|Creating one of the McGinnis Memory Books|
The immigrant ancestor John McGinnis had 7 sons and 2 daughters that I've found so far, and most of them left Canada to settle in the USA. I'm sure you get the idea of how much data I have now on each generation of each branch!
Recently I decided it was time to organize and preserve my research - documents, photos and so on. I've wanted to do this for a very long time but keep re-thinking and changing my ideas on how best to accomplish this.
Finally last month I decided it was time. Make a decision and go with it! And I'm pleased to say that I've done that with the help of Shutterfly.
My first decision was that these books are just for family. So I am comfortable with showing photos, documents and information for living people.
My second decision was that I would create one book (volume) for each generation starting with my father and working backwards.
Normally this is the stage of the process where I start second-guessing myself. I end up with several different ideas on how to best create the book(s) and as a result - I become bogged down in minutia and am unable to forge ahead!
With the encouragement of my husband who simply shrugged his shoulders and repeated (often) "Just set it up how YOU like it and do it!" I was able to minimize the internal "maybe this way is better" agonizing that I usually face.
Creating Different Volumes Within One Surname
My final decision was to create one title that would be used for each volume, and number the volumes starting with my father and working backwards. I know - one would normally number from the immigrant ancestor coming down the generations. But unlike my usual flip-flop over what was best, I simply made the decision and went with it. No looking bad, no second-guessing, no "gee I wish I'd done xxx instead of yyy" It was liberating!
Having one book for each generation worked well for me. I forged ahead quite quickly, gathering my scattered documents and photos, uploading them to Shutterfly into "albums", one album for each volume I planned to create, and then inserting them into the appropriate books.
Using Albums in Shutterfly
A hard lesson I learned after creating dozens of other books in Shutterfly was to carefully and precisely name my albums where my photos and documents were being uploaded. I had not done this, instead leaving the default name/label which was simply the dates of the upload. That meant that I had to look through dozens of albums every time I wanted to move more photos from the albums to my books!
It took me awhile to figure out how to rename albums in Shutterfly so I urge you to name them with an identifier immediately. You can see in this photo on the right that I have not finished renaming all my original albums.
Organizing Pages Within the Book
I kept it simple. I started with the marriage of my grandparents, then the birth record of my father. The next several pages were devoted to information, photos and documents that pertained to my dad, up to his death. Items were placed chronologically for ease of reading. The nice thing about Shutterfly is that it is easy to rearrange pages if you need to add or move a page.
I allowed 2 pages for some photos of myself and my siblings, but I already have a book I created about us so I didn't need to go into details in this project.
After my dad's section was complete, I created pages for each of his siblings. Some siblings only have one page as I don't have much information on them. Some have many pages.
Consistency & Organization
|Backgrounds for my book theme|
My plan listed what fonts and text colours I wanted to use. I chose one book style (theme) to use for each volume. I listed my method of organizing within each book - parents, then child who was my direct ancestor, then siblings of direct ancestor.
As I began to create each volume, I listed what records I had, and what I should get if I didn't already have it. This included census records, vital statistics and so on. Then as I added those documents I ticked them off on my list.
This is the most organized I've ever been on a project and it helped me to finish two volumes very quickly. The photo you see above is the volume for my great-grandparent Alex McGinnis and I'm almost finished! The volume for my dad has been ordered. The volume for my grandfather is done but not ordered. I'm amazed at how quickly these are coming together, and very excited to carry on with other family surnames.