Are you writing a Family History? Here are some tips from 48 Hour Books on how to make a family tree book.
Compiling a family history can seem like a daunting task. The first decision you must make is deciding what the primary use for your Family History book will be. Will it be a keepsake for other family members? Or is it a family genealogy book that you are going to market and sell? Depending on the answer to this question, you may want to take a specific approach.
We encourage all of our authors to do as much themselves as they can. From family history book layout and formatting to PDF conversion, we can help you to do it yourself, which will save lots of time and money. We're always available to answer any questions you may have, and if you'd rather just give us your raw Word files and have us do the formatting and PDF conversion for you, we're happy to do that, too. We can help you to design your book, from the size of your pages to what fonts to choose for your chapter heads. And we can help with the layout of your cover, too. Our Create-a-Cover is an inexpensive option that lets you select the basic look of your cover. Then you upload whatever photos or artwork you'd like included, and we'll put everything together to make a professional book cover at a fraction of the cost.
Maybe you've already been through the process of design, layout, file preparation, final proofreading, and printing your book. If that's the case, you probably won't need most of the extra help that we've got to offer. But we're still the FASTEST book printers in the world. And with unique capabilities that many of our competitors can't offer (like case binding, coil binding, full-color printing and combo books - books with a combination of some black-and-white pages and some full-color pages), we've got a lot to offer the seasoned self publishing expert. You may not need our help most of the time, but it's nice to know we're still here for you if you run into trouble with something. We've got a great group of customer service people, so call us today, and we'll be happy to help you in any way we can.
A great way to display your family history is through your use of photography. There's nothing quite like seeing priceless photos of your ancestors, historical documents, etc. They can really make a genealogy book come to life. At 48 Hour Books we can print black-and-white photos as well as full-color photos. We can even print combination of both, so if you have 30 black-and-white photos and 10 full-color photos, we can handle that. And if you've got color images that you want to be in black-and-white, we can convert them to grayscale for you. If you need an inexpensive way to add a number of full-color photos, consider grouping lots of photos into a color section in the middle or at the end of the book in a montage format with captions. If your book contains a lot of color photos, we recommend 80# matte text paper, rather than the standard 60# white offset.
If you are including photos, be sure to have them already placed on the inside pages of your book before you upload your PDF files to us. Many Family History books include photos that have been scanned from old scrapbooks. Make sure all of your photos are high resolution. If you're scanning old photos, be sure to set your scanner on the photograph setting and set it to at least 300 dpi (dot per inch). If you're taking more recent photos off of webpages (like Facebook, for instance), they may be low resolution. Zoom in to 200% to get an idea of how good or bad they'll look when printed. If they're not good enough, try contacting whoever took the photo and see if they have a high resolution version that they can send to you.
Take advantage of the online resources that can help you to investigate the history of your family and compile information. Websites like ancestry.com and myheritage.com provide information on your family's history, simply by entering your name into a database. These sites also help to generate family trees, which are great additions to family history books, and depending on the site, do not require a subscription to create.
Other online resources to consider are genealogy software that help you organize your data and research. This software may cost money, so be sure to search for sites with free trials. When you are choosing different software to use, be sure that you are able to export any graphics or documents you want to use in your book, into PDF format.
It is important to have a clear vision of how you want your family history book to be set up. You should first determine the size and type of binding.
48 Hour Books offers Free Book Templates that you can use to format your book. They'll open in Microsoft Word or just about any other word processing program, and they come in four standard sizes:
You can type your book directly into the family history book template and set it up any way you choose. Be sure to choose the right page size, and when you're done formatting, simply convert the file to PDF format, and the resulting PDF file will be ready to upload to us. You'll upload your files directly to your order, so you'll need to place an order first on our website. If you get stuck or have any questions, remember, we're just a phone call away ... 800-231-0521.Free Book Templates
Perfect Bound books are great for most orders because they keep the cost down, but still hold up very well over time. At 48 Hr Books, our STANDARD turnaround for Perfect Bound books is just 2 business days. Nobody else in the world offers that as their standard turn-around. And if that's still not quite fast enough for you, we even have Rush and SuperRush options available. You might also choose Coil Binding, especially if you have worksheets or activity pages that you want your readers to write on. And of course, Hard Cover (case binding) is also available. Both Coil and Hard Cover take 5 days to produce.
If you are creating a family keepsake, these can in some ways be less formal with more personal touches. When designing the cover, you might decide to make it more fun by showing a group family photo or by using a playful design. But many authors choose to put the best old photo of the family patriarch or matriarch on the cover, with the family name and the span of years that the book includes.
If you need help constructing your cover, 48 Hour Books has a Create-a-Cover option for $100. With this option, you can choose a general layout, a background color and texture, and any additional instructions and photos you want included. Email all the photos to us, and our prepress technicians take your options and assemble your cover using these elements. The $100 is a one-time fee, so if you receive your cover proof and decide you want to change an element on it such as the background color, this is no problem. If you have InDesign, you can use one of our Cover Templates to design your own cover.
When writing your Family History, there are different approaches you can take when it comes to organizing the material. You can take a strictly narrative approach, where you set up your book in chapters and chronologically narrate the history. You can incorporate photos in each chapter, or a montage of photos in the middle or at the end of the book. If you are writing a genealogy book that you plan to sell, you may want to take a more structural approach with different sections, based on significant periods in your history.
Family Histories can have a dense amount of material, so it may be useful to include an Index in your book. This way, if readers want to look up a specific name, they can use the Index to quickly find it. Creating an index can be a daunting task, but with a little effort, you can do it fairly painlessly. Be sure to look up the "how-to" guides on Microsoft Word to help you create your Index the proper way from the beginning. If you follow Microsoft Word's rules, you'll be able to update your index on the fly whenever you make changes to your book.
With the wealth of information in your genealogy, footnotes can be very valuable. Certain terms, people or events may require more explanation, but you don't want to break up the reader's flow. Simply include a footnote or endnote with the deeper explanation. Again, Microsoft Word has detailed instructions on setting up footnotes or endnotes.
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