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Let’s create a Family History Book. But let’s do it inexpensively.

First, reread How to Create a Family History Book in an earlier submission on this site. That piece essentially suggests that after you have researched several surnames as far as it appears possible, you should create a list of all the family surnames which descend to Grandfather 1, then a list of all which descend to Grandfather 2, and so forth.

If you think about it, this actually means you are collecting the names of all of the ancestors of your grandmother and those of your great grandmother, and maybe other grandmothers. At any rate, it will soon become clear how these surnames should be organized.

Here is how I organized mine, and named the books:
• The Bourlands and Allied Families From Massachusetts and Delaware: Barrett, Barron, Bigelow, Blandford, Brigham, Flagg, Frost, Gale, Garfield, Howe, Keyes, King, Mason, Moore, Prescott, Rice, Scott, Strutt, Tainter, Vassall, Ward, Warren, Wheeler, Wheelock and White

• The Ancestors of Mary Elizabeth Cardwell, wife of Elmore Claude Bourland, including the Allied Families of Ashby, Cardwell, Gill, Graham, McGary, Perrin, and Royall

• The Ancestors of Elizabeth Ann Bobbitt, wife of Harvey Rice Bourland, including the Allied Families of Berry, Bobbitt, Hackley, Rash and Warren

Now for each of these surnames, you will have created a Register Report using your genealogical software. In some cases you may have combined two surnames because the second generation or perhaps the third married and changed her surname. But if you have performed good research and followed your leads well, you will have something which looks like mine – 6 to 25 surnames per book. And don’t feel bad if the numbers are less, nor proud if more.

So, let’s say we have 8 surnames which descend to your great grandmother and the Register for each is saved in a folder.

You may have added pictures of persons or their environment to each Register. You may have taken key facts and put them in a “text box” with color and an enlarged font. Using whatever techniques appear appropriate, you will have made the Register as readable and attractive as possible.

Now let’s print each Register. But wait! Not on paper, select from your Print selection window the choice to “Print or Save as a PDF”. PDF stands for “Portable Document Format”. It can be opened and read by the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. Almost any computer made can open a PDF; and no one can alter its makeup easily.

Now to make a book, we must combine the several PDF documents (or Registers now in PDF form) into a single document. First, you will want to create a Foreword within which you might comment on the process of research you have used, and other appropriate observations. Next you should create a Table of Contents. Each of these documents should have a PDF created for them. And lastly make a cover for your book. Every document should be turned into a PDF.

Now starting with the Cover, you will add to it each PDF in turn. For this, simply drag first Foreword, then the Table of Contents, then each Register into its logical, alphabetical position behind the preceding PDF. Thus, you are turning one rather small PDF (the Cover) into a rather large one with all of the sections and Registers you have created.

Now you have an option requiring some money or some work.

Do what? What should be done is the following:
• Create an Index of each Section and Chapter, so that one can go to a surname with a mouse Click;

• Create an Index entry for special chapters or additions you may wish to include in the book. For example, a lengthy citation for an award given to someone, or an historical write-up of an event in which someone participated, or a Bibliography, or maps. For this we will need Adobe Acrobat Professional. This is a highly useful piece of software which allows you to add or delete pages, insert pages, combine documents and perform many useful operations on documents. It is also rather expensive for a one time use.

If you wish, buy Acrobat Professional at about $400, sometimes less. An alternative is to go to a Print Shop or Service Bureau which has the software and have them do it for you. After you have prepared a plan for this book and collected the Chapters and additional data you want, the time spent on Acrobat Professional is probably less than 1-2 hours.

Now you will burn a CD or DVD with the new Book and replicate it as many times as you wish.
Lastly, buy a Memorex CD Labeler for about $30 and create professional looking labels to apply to the CD or DVDs you have created.

You’re finished. You’re published.

You have left a legacy for your descendants!

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