10 Do’s and Don’ts of Creating a Family History book

DO say “I’m only redoing a book my father-in-law wrote 40 years ago. How long could that take?”

DON’T be surprised when that turns out to be 8 months.

DO decide to use justified margins after you’ve finished the main re-edit. It’s fun to re-format a 206 page document.

DO use MS Word. Especially if you are using lots of graphics. Word’s various idiosyncrasies will provide you with hours of pleasure “chasing” pictures around your pages.

DON’T succumb to the thought of throwing yourself out the window when your landscape orientations continually revert to portrait mode upon converting your document to a PDF.

DON’T call the former “bride” asking “Who is this guy next to Aunt Peg in your wedding photo?”

DO ask guests who might remember instead. Then enjoy the expressions on the faces of people whose names you’ve screwed up in the caption.

DON’T wait until you have learned that you can upload a PDF of your original document to Google Drive and save the whole thing as editable text.

DO, instead, spend hours scanning the document to .rtf. (Added benefit: if your scanner is two floors below your office you will do lots of stair-climbing. Probably enough to burn off an entire container of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia.)

And finally,

DO prepare yourself for the hours that have suddenly opened up in your daily schedule once the book is completed – make sure you have at least four more projects in the pipeline!

*This list merely illustrates my personal experience. In no way should the suggestions be construed as actual advice!

Note: To be honest, this was an extremely satisfying project. We printed the hardcover book through lulu.com and received the 22 copies within one week of submission. The copies were distributed at my mother-in-law’s memorial service last week. How wonderful it was to see the younger generation excited to learn about their family history!

2 thoughts on “10 Do’s and Don’ts of Creating a Family History book

  1. LOL I enjoyed your post! And I agree that giving the younger generation a book about their ancestors is a wonderful way to engage them in family history. Thanks for sharing your experience.


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