Wednesday, June 8, 2016

So, You Want to Publish Your Family History:: Some Random Thoughts, 1997 Style

Copyright 2016, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

So, Carol is on another cleaning frenzy.  This time it is old 3.25 inch floppy discs.  I found a few stacks.  I did not count, but, I believe I have reviewed 30 to 50 of them.  I have actually retrieved a few things.  This happens to be one of them.  It is part of a presentation I did for a local genie society in 1997 after I published my first family history. So, I thought I would share it here.  You have permission to adjust the terminology to 2016.  

So, you want to publish your family history? Here are some random thoughts, which may or may not help you along the way:

Study other family histories.  What do you like?  What don’t you like? My don’t likes: Hard to read due to font style or the size of the print.  Not sourced.  No places stated, only the dates.

Decide the scope.  Do you want to include photos?  Do you want to include documents? Include only documents of those who have passed?  Do you even want to include any living souls?

Do it YOUR way.

Give yourself plenty of time.  You will still be printing and organizing 12 hours before the book is due at the printers!

The ONLY way you will ever do this is to JUMP in with both feet!

It is gonna be scary!

Pace your self, this is going to take awhile.

Ladies, forget doing housework.

Get organized.  Or try!

Be nice to your significant other BEFORE you start this project.  You will need their support and understanding throughout the entire process!

Backup your data base constantly.  This cannot be repeated enough.  Back it up daily, or more frequently if you are doing a lot of input.  Make SEVERAL copies of your backup data.  Keep a copy near the computer.  Keep a copy somewhere else.  Send copies to friends for safe keeping.  BACK UPS ARE VITAL!!

Get on good terms with your computer hacker person BEFORE you start this project. You will need to turn to this person when the computer freezes while printing the last page of the index and in your panic you are not sure you have saved the document.

Get on good terms with your data base programmer.

Be on friendly terms with your postal carrier.

Try not to work when you are tired, that is when you make really big mistakes.  If you set a date for publication you will be working when you are tired.  SO--try not to set a publication date.

DO, set a deadline for submissions of data, photos, documents.  Submissions WILL come in AFTER the deadline and in fact will come in up to and after the date you have forwarded your book to your printer!

Try to use everything submitted.  However, I would suggest cropping photos depicting bras hanging on doorknobs. Crop the bra out of photos.

Remember, this is your family’s book.  You are ONLY the compiler.  This ain’t no novel, you probably will not win a Pulitzer Prize for this work.

Treat the family and all those that contribute to your work with respect--they are sharing themselves with you. Don’t take credit for other’s work!  Praise them for their assistance, remember this work would not happen without all the help they are giving you.

You won’t make everyone happy.

Have plenty of office supplies IN the house.  Ink for your printer--you will run out in the middle of your final print! Pens, paper--reams of it, sticky notes in several sizes, envelopes in several sizes.

Donate copies to libraries and historical societies in areas your ancestors lived in.  Future generations will look there.  Donate copies to the best research libraries in your country. Here in the US, that list would include the Family History Center, Salt Lake City.  Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Mid-Continent Library, Independence Missouri.  No, that is not an inclusive list.

When mailing, seal up the envelopes at all corners.  Require a signature when returning documents and photos that were so generously loaned to you for the book.

Be creative, be serious, be lighthearted, be generous.

Maintain balance about the project.  Maintain your sense of humor.  Have fun!

Expect everything to go wrong---it will at least once. But, HAVE FUN!

* Photo courtesy of Pixabay and Unsplash.  Photo is CC0 Public Domain, Free for commercial use. No attribution required.



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