The Barkers of Kincaid Mountain

The Barkers of Kincaid Mountain

Cover page for The Barkers of Kincaid Mountain

I spent most of our rainy holiday weekend experimenting with Pages (the word processing application in Apple’s iWork 09 office suite) to see how it works for my hybrid family history. I was pleasantly surprised! Pages works in two modes – word processing and layout. In layout mode it works as a desktop publishing application, allowing you to layer graphic elements, words and images on the page. The cover page shown here has a background graphic and a design overlay in the top right corner. The photo of Kincaid Mountain has a collage element over it and I added the text on top of it just to the left of the photo. And then there’s the title. With Pages, not only was I able to place these items on the page, but I could twist and turn them, add shadows and reflections and even reduce the opacity so they blend into the element below them.

Barker book page

Another page from The Barkers showing photos, scanned letters and text.

The real fun begins when you add text blocks to the mix. With pages, not only can you include simple “journaling” boxes like shown here, but you can connect multiple boxes of text across several pages. My plan is to build this family history as an enhanced scrapbook. Rather than a formal history, it will be a series of stories like my grandparents’ postal courtship and my uncle’s war service. The story format makes it easier to add to this living book as research allows.

Another advantage of the story format is that it allows me to build each story as separate files. Hybrid family histories with all these design elements are pretty hefty beasts. This is an issue I know I will have to manage, but I haven’t yet reached the point where I actually deal with it. Stay tuned, this could get interesting!

Speaking of design, other than family photos and ephemera, the design elements I’m using are almost exclusively from DesignerDigitals. Katie Pertiet’s designs are divine with just the right touch of a vintage/nostalgic feel for my purposes. I’m describing country people but not by using gingham checks and milk churns. Katie’s Botanist Notebook series of design elements and kits have just the right touch.

Don’t let my use of Pages keep you from trying your hand at a hybrid project. If you have Microsoft’s Publisher software, you have much the same capabilities. And, of course, there’s always scrapbooking apps like Memory Mixer.

Come along with me on an adventure in family history – both in the discovery of the lives of ancestors and in the development of a publication that not only documents their history properly, but with style. I want the result to be something my genea-challenged family will enjoy too.

  • Linda Goodwin

    I have tried to open this in three different browsers: Safari, Firefox, and Chrome. I have pasted the URL as well. I went to your web site and found the article as well. In all cases, the pictures do not come up. When I clicked on the pictures, it just says ” file not found”. I am very interested in the topic, but it would make more sense if the pictures could be seen. Any ideas? Thanks.

    • Denise Olson

      I’m sorry for the screwed up links. They should work okay now. This article talks about an older version of the Pages program. The current doesn’t have all the features of this version yet. They are promising it will – and they have been posting regular updates to show they mean business.