His surprise at finding this out made me realize I know a lot of things that other family members don't. And I have a lot of items - newspaper clippings, photos and so on, that other family members have probably never seen.
It seemed to me I needed to start creating family booklets which contained all this information. That's not as easy or quick as it might seem, because I have become the unofficial keeper of the family papers and photographs. It started when I was about 16 and my grandmother gave me her "stuff". Every time someone in the family passed away, their "stuff" ended up with me. I'm not complaining, but it's a lot of "stuff" to sort and organize before it is ready for a booklet.
Several readers have asked me how to create such a booklet - what do you include, how big do you make it, etc. I've completed one on my McGinnis family which I'll be giving to my brother and nephew today. Here's how I tackled it:
1. Decide what your focus is for your booklet. I wanted to provide photographs and newspaper clippings plus a few documents for my generation (my siblings and I), my parents, my McGinnis grandparents, my great-grandparents and my great-great grandparents. You could focus simply on your generation and your parents, the choices are endless.
2. What size will your booklet be? I made mine on 8.5x11 inch paper, portrait orientation.
3. How many pages will you include? I didn't decide on a specific number other than less than 25 pages. I just kept adding photos until I decided I was done. Actually in my case, my LaserJet Printer ran out of black ink and that ended my project.
4. Think about your audience. What format will you use for your booklet for that audience? Since my booklet won't be in the hands of any avid genealogists, I wanted it to be easy to read, not too many dry facts, and appealing enough to be looked at more than once.
I decided to do brief write-ups on the first 3 generations down to my parents, each write-up giving a few basic facts interspersed with images. I used a program called PictureIt! to create these pages.
|First Generation Story|
So I talked a bit about my Irish McGinnis family coming from Ireland to Ontario during the Famine. I gave some details from various census and land records (but not too many! I kept in mind that no one in my family but me is a fanatical genealogist)
When I got to my parents' section, I started adding photographs, the more the better.
|The Double Wedding|
My next section was a scrapbook type section, created in Picassa using the Collages feature.
|Scrapbook Section: Mother's Early Years|
Some things I mulled over were whether or not to include death certificates. I decided against it because I felt that my family members would not want to read such an item (again - they are not die-hard genealogists!) These are all personal decisions and keeping in mind who will be receiving your booklet helps you make a decision appropriate for that audience.
One item I added was a family tree chart of head shots of our ancestors. It doesn't follow our McGinnis line exclusively because I only have some ancestors' photographs. So these were the ones I put in my chart.
|Family Tree Chart|
|Final Product - Coil Bound Booklet|