Publishing Family History

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|bgcolor="#e0e0e0" | '''SUBSCRIPTION DATABASES'''
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|bgcolor="#e0e0e0" | '''Useful Links'''
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*[http://proxy.sjcpl.lib.in.us:2048/login?url=http://ancestrylibrary.proquest.com/ Ancestry Library Edition]<br/>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Use in Library only &nbsp;&nbsp; [http://www.libraryforlife.org/research/helpfiles/Ancestry.pdf Help sheet]
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*[http://www.familysearch.org/ Family Search]
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*[http://proxy.sjcpl.lib.in.us:2048/login?url=http://www.heritagequestonline.com HeritageQuest Online]<br/>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Use with Library card &nbsp;&nbsp; [http://www.libraryforlife.org/research/helpfiles/Heritage_Quest.pdf Help sheet]
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*[http://www.sjcpl.org/Obits/Search_Form.php Obituary Index]<br/>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;[http://www.libraryforlife.org/research/helpfiles/Obit_Index.pdf Help sheet]
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*[http://ssdi.genealogy.rootsweb.com/ Social Security Death Index]
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*[http://www.stjosephcountyindiana.com/sjchd/health_dpt.htm St. Joseph County Health Department]<br /> - [http://www.stjosephcountyindiana.com/sjchd/death_certificates.htm Death Certificates]
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*[http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/w2w/w2welcom.htm Vital Records]
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*[http://www.sjcpl.org/localhistory/ SJCPL Local & Family History]
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*[http://yp.yahoo.com/py/yploc.py?&clr=ypResults&stp=y&stx=8120384&desc=Photocopying&qtx=&tab=B2C&country_in=us Your closest copy shop]
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== Finding Birth Dates for Foreign-Born Relatives ==
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==   Publishing Your Family History Book ==
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By [[User:Libby the Librarian | Libby Feil]]
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By Libby Feil
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Finding birth dates for relatives born outside of the United States can be a tricky business. You might immediately think you'll have to travel to your ancestors' birth country, or write to an archive there to get a record.  Although that may be a possibility (or may not, depending on the time period in question and the state of the country's recordkeeping system), there are some easier strategies to try first--right here at home!<br /><br />
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Have you ever dreamed of publishing your family history research? Would you like to write up what you've discovered so that the information can easily be passed on to other family members or even to the public at large?  Here are some ideas to help you with this.
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The first question to ask is whether your relative died in America.  If not, did they die in Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, or Wales?  Then try looking in [http://proxy.sjcpl.lib.in.us:2048/login?url=http://ancestrylibrary.proquest.com/ Ancestry], because Ancestry has a lot of records from those countriesIf your relative died in any other foreign country, try the [http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp nearest LDS Family History Center].  Here in St. Joseph County the closest one is in [http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHC/FHC_Results.asp?FHCCountry=United+States&FHCStateProv=indiana&FHCCounty=&FHCCity=mishawaka&submit=Search Mishawaka].  The Mormon Family History Centers have access to microfilms of vital records from all over the world, and you do not have to be Mormon to use them.<br /><br />
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First, of course, you have to carry out research on one or more familiesCome in to [http://www.sjcpl.org/localhistory/ Local & Family History Services] and let us help you get started or get past a roadblock.
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If the person you are looking for <i>did</i> die here, then you have several alternativesThe easiest situation is if you know what American state and county your relative died in. In this case, you can try to obtain a death certificate and obituary. "Wait," you may say, "I'm interested in when this person was <i>born</i>, not when they <i>died</i>." But almost all death certificates, and many obituaries, will give the person's birth date or at least an age.<br /><br />
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Next, you have to put together a book for publicationShould you include reproductions of photographs? What should you do with letters, recipes, and documents you've found? Should you lay out your family trees as charts, written narratives, or something else entirely? These helpful manuals can help you figure out the answers to these questions:
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If your relative died here in St. Joseph County, then you can look for the date of your relative's obituary in our [http://www.sjcpl.org/Obits/Search_Form.php Obituary Index] (deaths since 1913) or in our set of Eisen's [http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/Yeisen+vital+statistics+index&SORT=D/Yeisen+vital+statistics+index&SORT=D&submit3=Search&SUBKEY=eisen%20vital%20statistics%20index/1%2C2%2C2%2CB/frameset&FF=Yeisen+vital+statistics+index&SORT=D&1%2C1%2C <i>Vital Statistics Index to St. Joseph County, Indiana, Newspapers, 1831-1912</i>].  The Library has local newspapers on microfilm, so you can come in and find the obituary once you have the date it was published.  To obtain a death certificate, you can simply go to the [http://www.stjosephcountyindiana.com/sjchd/death_certificates.htm St. Joseph County Health Department] on the 8th floor of the City-County Building at the corner of Lafayette and Jefferson in downtown South Bend.<br /><br />
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[[Image:youcanwrite.gif|center]]]
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[[Image:writingfamilyhistories.gif|center]]]
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[[Image:onememoryatatime.gif|center]]]
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[[Image:yououghttowrite.gif|center]]]
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If your relative died in another county in Indiana, you can most likely still get an obituary and a death certificate. To get an obituary, just find which [http://www.statelib.lib.in.us/www/ISL/lib/publib.html Indiana public library] serves the county your relative died in, and then contact that library to find out if they have an obituary index to their local newspaperIf they don't, you still have the option to get a death certificateYou can order a copy from the [http://www.in.gov/isdh/bdcertifs/birth_and_death_certificates.htm State Department of Health] or directly from the [http://www.in.gov/isdh/links/local_dep/ county health department].<br /><br />
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*Famed genealogist [http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/aCarmack%2C+Sharon+DeBartolo%2C+1956-/acarmack+sharon+debartolo+1956/-3%2C-1%2C0%2CB/exact&amp;FF=acarmack+sharon+debartolo+1956&amp;1%2C9%2C Sharon DeBartolo Cormack]'s [http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/dGenealogy+--+Authorship./dgenealogy%20authorship/-3%2C2%2C0%2CB/frameset&amp;FF=dgenealogy+authorship%3BSORT=on&amp;1%2C%2C13 You Can Write Your Family History]
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*[http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/aFulford%2C+D.+G./afulford+d+g/-3%2C-1%2C0%2CB/exact&amp;FF=afulford+d+g&amp;1%2C3%2C D.G. Fulford]'s [http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/dGenealogy+--+Authorship./dgenealogy%20authorship/-3%2C2%2C0%2CB/frameset&amp;FF=dgenealogy+authorship%3BSORT=on&amp;2%2C%2C13 One Memory at a Time: Inspiration and Advice for Writing Your Family Story]
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*[http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/aDixon%2C+Janice+T./adixon+janice+t/-3%2C-1%2C0%2CB/exact&amp;FF=adixon+janice+t&amp;1%2C2%2C Janice Dixon]'s [http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/dGenealogy+--+Authorship./dgenealogy%20authorship/-3%2C2%2C0%2CB/frameset&amp;FF=dgenealogy+authorship%3BSORT=on&amp;3%2C%2C13 Family Focused: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Autobiography and Family History]
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*[http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/aDrake%2C+Paul%2C+1932-/adrake+paul+1932/-3%2C-1%2C0%2CB/exact&amp;FF=adrake+paul+1932&amp;1%2C7%2C Paul Drake]'s [http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/dGenealogy+--+Authorship./dgenealogy%20authorship/-3%2C2%2C0%2CB/frameset&amp;FF=dgenealogy+authorship%3BSORT=on&amp;5%2C%2C13 You Ought to Write All That Down:  A Guide to Organizing and Writing Genealogical Narrative]
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*Noted genealogical writer [http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/aHatcher%2C+Patricia+Law./ahatcher+patricia+law/-3%2C-1%2C0%2CB/exact&amp;FF=ahatcher+patricia+law&amp;1%2C3%2C Patricia Law Hatcher]'s [http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/dGenealogy+--+Authorship./dgenealogy%20authorship/-3%2C2%2C0%2CB/frameset&amp;FF=dgenealogy+authorship%3BSORT=on&amp;6%2C%2C13 Producing a Quality Family History]
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*Kirk Polking's [http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/dGenealogy+--+Authorship./dgenealogy%20authorship/-3%2C2%2C0%2CB/frameset&amp;FF=dgenealogy+authorship%3BSORT=on&amp;8%2C%2C13 Writing Family Histories and Memoirs]
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If your ancestor died in another state, find [http://lists.webjunction.org/libweb/Public_main.html that county's library] and contact it to find out about obituaries.  To order a death certificate, find out what the procedures are for [http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/w2w/w2welcom.htm the state you are interested in].<br /><br />
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Family tree software, such as the Family Tree Maker software that the Library makes available, can help you create family trees and charts to put in your book.  The Local & Family History Department has Family Tree Maker 2006 loaded on our computers, which you can use in our room, or you can check out [http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search?/tfamily+tree+maker/tfamily+tree+maker/1%2C113%2C152%2CB/frameset&FF=tfamily+tree+maker&5%2C%2C39 the 1996 version] from the [http://www.libraryforlife.org/sightssounds/ Sights & Sounds Department].
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What if you get the obituary and it doesn't give a birth date or even an age? What if you can't find a death certificate?  What if you aren't even sure where your relative died?  If the relative died after about 1965, and had worked in the United States for long enough to qualify for Social Security, you can try searching the [http://ssdi.genealogy.rootsweb.com/ Social Security Death Index]Another good place to look is [http://proxy.sjcpl.lib.in.us:2048/login?url=http://ancestrylibrary.proquest.com/ Ancestry].  Ancestry contains many vital records databases from around the country for a variety of time periods.<br /><br />
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Finally, you have to decide how to publish your work. Most family histories are not candidates for traditional publishing by big publishing houses; they just won't have a large enough audience to interest the big publishers.  But you can still have the satisfaction of seeing your work in printFor most family historians, self-publishing is the way to go.
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Another option is to find your relative in the censusBoth [http://proxy.sjcpl.lib.in.us:2048/login?url=http://ancestrylibrary.proquest.com/ Ancestry], which you must use in a Library branch, and [http://proxy.sjcpl.lib.in.us:2048/login?url=http://www.heritagequestonline.com HeritageQuest], which you can use from home with a valid SJCPL library card, have all the United States censuses.  The census will at least give you an approximate year of birth, though not an actual date.  The censuses from 1850 to 1930, with one exception, give a person's age at the time of the census.  The 1900 census, though, does give an actual month and year of birth--if the person was alive and in the U.S. at that timeIf you can't find a person in the census in one year, try other years.  And don't forget to be creative, trying different spellings of first and last names, nicknames, and initials.<br /><br />
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Self-publishing needn't be expensive.  Consider your audience.  If you just want to make a few copies to give out to your close family, if your book was not created on the computer, or if you feel that you might want to make changes later on when you've done more research, there's no point in investing in traditional bound booksWhy not simply self-publish through your [http://yp.yahoo.com/py/yploc.py?&clr=ypResults&stp=y&stx=8120384&desc=Photocopying&qtx=&tab=B2C&country_in=us closest local copy store]?  Copy shops have become very sophisticated, and can offer you many options to make your final product look professional, including different colors and weights of paper and a variety of bindings and coversJust make sure to request a proof and bill in advance of final printing, so you can make sure the final version looks as it should and costs what you expect.
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If you just can't find your relative in the census, try whatever else you can think of that might give a birth dateIf your relative lived in this county, try looking in the SBAGS' [http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/Yjoseph+county+cemetery+inscriptions&SORT=D/Yjoseph+county+cemetery+inscriptions&SORT=D&submit3=Search&SUBKEY=joseph%20county%20cemetery%20inscriptions/1%2C2%2C2%2CB/frameset&FF=Yjoseph+county+cemetery+inscriptions&SORT=D&1%2C1%2C <i>St. Joseph County, Indiana, Cemetery Inscriptions</i>] (headstones often include a birth year), Eisen's [http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/?searchtype=Y&searcharg=index+joseph+county+histories&SORT=D&submit3.x=0&submit3.y=0&submit3=Search <i>Biographical Index to St. Joseph County, Indiana, Histories</i>] (biographies often include a birth date), or the microfilmed [http://stjos.sjcpl.lib.in.us/search/Ycatholic+church+wayne+south+bend&searchscope=2&SORT=D/Ycatholic+church+wayne+south+bend&searchscope=2&SORT=D&extended=0&SUBKEY=catholic%20church%20wayne%20south%20bend/1%2C2%2C2%2CB/frameset&FF=Ycatholic+church+wayne+south+bend&SORT=D&2%2C2%2C <i>Catholic Church Records of the Ft. Wayne/South Bend Diocese of Indiana</i>] (burial records included ages of decedents).<br /><br />
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If you'd really like to produce a more traditional hard- or paperback book, there are also cost-effective options for that.  With the advent of the internet, self-publishing web sites have sprung up to help you outAll you need is a computer file of your book in any one of multiple formats (including Acrobat PDF, Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, Microsoft Works, Microsoft PowerPoint, and dozens of others).  You then choose the binding, colors, and cover art, and voila!  You can pay for and print as many copies as you'd like, as often as you'd like, or you can tell people about your book and let them purchase it themselves.  
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Hopefully, one of these things will work for you. And of course, you can always come in to the [http://www.sjcpl.org/localhistory/ Local & Family History Department] and ask for help!<br /><br />
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Whichever publishing method you choose, don't forget: if you need help along the way, you can always come in to [http://www.sjcpl.org/localhistory/ Local & Family History] and ask for help!<br /><br />
[[Genealogy | Back to the Genealogy page]]
[[Genealogy | Back to the Genealogy page]]
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Last updated by:  [[User:Libby the Librarian | Libby Feil]], December 28, 2006
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[[About Local & Family History Services | Contact and find out more about Local & Family History Services]]<br />
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Created by: Libby Feil, December 2006<br />
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Last updated June 9, 2011
[[Category:Hobbies]]  [[Category:Genealogy & Local History]]
[[Category:Hobbies]]  [[Category:Genealogy & Local History]]

Latest revision as of 17:55, 9 June 2011

Useful Links

Publishing Your Family History Book

By Libby Feil

Have you ever dreamed of publishing your family history research? Would you like to write up what you've discovered so that the information can easily be passed on to other family members or even to the public at large? Here are some ideas to help you with this.

First, of course, you have to carry out research on one or more families. Come in to Local & Family History Services and let us help you get started or get past a roadblock.

Next, you have to put together a book for publication. Should you include reproductions of photographs? What should you do with letters, recipes, and documents you've found? Should you lay out your family trees as charts, written narratives, or something else entirely? These helpful manuals can help you figure out the answers to these questions:

Youcanwrite.gif
]
Writingfamilyhistories.gif
]
Onememoryatatime.gif
]
Yououghttowrite.gif
]

Family tree software, such as the Family Tree Maker software that the Library makes available, can help you create family trees and charts to put in your book. The Local & Family History Department has Family Tree Maker 2006 loaded on our computers, which you can use in our room, or you can check out the 1996 version from the Sights & Sounds Department.

Finally, you have to decide how to publish your work. Most family histories are not candidates for traditional publishing by big publishing houses; they just won't have a large enough audience to interest the big publishers. But you can still have the satisfaction of seeing your work in print. For most family historians, self-publishing is the way to go.

Self-publishing needn't be expensive. Consider your audience. If you just want to make a few copies to give out to your close family, if your book was not created on the computer, or if you feel that you might want to make changes later on when you've done more research, there's no point in investing in traditional bound books. Why not simply self-publish through your closest local copy store? Copy shops have become very sophisticated, and can offer you many options to make your final product look professional, including different colors and weights of paper and a variety of bindings and covers. Just make sure to request a proof and bill in advance of final printing, so you can make sure the final version looks as it should and costs what you expect.

If you'd really like to produce a more traditional hard- or paperback book, there are also cost-effective options for that. With the advent of the internet, self-publishing web sites have sprung up to help you out. All you need is a computer file of your book in any one of multiple formats (including Acrobat PDF, Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, Microsoft Works, Microsoft PowerPoint, and dozens of others). You then choose the binding, colors, and cover art, and voila! You can pay for and print as many copies as you'd like, as often as you'd like, or you can tell people about your book and let them purchase it themselves.

Whichever publishing method you choose, don't forget: if you need help along the way, you can always come in to Local & Family History and ask for help!

Back to the Genealogy page

Contact and find out more about Local & Family History Services
Created by: Libby Feil, December 2006
Last updated June 9, 2011

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