Recommended Reading

This week’s news and interesting articles related to genealogy . . .

  • Thanks to ResearchBUZZ for this great tidbit . . . Centenary College of Louisiana has digitized almost 100 years’ worth of The New Orleans Christian Advocate, a weekly Methodist newspaper. “The online issues span 1850 to 1946 and total more than 46,000 pages of content. Researchers can now access these online, page through each volume, download a complete PDF, or search the full text version.”
  • This week’s new batch of Findmypast Friday records includes the most complete collection of British War Office records relating to the Easter Rising and Irish War of Independence from 1916-1921. Also available to search this week are new additions to our collection of Scotland Registers & Records and 90 new volumes of British directories and almanacs.
  • From Ancestry . . . We have overhauled the media upload experience to make it easier than ever to add photos and stories to your tree. With this update you can files by choosing files from your local drive, by dragging and dropping files into the uploader, or even just pasting in content from your clipboard. Below are some examples of how it is even easier to add content.
  • How much do you know about GEDCOM? Keith at Genealogy Tools offers some interesting perspective.
  • Considering options for publishing your family history? Lynn Palermo has some great ideas in an article posted at the MyCanvas blog

A Personal Publishing Primer 

We are in the middle of the Information Revolution where technology is generating opportunities for individuals to share information with few restrictions. One element of this revolution – self-publishing – has had a significant impact on the genealogy community. Not only are we scanning and sharing photos, letters and other documents from our personal archives, but a growing number of family historians are publishing their family histories.

For discussion purposes, I’m defining this as personal publishing rather than self-publishing. Why? While we are using self-publishing tools and platforms to create, distribute and even sell our works, for most of us this is a labor of love rather than a business endeavor. And, while I would be delighted to see a family history publishing project become a run-away best seller, I don’t see many family projects starting with that as a goal. That being said, we all want to be taken seriously and need to create a professional-qualtiy publication in order to do that. This primer introduces the basic elements involved in a publishing project. From here you’ll find a growing number of articles discussing specifics on tools, services, platforms and other publishing elements that support our efforts.

The steps in publishing project include:

  • Research. This is where we’re most comfortable. We’ve already been doing this for some time. That won’t stop me from discussing useful tools and services, though.
  • Writing. From idea to manuscript, there’s a lot of time and effort in between. In addition to organizing and writing the story, you also have photos, charts and other graphics to manage. And don’t forget those source citations! There are tools and resources to improve your writing skills as well as manage the actual writing process.
  • Editing. There’s more to editing than a good spell-check. You can develop your editing skills along with your writing skills, but it never hurts to have more than one set of eyes look at your manuscript. Discussions in this area offer resources for both self-editing and getting outside help.
  • Layout. Turning a manuscript into a publication requires skills beyond basic word-processing. There are tables of content, footnotes and bibliographies along with typography, page design and book covers to be created and managed. You can format a manuscript into a professionally-formatted publication once you know what is required and develop the necessary formatting skills. If you don’t want to do it yourself, there are a number of affordable services to do it for you.
  • Publishing. It’s not just hard cover or paperback any more. Now there are ebooks in a number of different formats. As your own publisher, you control those decisions. Understanding how the publishing world works these days helps make those decisions easier.
  • Distribution. Where do you want your published project made available? Once again there are a number of options and your choice(s) here will influence which layout, publishing and promotion options you will have.
  • Promotion. How will you get the word out about your published project? Whether you goal is to generate revenue, attract cousins or both, you will be using the same services and platforms to make those goals a reality.

It doesn’t matter whether you do all the work yourself or farm out tasks to others, you are the publisher and you make the decisions needed to complete your project. The more you know about the options available to you, the better those decisions will be.

Source: A Personal Publishing Primer via Moultrie Creek Gazette

Building Books In Day One

I am having great fun turning photographs into artwork using my iPad. Using one or more apps, I will manipulate a photo until it looks the way I want. Problem is, if I don’t write it down I’ll forget what I did to get this effect. So I use Day One to document the apps/processes used in each photo art project along with a copy of the resulting image. Each project entry is tagged with “photoart” along with other defining tags.

Recently I decided I wanted to build a portfolio of those photos/entries so I started experimenting with Day One’s export feature. Here are the steps I took to build a PDF portfolio of my photo art projects on my iPad.

I started by tapping the Settings item in the sidebar and choosing Export. The Export panel offers options to select entries by date range and/or by tags. I’m using tags so I turned on the Only Tagged Items setting then tapped the Tags item just below it to display my list of tags.


I only selected the one photoart tag, but I could have selected multiple tags if needed. Once I was ready, I tapped Done.

Day One returned me to the Export panel. The Create New PDF item shows there are 23 entries selected for export. I tapped Create New PDF and once the export was completed the export file appeared just below. Tap the file name to open it.


The viewing screen you see here appeared next. I can preview the exported file from here or open it in a different app. I chose to tap the Export icon and open it in the Documents app.


As you can see, I have a number of PDF apps on my iPad so I have several export options available.

My exported document was formatted with one journal entry per page. It appears that entries with photos will always begin a new page so my export automatically became a very nice portfolio-style publication. The exported pages were also automatically numbered. I did need to create a cover and title page for my portfolio. I opened the PDF file in PDF Office and added/edited the pages I needed using that app. It worked but my options were limited and the results were disappointing. I wound up creating the pages I wanted using Pages on my Mac, exporting them to PDF and then merging the two files. You can see the results below.

Exporting entries is just as easy on the Mac version of Day One and you can then use Preview to quickly merge the cover/title pages with the exported file.

The Export option offers a lot of publishing potential. In addition to portfolios, it can be used to create travel journals and baby books, document special events or create timelines for ongoing issues (like insurance claims). Your only limited by your imagination.

Archival Blogging

Archival Blogging

I love blogging! It has so many advantages for the genealogist/family historian that I can’t imagine trying to research without including a blog in the process. Not only does it allow me to write the stories of my ancestors as my research develops them, it’s also easy to update those stories when new facts come to light. And, it’s amazing how quickly that collection of family…

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