This Register report comes out in my software in WORD. I then “print” a PDF of this Chapter of the future book. Some people never look at the window which the command Print brings up, but in nearly all cases there is the ability to select a “print PDF” or “save PDF”.

Later on I can decide other surnames have gone as far as I can take them, or I have enough data to create another Chapter for the eventual book. Of course there are some surnames, grandmothers in particular, where you have absolutely nothing but their name or part of a name. For them, there will be no Chapter. They will merely appear as the spouse of another.

Now as the number of chapters increases you can make the decision to create a book by combining chapters.

Look at your Pedigree Chart and the book or books which will be meaningful should become obvious. In my case, I had some 25 surnames which touched Massachusetts prior to immigrating to other states. These 25 sometimes married into other surnames of mine so the affinity of the group was both geographical as well as interrelated. In another book the 5 surnames all originated in Virginia and had some inter-marrying. In yet another book of 8 surnames, these families came into Kentucky from North Carolina and Virginia and had certain relationships which suggested they belonged banded together. So far I have described only my paternal side. My maternal side created 14 chapters.

Banded together means of course that all surnames with sufficient data became chapters of their respective books. The books created a diverse number of pages, which would relate to the amount of information one could collect. So for each of the above described books, here are the page counts: 25 surnames in 971 pages; 5 for 189 pages; 5 for 325 pages; and 14 surnames for 595 pages. My own surname was 178 pages.

As you can see the books varied greatly.

And ….. there is the question of how one can combine chapters so that they become a book. Here’s the answer. Find a copy of  Acrobat Professional, either by buying it (rather expensive at about $450 or go to a Kinkos or other service center or friend and rent a few hours on their equipment and software. If you take to the service center a CD with all of your chapters sequenced as you wish them to be, it is a rather trivial exercise to use Adobe Pro to combine chapters together, create a bookmark in the to-be-book for the chapter and any data you might wish to highlight and then burn a new CD entitled as you wish. An example title of mine is: The Ancestors of Elizabeth Ann Bobbitt, Wife of Harvey Rice Bourland, including the Allied Families of Berry, Bobbitt, Hackley, Rash and Warren.

Another example of a title is: The Whites and Allied Families, including Baer, Baker, Darling David, Denny, Grafton, Hawkins, Kithil, Lang-Artz, Rees, Rockhold, Roland, Russell, and Stidhem.

In total for some 8 books I required Adobe Pro for about 3-4 hours.

I should mention one huge advantage of Adobe PDF and Adobe Acrobat Pro is that you can create or maintain color without paying for color copying because here you will be copying a CD.

I must add, to make these books more readable, you need to add to the WORD version and prior to PDF some graphics, clip art, pictures, in-line fact boxes and references to other chapters as appropriate. It would also be useful if you wrote a preface concerning why these particular surnames are groups or how they intermarried and so forth. Sometimes when there are many surnames involved, a diagram upfront can be helpful. All of these additions created in WORD beyond the Register Report can be added where they are appropriate by Acrobat Pro.

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