Feeling overwhelmed about putting everything together.


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Feeling overwhelmed about putting everything together.

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helmikuu 4, 2010, 11:51pm

I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed at the prospect of putting all my genealogical findings together into a family history book - not a published book, just something my dad & I can keep & pass down.

Has anyone had any experience with this kind of project? My pedigree chart is immense (2500 people) & I'm not sure how to organize all the stories for each family line. I'm going to have separate sections for primary source documents, the pedigree chart itself, family histories, photographs, sources, etc. that much I know for sure. Otherwise I'm kind of in the dark. I'd like to use some sort of numbering system so you don't have to look through a billion pages of pedigree chart to find the family line you're reading about, but I have no clue how to do it.

Any advice would be appreciated :-)

helmikuu 5, 2010, 7:53am

My advice is don't try to do it all at once. Do a step at a time. Also do one line at a time-probably from your grand or great-grand parents. Yes it will take a lot of time but will be well worth it.

helmikuu 5, 2010, 9:13am

You might want to check out http://genwriting.blogspot.com/. There is a post on there that includes a bibliography of the books the author uses in writing hers and mentions Patricia Law Hatcher's book Producing a Quality Family History which is one that I would recommend. There are lots of other books out there as well. You might also want to attend a national conference such as the Federation of Genealogical Society's conference which will be held August 18-21, 2010 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The program is online now at http://www.fgs.org/2010conference/index.php. There are usually several workshops that focus on writing. Most of the speakers are willing to entertain your questions. There are lots of genealogical writers and editors present at the conference. A lot of informal networking goes on over meals, in the evenings, etc. which create opportunities to get a lot of ideas.

helmikuu 5, 2010, 10:06am

I'm working on my other half's. Several times we thought we had several generations as completed, then managed to source additional documents, photos etc.
In the end we've decided that our solution is electronic. Basically a website on DVD which contains scans of all the original documents, photos etc With an expandable tree as the "home page"
(Currently we have about 20 linear foot of ring binders and box files, the thought of reducing that to a useful set of bound volumes terrifies me.)
I reference all documents with birthname.birthdate.doctype.number (doctypes being BDM certificates, service records, newspaper cuttings, family tales, misc and photos) but I am an anal database admin type, this allows me to find everything relevant to any individual fairly easily (as electronic copies) and a separate database index tells me which file for the original.
Its probably not the best approach, but it does work and copes with the inevitable discovery of new materials.
If you are thinking of the bound book approach then it might be worth investing in something like a second hand copy of Adobe's Framemaker which is a DTP program aimed at large technical books (and copes with multi-volume works) which has the best index engine I've used and would allow you to index every name almost automagically.

Good luck with the project.

helmikuu 6, 2010, 1:23am

I agree with #3. I'm betting we can all benefit from attending a workshop. I wish I were closer to attend that one!

Also, I think that focusing on one branch, one generation at a time, would be best. I separate out branches into notebooks and then into generations. I then highlight all information that has been verified and recorded and sourced into the website or genealogy program. It helps me out a lot. I used to divide by family name, but that gets too confusing for me. Generation work is much easier for me to follow.

#4-wow, that's awesome. I'm a genealogy baby-I have each branch started and can go back to the 1700s with a few, but have to go back and look up children and siblings to get a better picture. I'm also lacking wills and things-the meat of the research.

Best of luck!

helmikuu 15, 2010, 7:44am

I have a 2nd cousin who has created a family history book using MyCanvas on ancestry.com. I've never used the service but her book was very impressive. You have the option to print the book yourself or have ancestry print it for you (fee, I'm sure). She has printed several copies for her immediate family. She put the pages into a 3-ring binder and this allows her to update individual pages as she adds new info.

maaliskuu 1, 2010, 3:28am

Before all my research got tossed in the trash (oh my dont remind me WAAAAAAHHHH!) I had it all organized in that each family line had a file folder.....so for instance Smith was one file folder....and on the front was the first generation........

George Henry Smith Sr
b1849 Canada
d unknown
m unknown to Almira Butts
b 1850 Pa
d (dont remember)

they had three kids, and I would have the kids names with birthdates and where listed.....and this was on the front of EACH file folder......so it was like a quick reference....then on the front inside...was a paper stapled that had EVERYONES name listed...and what paper they were on......perhaps a birth record, marriage record death record, or just a pedigree whichever........
by having done that, I could then combine them into ONE notebook or whatever later for wedding present scrapbooks that my mom and I would put together.

Years ago one of my moms cousin put a *book* together that I had...and one of my dads cousins had put together a book, but both of these were just for families and the library for the town they lived in.

maaliskuu 1, 2010, 12:02pm

I want to put together a book, but I don't have a pile of photographs of the old homesteads etc., and I don't find it particularly useful in books I consult to see the pictures of various people. Would a book of just text be considered too dry/"boring" these days? It would be aimed at helping others do research, not primarily to celebrate my family.

(Besides, the really interesting people are back in the 1600s, so there aren't any pictures)

maaliskuu 2, 2010, 3:09am

Im an oddball, I love reading stuff like that! (Used to get completely lost in my library's genealogy room, reading cemetery transcripts and such) So for someone like me, I would love it.

maaliskuu 2, 2010, 11:31am

#9 Thanks, that's reassuring.

Given the expense of physically producing a book, I'm thinking electronic publishing and distribution of intelligently arranged and indexed information would be a good idea. This would work in big libraries, but small, regional genealogical societies might not have that option. Though producing CDs is cheaper than a book, I believe.

Still, I happily dream of hefting the physical, paged manifestation of nearly 30 years of research.

maaliskuu 21, 2011, 8:08am

I'm doing a limited family history, following only one major line that begins, due to illigitimacy, in the late 18th century. My format is as a narrative, taking the parents and their children, in age order, and tracing their descendants as far as I can go in each "section."

Rather than updating everything as I get new info, I add Addenda to each section, and this saves me a lot of the grief of rewriting. I can even flag newly-discovered errors this way, without having to go back and correct the main narrative.

maaliskuu 22, 2011, 1:12pm

On the software topic I Irecommended Family Tree Builder free and downloadable from MyHeritage.com, where you can also build your tree online.
It also creates something called a Family Book, taking the raw data and turning it into a basic narrative, complete with links to family trees e.g.
ROBERT MCFARLANE (great-great-great-great-uncle) was born on 4 April 1814, in Luss, Dunbartonshire, to
Andrew McFarlane (435) and Janet Colquhoun (436), as shown in family tree 22. He was baptized on 8 April 1814, in Luss,
Dunbartonshire. He was recorded in the census in 1841, aged about 27, in Arnburn, Luss, Dunbartonshire. Robert died on 5
July 1881, aged 67. Robert was buried in July 1881 in Luss Churchyard, Luss, Dunbartonshire.
• Agricultural labourer (Census).
• Erected in memory of Robert McFarlane who died july 5th 1881 aged 69 years. also Jane his daughter who died Novr
22nd 1880 in her 13th year (Burial).
• Source 2 (Birth). Fairly reliable.
• Source 2 (Baptism). Fairly reliable.
• Source 1 (Census in 1841). Highly reliable.
• Source 7, webpage Unreliable or estimated.

It is fairly mechanistic but it makes a good start and you can also add notes and anecdotes which personalise it.