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rms2
08-12-2018, 03:16 PM
Has anyone used it for that purpose? Any good?

I am probably going to start putting together a family history book very soon. Mostly it will be an update, with the addition of a lot of genetic testing results and some old family photos, of the excellent book completed in 1945 by a great grandaunt of mine and then updated in 1973 by a 1st cousin 2x removed. It will probably take me at least 2-5 years to finish.

I've been waiting for the BIG breakthrough on my y-dna line before doing the book, but I'm starting to think maybe I should just go ahead and do it, or the book might never get done.

rms2
08-12-2018, 07:49 PM
This is a good time to start working on a family history book, since I am starting to find Anthrogenica kind of boring. It's not the site's fault; there's just not much of interest to me going on.

msmarjoribanks
08-12-2018, 08:24 PM
Might as well start it, you can always add in the big break-through when it comes, as the writing will take time!

I haven't used that program so nothing of use to contribute. FTM was my first genealogy software, but that was a long time ago. Haven't used it for years for any purpose and lost everything I had on it when that computer died, which is annoying, but it's also probably good I've been forced to redo things. Anyway, excited to see someone posting in this Genealogy Apps section, as I've been thinking of starting a thread on GenomeMatePro.

Personally, I need to pick a project to focus on instead of bouncing around, so I admire your focus. (On the other hand I'm new enough that catching up on old threads can be pretty interesting still. Finally managed to read through the whole Oldest Steppe Bell Beaker one.)

JonikW
08-12-2018, 09:36 PM
I'd like to do the same. Sadly though, I'm almost the only one in my family with an interest. We have family portraits on one line going back hundreds of years; on others we were farm labourers, miners etc. I think I'm the only one who still remembers first hand stories from my grandparents born in the early 20th century. They include things like what my grandfather told me of his first day down the mine in Cwmbran at the age of 14 (I still remember how much coal he loaded that day) and my grandmother on the other side telling me of her grandfather speaking Welsh to a Breton onion seller and their mutual understanding. I think I'm the only person alive who remembers that stuff because I loved listening to my elders. Perhaps I'll devote my impoverished retirement to it when it comes.

rms2
08-12-2018, 09:50 PM
I got a lot of oral history from my maternal grandmother. I wish I had been more methodical in my questions and had written things down, but I was just a kid.

JonikW
08-12-2018, 10:15 PM
I got a lot of oral history from my maternal grandmother. I wish I had been more methodical in my questions and had written things down, but I was just a kid.

Same here. We came across some autobiographical notes written by my great grandmother recently, who I knew as a small child in the 70s when she was in her nineties. She describes seeing Queen Victoria in London, and the Empress of India being an unremarkable, small fat woman. She made a lot of interesting observations that I'll have to add to the archive. It's good that she had the foresight to describe her childhood with addresses where they lived and other details. I've visited some of the sites as a result.

msmarjoribanks
08-13-2018, 12:50 AM
I wish I'd cared more about family history stuff when my grandparents were alive. With my dad's parents there wasn't an opportunity -- they died when I was very young and his father was estranged from his family anyway, and I inherited a lot of work later on from my dad's older cousin who grew up in the area where his mother was from. My mother's mother was into it, and I've been able to go through some of her papers but she died when I was in college. My mother spent a lot of time going through old family photos and labeling them after she retired and I was surprised at how much there was.

There's not a lot of letters or reminiscences immediately in my family, but I've been able to come across some that others have that are fascinating -- although I'd have to ask for permission to use them if I ever got around to doing anything. One is a letter from my gg grandfather Frank who immigrated from England to the US around 1871, when he was 21. He grew up in a pretty well-off, urban environment near London, and then moved to the middle of nowhere and the letter is one he wrote to his sister back home when snowed in in a cabin in Wyoming Territory. It just seems like such a shocking change.

A distant cousin on that side has a lot of letters from one of that family's in-laws (Frank's mother's uncle). The reference to Queen Victoria made me think of them, since there's one about her coronation:

"The coronation of our young Queen was celebrated by us in high style. The day was ushered in by the roar of cannon – this roused our young Townsmen about 3 in the morning when they were all on the alert to decorate the arches which were around the town. The most chaste and elegant was one from Mr Suggates to Mr Beales. Mr Crabtree’s house was also beautifully ornamented with flowers, you know it is quite of the cottage order, the windows roof and porch were all decorated wh. with its rustic style gave it to my idea the appearance of a Swiss dwelling. Standing on that angle of the street and looking through Mr Suggates arch to Mr Easterson’s house, which was after the same manner, the effect was really beautiful. The Town from one end to the other was a continuation of garlands and devices of various kinds. The preparations began over night and several travelling gents said they had seen no other to equal it anywhere around. The weather you know was rather unsettled, this made us a little anxious, as the poor were all to be regaled by a dinner of cold roast beef and hot plum pudding. They were to dine in the Street to the number of 1,200, 28 persons to each table with a President and Vice-President. They extended from the Sun Inn to Mr Athill’s house, it was a pretty sight. The utmost order prevailed, some of the tables adorned with flowers, with the Presidents & vice chairs according to the taste of their ladies. I hope I shall in your next parcel to be able to put in a paper which will give you some idea of the pains taken to pursue peace & quiet and the harmony that prevailed certainly recompensed the gentlemen for their previous trouble. After dinner such as chose were to repair to the gravel pit to finish the day with rustic sports and thousands I suppose did so, but here the rain sadly annoyed them. However, they jumped in sacks (illegible) notwithstanding the pelting drops...."

There's a bit in the letter about one of the daughters on our side of the family that sounds it could be in a novel of the period:

"You say “I mean to write to Sarah Reeve as soon as I can” – why write to Sarah? I do not say you have deceived her, but I do think you have trifled with her feelings more than you ought to have done. Therefore I would choose any one of the family as a correspondent rather than her. She is an amiable girl and would like very much to go out as governess – prudently reflecting that so many girls at home is unnecessary. I should like so much to hear of a comfortable situation for her. Sophia is a member of Mr Craig’s church. I think there is great firmness in her character, yet there are eccentricities wh. it were well did not exist – she would like to be a recluse in my opinion. She never wishes to join any party nor does she unless obliged. In the family she is but little seen, her engagement in interesting her sister occupies much of her time and what she has to spare is devoted to reading. She rises very early and devotes the chief of her pocket money to religious purposes, so there is strong principles at bottom I hope, but this line of conduct does not clothe her profession in a lovely garb."

Dave-V
08-13-2018, 01:01 AM
I looked at FTM when I did my own family history book in 2011, so admittedly that was eons ago, but at least at the time the book-making options were pretty crude - it was more the ability to organize and print family group sheets along with pictures in sort of a scrapbook output format, and I had already done that myself manually. For distributing to my family, I wanted to make a more polished narrative interspersed with pictures, more like a real book.

I finally went with a self-publishing site called Blurb (http://www.blurb.com) which allowed me a lot more creative control over the output. The end result in PDF form is here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1oWf7A5py4AWXdpQ3pfT1NVYlU which you’re welcome to not because it’s what I think you should do but only if it gives you ideas for organizing your own.

In 2011 I didn’t have any genetic genealogy information that mattered within the last 250 years so I didn’t include it in my immediate family history book, but I did a two-part book series and the first volume was the legends and facts around the origins of my family surname. In that first book I did include what little I knew in 2011 about our origins through DNA; mainly just being L21 and the prehistoric background.

Of course when I distributed copies to my family apart from a few “cool, thanks” responses what I mostly got was “you must be wrong because the family stories I was told are completely different.” Ah well. :-).

RobertCasey
08-13-2018, 06:01 AM
My experience was the same as Dave's. All the genealogy generated books just lack the needed flexibility and end up looking like computer generated books. Here are the issues that I found: 1) indexing with flexibility is not there (I wanted to add birth year and residence to name index); 2) interjection of narrative for major sketches showing your logic for proof looked just inserted; 3) references usually are lacking in flexibility; 4) Inserting photographs and key source documents are difficult and captions for photographs hard to accomplish; 5) introductory sections require some special treatment; 6) printers now require Adobe PDF for input for any kind of higher quality book or print on demand book; 7) no flexibility to combine families into a single sketch - waste 20 to 40 % of space which just increases the number of pages and costs.

I used Ventura Publisher (now probably hard to find now). I compiled nine 600 page books (four in paper form):

http://www.rcasey.net/acrstrt2.htm

I was able to publish around 60,000 individuals in the nine books. I could also combine into one huge publication with a master index and also generate HTML versions. But you have printing cost issues that nobody can avoid. If you print 50 to 100 copies, print on demand is the only economical choice. If you print 200 or more books, you have the option for a much higher quality book (Smythe sewn, 32 page signatures that are folded and sewn together (much more durable), cloth bound hardback books and better choice of papers to make photos look the best but not too shiny that text looks funny. My first two books were 8 1/2 x 11 inch which creates a lot of white space (more costs). The last two books were 6 x 9 and looked much better. Print on demand is perfect bound - cut pages roughed up and then glue to the thick paper binder. My third book was 864 pages 6 x 9 inch, the first 100 copies were around $40 per copy, extra copies were only $7 each which makes you buy too many. With print on demand - you only get a five percent discount going from 100 to 200 copies. Both now require electronic PDF copies which FTM can not produce - major issue. Printers now charge a premium of paper ready copy which just scanned which can have issues for lower end printing options. Major printers (with the lowest costs) will not accept anything but PDF input (with images included).

rms2
08-13-2018, 11:34 AM
I looked at FTM when I did my own family history book in 2011, so admittedly that was eons ago, but at least at the time the book-making options were pretty crude - it was more the ability to organize and print family group sheets along with pictures in sort of a scrapbook output format, and I had already done that myself manually. For distributing to my family, I wanted to make a more polished narrative interspersed with pictures, more like a real book.

I finally went with a self-publishing site called Blurb (http://www.blurb.com) which allowed me a lot more creative control over the output. The end result in PDF form is here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1oWf7A5py4AWXdpQ3pfT1NVYlU which you’re welcome to not because it’s what I think you should do but only if it gives you ideas for organizing your own.

In 2011 I didn’t have any genetic genealogy information that mattered within the last 250 years so I didn’t include it in my immediate family history book, but I did a two-part book series and the first volume was the legends and facts around the origins of my family surname. In that first book I did include what little I knew in 2011 about our origins through DNA; mainly just being L21 and the prehistoric background.

Of course when I distributed copies to my family apart from a few “cool, thanks” responses what I mostly got was “you must be wrong because the family stories I was told are completely different.” Ah well. :-).

Whoa! Nice!

rms2
08-13-2018, 04:03 PM
. . .

I finally went with a self-publishing site called Blurb (http://www.blurb.com) which allowed me a lot more creative control over the output . . .

Did you jump right away into the stuff you have to pay for, or were you able to use their free stuff for awhile?

This is likely to take me two or more years, so I am wondering how that will work.

RobinBMc
08-13-2018, 10:53 PM
I made a book years ago but it's horribly outdated now since I've found so much more since then. I used MyCanvas which I liked but it was designed to be much more visual and image heavy. This worked because I have I lot of photos but I'd be doubling the amount of text and MyCanvas isn't ideal for that so I've been thinking about using something else.

Dave-V
08-14-2018, 04:09 AM
Did you jump right away into the stuff you have to pay for, or were you able to use their free stuff for awhile?

They have a free publishing tool that you download to build your book, so you can do all the work without paying for anything. They also now have two tools you can download - one is simpler to use but I think is made more for photo albums, and the other is the updated version of the one I used that gives you more control.

You do all the work to build the book (import pictures, put them on pages, mix in text, etc) and it stores all the data on your own computer. Then when you have a version you want to print in hardcopy, you upload it (“publish” it) and then it becomes available in their bookstore (you can mark it private or public). You only pay once you order a printed copy, and then again they have lots of choices - hardcopy vs paperback, grade of paper, etc - that drives the cost.

My books in hardcopy cost me $75 apiece so obviously you don’t get the price breaks per book of mass commercial print runs, but it was well worth the effort IMHO.

I’ve used them a few times since then to make hardcopy photo albums so I’m pretty sure the procedures are still basically the same as when I was putting my family history books together.

RobertCasey
08-14-2018, 04:53 AM
Ventura Publisher V10 is now only $149 and is a real powerhouse and will allow you to do almost anything you want and not be tied to any print-on-demand vendor. Going with a high offset web press is more economical than print on demand at around 200 copies. Also, the more pages, the less per page where print on demand just goes a very small amount. So it is critical that you decide the quantity over anything else. The first 150 copies are about what you can sell your book for and after that they drop to 20 to 25 % of retail.

http://gpmtuobcvxoyqdna.depotapps.com/product/corel-ventura-10/

rms2
08-14-2018, 01:42 PM
I'm guessing these tools allow you to upload gedcom and Ancestry material and do indexing, as well? One of my concerns is organizing family groups in a way that clearly shows who is descended from whom. I also want a system that is easy to understand.

One of my concerns is also with the modern mania for privacy, which is at least somewhat legitimate, given the problem of identity theft.

What living people are going to want to appear in my book with any kind of identifying info, like birth dates and places of residence, if they fear their identities might be stolen?

Dave-V
08-15-2018, 03:08 AM
I'm guessing these tools allow you to upload gedcom and Ancestry material and do indexing, as well? One of my concerns is organizing family groups in a way that clearly shows who is descended from whom. I also want a system that is easy to understand.

One of my concerns is also with the modern mania for privacy, which is at least somewhat legitimate, given the problem of identity theft.

What living people are going to want to appear in my book with any kind of identifying info, like birth dates and places of residence, if they fear their identities might be stolen?

Blurb at least is not genealogy-focused; it’s just a self-publishing aid that helps you upload your own pictures and information. So it doesn’t have anything tailored to genealogy like nice formatting of gedcoms or family tree information, you have to do that yourself. But anything that you can get into a PDF format or JPG/PNG/etc (pictures) can be uploaded and formatted nicely on a page however you want.

It seems to be a tradeoff between using genealogy tools that are light on formatting and publishing options, and publishing tools that are light (non-existant, really) on genealogy indexing/reporting/etc. I went with the latter and produced my own reporting for all the family information I wanted to include.

That also meant I had full control over the content also, and for privacy reasons I reported for the most part only up to the most recently departed generations and I didn’t include any detailed information about living relatives. Yes I certainly included information about the parents of my oldest living relatives, but I don’t really think any identity thieves are going to be data-mining the book for those tidbits. These days identity theft is more about stealing personal data in bulk.

rms2
08-16-2018, 11:28 AM
I may get Family Tree Maker to help me create the charts, etc., and combine it with the self-publishing site for the flexibility.

MikeWhalen
08-16-2018, 03:41 PM
neat topic, I had not seen it before

much like some of the others, many years ago, I too checked out FM's book making option, but it seemed clunky and odd.

In the end, I simply wrote it all myself. There probably was some sites that help publish back then like some of the guys are talking about, but really, I write reports all the time, and did about a zillion of them back in the University years, so it was pretty easy and no complications of some 3rd party having anything to do with my 'Whalen Saga'

It was not very difficult. I had to learn a few tricks on how to paste a pic in the word doc I was creating and such
...but I handled it as if I was writing a major paper
...figured out the main chapters, all fairly logical and in general historical order-historical past that was relevant, last few hundred years of personal genealogy, last 50ish years story, dna story, relevant dna testing, big NPE story that was fun to tell, a chapter devoted to family stories and myths, and yes, I broke a few hearts there (ie: no connection to Churchill, yes a titanic survivor and a big flim flam of guys trying to trick my gpa out of a ton of money back in the depression saying we were big heirs to a US fortune)

I have one bit of advice for those thinking of doing their family story, for what ever its worth
I included a ton of DNA stuff that was outdated before I printed it all-I mean alot of science detail, that I revised and shrunk many times and still kept way too much that was not much use-and the key point, the real audience for this work has zero interest or background in the hard core science and anything more than a simple paragraph was too much
...now this was for my circumstances, yours might be different, but fyi

...so a small warning for folks, we who love the hobby, always want to include pretty much everything, including the kitchen sink in our presentations... giving a super detailed explanation as to why some small test of ours was wonderfully revealing, only to find, other than us, NO ONE GIVES A CRAP! NO ONE UNDERSTANDS AND YOU CANT MAKEM!
:)

my family loves me and is interested in family stories..much like others have found
...if I shrink what ever dna/genealogical news I have down to 1 or 2 sentences, and frame it like a click bait story (human interest, drama, blood ect) I can keep their interest, but if I present anything more detailed.... while polite, their eyes glaze over and they take the first chance to change to topic to toe fungus or something more interesting :)
which gets back to the point, who exactly will be the consumer of this product...academia?, your local community? just close family?

In any case, it took me a couple of years to write it (off and on, only when I felt like it) and self publish. I think it ended up being around 250 pages and quite thick. I cant remember what I paid for it to be copied and bound at Staples...I did the cheap thing and it might have been 50-70 bucks per. It had many pics throughout and alot of graphs and charts in the appendex

The family liked it, ooohed and awwwed some, but I am quite sure no one read it thoroughly... in retrospect, stories that people would remember were the most popular/science was the least...I did include an appendix that had a ton of charts, diagrams, a genealogical tree generated by my Family Maker 16 version

My only regret was dialing in way too deep and long on the genealogical science, but that is because I did not have a clear purpose for what I wrote...

I think i originally made a mistake of wanting my 'Whalen Saga' to be all things to all people: ie the documented chase of my genealogical hunt, the long expensive cutting edge dna hunt, a good primer in dna science, telling the Whalen story as far back as possible, documenting all the facts/stories as so many are lost due to elders dying, giving a strong historical background that gave context, myth busting or confirming and so forth

folks, to do all the above, you need to be a really good writer and be willing to write a monster opus
...but the last point, aside from finally recording the family story, makes a key point I only figured out part way through
...the real audience for this is my family...no one else remotely gives a shit so unless its to please me on some point, making it reader friendly is something my later revisions did a decent job at, but it caused me some trouble during the various editing phases

Anyway rms, I certainly would encourage you to make your family story, particularly to nail down and document info so when someone in the family later is interested, they have it ready for them....given your experience, I doubt very much you need some 3rd party thingy to help write it, but I could be stupid wrong on that

Mike

rms2
08-16-2018, 07:40 PM
Good advice. Thanks, Mike.

One of my goals is to preserve the family story, including the dna evidence, especially the y-dna evidence, for future members of my family who have the genealogy bug and will appreciate it.

I would like for copies to be preserved at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City (no, I'm not a Mormon) and in the Library of Congress, where there's a chance someone who cares might find one someday.

Dave-V
08-16-2018, 09:48 PM
I would like for copies to be preserved at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City (no, I'm not a Mormon) and in the Library of Congress, where there's a chance someone who cares might find one someday.

Just FYI I donated a hardcopy of my book to the Allen County Libraryís Genealogy library (itís one of the largest outside the LDS records in Salt Lake City and our surname association had just visited it during a reunion). They share digital copies (which they make themselves) with other family history centers, so a digital copy of my book is now in the Mormon records. Iím not Mormon either, but itís a good place to file a copy. Someday Iíll get around to sending them a hardcopy too!

Sprezzatura
11-13-2018, 08:50 PM
Family Tree Maker has a plugin named Family Book Creator that makes fancy books.

Charting Companion (my own app) does Descendant charts called "DNA Matrix", that show autosomal DNA.

I'm looking for suggestions for Y-DNA and mtDNA charts.

hans84
01-31-2019, 03:49 PM
Has anyone used it for that purpose? Any good?

I am probably going to start putting together a family history book very soon. Mostly it will be an update, with the addition of a lot of genetic testing results and some old family photos, of the excellent book completed in 1945 by a great grandaunt of mine and then updated in 1973 by a 1st cousin 2x removed. It will probably take me at least 2-5 years to finish.

I've been waiting for the BIG breakthrough on my y-dna line before doing the book, but I'm starting to think maybe I should just go ahead and do it, or the book might never get done.

Hey OP, i've been meaning to do something very similar to this aswell. However instead of a book i was planning to organize all the genealogical + genetic info i have in MediaWiki software format, since i used to edit some wikis quite a lot back in the day. The end result would be a sort of interactive, hyper-detailed family tree copying the wikipedia model so to speak.

This project of mine is something for the long term though and i'd revise it whenever new insights or infos come in. I think it's very handy to have something like this though - There are so many amazing possibilites for the modern genealogist thanks to information technology.

I too am waiting for some other crucial info to come in first and for things in my life to generally calm down again somewhat before i start building said genealogical database though. I also have to figure out a way to manage the family tree in a more effective manner since the yEd/Ahnenblatt workflow feels quite clunky when it comes to this

Judith
03-24-2019, 03:28 PM
I'd like to do the same. Sadly though, I'm almost the only one in my family with an interest. We have family portraits on one line going back hundreds of years; on others we were farm labourers, miners etc. I think I'm the only one who still remembers first hand stories from my grandparents born in the early 20th century. They include things like what my grandfather told me of his first day down the mine in Cwmbran at the age of 14 (I still remember how much coal he loaded that day) and my grandmother on the other side telling me of her grandfather speaking Welsh to a Breton onion seller and their mutual understanding. I think I'm the only person alive who remembers that stuff because I loved listening to my elders. Perhaps I'll devote my impoverished retirement to it when it comes.

One of my remote cousins recorded his gps and ggps talking in the 70s and although it was not my direct line it was fascinating because I know the area and they were recalling the fields and farms near what us now Liverpool surburbs. Now that could be included in a wiki. That would be awesome.