Have a Book to Publish? “Producing a Quality Family History” Can Help

What does it take to put together a family history worth reading? The short answer is time, money, and effort. However, after all the work you have done in researching, collecting documents, gathering pictures, sorting, and recording genealogies and family stories, putting a family history together should seem like a piece of cake. To help researchers preserve their family histories and make the process as streamlined as possible, Patricia Law Hatcher has written the helpful guide, Producing a Quality Family History. Note the the special offer on book of 10% off at the FRPC website is extended through midnight EDT Monday, March 16, 2015.

The obvious follow-up question is, what makes a “quality” family history? As a publisher and book designer, I have developed my own ideas over the years as to what makes a quality book. I have also learned that others have their own idea of what quality means. Hatcher acknowledges personal preferences in choosing how to produce a family history. She recommends researchers start by reviewing family histories at a library. She, also, goes on to suggest there are some basic guideline, or qualities,  which should be followed. The list reads as follows (referring to a quality work):

It presents quality research–research that is thorough, new, and based on a variety of primary sources

  • It is well organized, understandable, and attractively presented
  • It uses a recognized genealogical numbering system
  • It documents each fact and relationship fully
  • It expresses information accurately, indicating the likelihood of conclusions
  • It goes beyond records, placing people in context
  • It included illustrations such as maps, charts, and photographs
  • It has a thoughtful and thorough index

Producing a Quality Family History can help the reader create a manuscript, and final publishing, to meet and exceed these criteria. Not only is content reviewed, but layout and design, font selection, editing, and developing a print ready history are all covered. This book is meant to help you avoid mistakes before you even start writing. However, even if you are almost ready to print your book, this guide can help you feel confident you have produced a quality history, before you go to print.

Patricia Hatcher is a technical writer, instructor and certified genealogists. Having written and edited numerous books and articles, she is well versed in the subject. This guide is easy to follow, and equally easy to implement in your own writing. As Hatcher notes in the book, nonfiction writing is to inform, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be, or even shouldn’t be, interesting. Genealogies reproduce facts, family histories, when properly written, give life to your ancestors. Through this guide, your family history can find the life and quality you always dreamed about.



Publishing Family History in the 1990s

What to Write; When to Write It

You Must Have Style


Understanding Type and Fonts

Book Design

Page Layout and Formatting

Organizing and Presenting Family Information

How Do You Know?

Turning Paper into People

Illustrations, Charts, and Photographs

Opening the Door to Your Book

Developing an Editorial Eye

Preparing Camera-Ready Art

Turning Camera-Ready Art into Books

Options from Technology





Producing a Quality Family History is available from Family Roots Publishing in a beautiful hardback edition – 10% off extended throughthrough Monday, March 16, 2015. Click on the link for more information.

Free Online Seven-Step Guide to Preserving Digital & Print Genealogy Records

The following news release is from PRNewswire. I found it interesting and the free 7-step guide useful. Keep in mind that this is from printing company, so they have a vested interest in printed paper records. But they have some good points, that it certainly couldn’t hurt to follow.

Seven-Step Guide to Preserving Irreplaceable Digital and Print Genealogy Records Released by Ancestry Graphics & Printing


WINFIELD, Ill., April 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –Ancestry Graphics & Printing announced the release of a new seven-step guide addressing how the challenges facing today’s family historian and genealogist are different than at any time in the past. Their new guide discusses how over the long term, digital records are more fragile and subject to loss than any other form of record-keeping and communication that has been used in the past. The four main threats to digital longevity are discussed along with seven simple solutions for preserving important genealogy records.

The guide discusses whether the genealogy research and the story you want to tell your future descendants about their ancestors will survive to be told. Company founder Larry Spiegel said “digital files may become useless for future generations if they remain untouched for as little as one generation, or about 25 years, and that is a drop in the bucket when compared to the 100 years or longer that most genealogists envision their research lasting”.

Experts in digital preservation are in agreement that today’s digital records probably won’t survive and be readable for as long as they were originally intended. This means the genealogy data we have all worked on tirelessly may become no different than dust in the wind. Most people are totally unaware of the four main reasons why the data stored on their PC or other storage devices won’t survive for long periods of time and what they can do to deal with this problem.

Larry Spiegel said that for genealogists who are storing their research digitally, physical decay of the media, technological obsolescence of the storage medium, technological obsolescence of the file format, and physical loss of the media are all discussed in detail in their new guide for genealogists. Moreover, important and irreplaceable paper documents are also discussed because a definitive plan for their retention, preservation, and inheritance is equally necessary.

Spiegel went on to say that when it comes to the longevity of our digital data, we don’t realize how much of a weak link our digital files really are when it comes to long-term preservation. While various forms of digital storage are great for us to use in our daily lives, none of them are viable or reliable as the sole long-term method for storing and passing on our genealogy information to someone who will treasure it 25, 50, or 100 years in the future.

The free seven-step guide to preserving genealogy records can be found at: http://www.ancestryprinting.com/genealogy-preservation.html.

Ancestry Graphics & Printing has been in business since 2003 providing family tree chart printing services to genealogy customers nationwide and around the world.

Short-run Genealogy Publisher, DMT Publishing, Receives 2009 Best of North Salt Lake Award

I see that the U.S. Commerce Association has awarded DMT Publishing of North Salt Lake, Utah, the 2009 Best of North Salt Lake Award in the Commercial Printing category. I’ve done business with DMT for many years and I can personally testify to the fact that they earned this award. They do great work – specializing in short-run publishing for genealogists. Following is a press release with details.

U.S. Commerce Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement. DMT Publishing

WASHINGTON D.C., June 8, 2009DMT Publishing has been selected for the 2009 Best of North Salt Lake Award in the Commercial Printing category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).

The USCA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2009 USCA Award Program focused on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.

About U.S. Commerce Association (USCA)
U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) is a Washington D.C. based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USCA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.

The USCA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.

SOURCE: U.S. Commerce Association