How to Make a Family History Book

Feb 18 08:55 2010 Jeff McRitchie Print This Article

Putting together your own family history book can be a lot of fun but to make it a good one, you have to put a lot of thought and hard work into the project. Here are some tips to get you started.

Putting together your own family history book can be a lot of fun,Guest Posting but to make it a good one, you have to put a lot of thought and hard work into the project. Here are some tips to get you started.

Choosing a Theme.

There are a few different types of family history books. You can either choose to create a scrapbook/photo album type book, or a more text-heavy memoir that follows a narrative. If you are going to write the latter type of book, there are a couple ways to go about it. First you could interview as many members of your family as possible, especially the older generation. This is a great way to keep family stories alive in a form that can be enjoyed for generations to come. You could also center the book around a central theme or person such as the first ancestor to come to America or to settle in your region. The possibilities for interesting angles are endless, or rather, limited only by what your research can turn up. Do keep in mind, though, that all-encompassing family histories can be rather daunting depending on how many lines there are to follow.

If you decide to go with a family photo book or scrapbook, it might be interesting to go from oldest to newest, and to include as much information as you can on the people, places and things that are pictured.

Doing Your Research.

Though constructing your family history is a fun project, there is a lot of hard work involved, and the more you put into it, the more your readers will get out of it. Even if the person or people that you are focusing on didn't leave much in the way of diaries or journals, you can still get somewhat of a grasp of what their daily lives were like if you research the history of the times and regions when and where they lived. If you visit the local libraries, you can often see newspapers from the time period you are researching(and perhaps even find stories about your relatives), as well as other forms of town and regional histories. If your ancestors were, say, coal miners, find out as much as you can about what life was like for coal miners in that particular period. Don't forget either, that depending on how long ago your ancestors lived, there may still be people around who have some memories of them.

Writing It.

Whatever you do, don't feel like you have to simply tell someone's life story from beginning to end. It is always a good idea to start in the middle of a big event and work your way outward. When you are writing this family history, think of your favorite novels and how the authors managed to successfully draw you in. Your research will help a lot in this realm. The more information you have, the more detail you can add, and the more interesting your book will be.

Choosing A Binding Style.

Here you will have to decide what kind of book you want to create for your family history. If you are thinking along the lines of a bookshelf or library-ready hardcover, thermal binding is what you are after. This style gives your book that permanent look and feel, and is surprisingly easy and inexpensive to do yourself. Take a look around online for machines and supplies, or make a visit to your local prit shop and see what they have to offer.

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Jeff McRitchie
Jeff McRitchie

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