google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Armchair Genealogist: July 2011

Want to Build a Family History Legacy Book

Monday Morning Mentions



Monday Morning Mentions is an opportunity to reflect on what has been happening at the Armchair Genealogist this past week over my morning cappuccino and give a nod to some of my peers who captured my attention in the blogging community.


If you want to see what ranked in my Google Reader this week click, The Armchair Genealogist's Google Reader Highlights 

You can also find me on Facebook. Stop by and leave a message. I often will link some great finds there as well. 

You can also follow me on twitter at @LynnPal or my twitter paper The Armchair Genealogist Journal. 

At the Armchair Genealogist this week, posts included the following: 



Last week I took a break from posting and enjoyed a lovely week in Montreal, Quebec with my family. We enjoyed the rich culture  of  this beautiful city and took in the  history of this city where  many of my ancestors passed through. 

Recent  Posts include: 



Each week I’m choosing four blogs that deserve a shout out, they will be in the form of 4 categories, Internet Genealogy, Family History Writing, a New Blog and a blog that posted a great old-fashioned family recipe. OK some weeks I choose more than 4 just because it to hard to pick just one, and it's my blog so I can change the rules. 

Internet Genealogy – a great genealogy or internet tip that will benefit any armchair genealogist
This week’s mention:

As Internet genealogists we find an abundant amount of records online. Michael Hait wrote a wonderful blog post this week, Five Things you have to know about every record at Planting the Seeds.  A great reminder for many of us and great information for the beginner. 


Writing Your Family History – great advice or information on writing your family history
This week’s mention:

How to Sell to Libraries - Top 10 Strategies for Independent Authors and Publishers. I thought this article would particularly interest genealogists who have books to sell. There is some great information here for those of us that don't understand how a book gets on a library shelf. You can read it at Marketing Tips by Dana Lynn Smith.  

New Genealogy Blog – we will tip our hat to a newcomer who impresses us right out of the box
This week’s mention:  

I am really enjoying reading 1 Ancestry 2 Little Time. This blog has a great writing style and I'm looking forward to reading more.  


Family Recipe - a blog that makes us want to eat, and offers up a great old-fashioned family recipe to share on Family Recipe Friday.
This week's mention: 


I can't resist a good pasta recipe, so I need to share Pesto with a Fresh Twist, by Aquamarinsteph. Stephanie draws on her grandmother's green thumb with this seasonal recipe. 


You can find more newcomers at Thomas' list of New Genealogy Blogs at Geneabloggers.  


For other great reads, Randy at Genea-Musings offers the Best of the Genea-Blogs. 


 Greta does a great job at Greta’s Genealogy Bog, she offers the Follow Friday Newsletter each week, click here for this week’s edition


Stop by the Week in Review by John at Transylvanian Dutch for another great round-up. 

Have a great genealogy week, keep researching and writing!

Family Reunions - Part 2 - Fundraising and Genealogy




In yesterday’s post, I gave you a look into our Kowalsky family reunion.  The large weekend affair has incorporated many a fun event. I also gave you some of my tips for organizing a reunion. Today, I would like to focus in on some of the fundraising we have done in the past and how it has helped offset the costs of our reunion making them affordable. As well how we incorporate our genealogy into some of our events in order to keep our family history alive. 

Yard Sales

One of our first fundraisers was a family yard sale. The family in Canada donated household items for a giant sale while the family in the United States did the same.  We raised about a $1000.00, however, this was a lot of work. As the years passed, we got smarter.

The Silent Auction

Now our biggest fundraiser is a silent auction. Months in advance, family members are encouraged to create a hand-made item to put on the auction table. The kind of things we see on the table include, knitting, painting, woodworking, jewellery, stained glass windows, stepping stones, framed pictures etc. We have some very talented people in our family and usually there a number of items that become hot items. Bidding usually starts by mid-day on Saturday with the bids closing out by Sunday afternoon.  We usually raise over $2000.00 and the money goes into the bank to get us started on the next reunion.

A Family Cookbook

 Although a family cookbook is a small fundraiser, because frankly the cost of producing the book leaves little room for profit, however, they are very popular. Family members submit their favourite recipes to a co-ordinator months in advance. They are then printed and sold at the reunion. I would advise taking pre-orders so you don’t have too many leftovers sitting in your basement. This was also a wonderful way to incorporate genealogy, as many old-fashioned handed down recipes showed up in the book. The book was also filled with trivia questions about the family. We held a contest, if you mingle throughout the crowd during the weekend and answered all the questions you got a prize.

The Quilt

One year I brought fabric paints, and a whole bunch of fabric squares. We set up a table in the shade and throughout the weekend, the children were encouraged to be creative on the fabric squares.  At the end of the weekend, we gathered up the squares and took them home. Five years later, we returned with all those squares sewn together in the form of a quilt. We sold raffle tickets for the quilt and it soon became the prized possession for one of my cousins.  She says she will hold onto it for a few years, (she has it displayed on a wall in a guest bedroom and her guests say it even glows in the dark). She intends on returning it to the reunion at some point in the future and raffling it off again to another family member. 

The Family History Genealogy Table and DVD 

In recent years, we started a genealogy table, with pedigree charts and pictures, in future years, we will offer updates to the family history book and display any new genealogy finds we have made over the past 5 years.
Some wonderful ideas for incorporating genealogy into your reunion can also include a slide show. Last year, we did this at the Kowalsky Reunion. Family members were encouraged to bring past family reunion photos on a CD, in the evening; we projected them in a slide show on the side of the barn.

For the Desmarais family reunion, that only took place a few short weeks ago, we took this one-step further.  My uncle was known for taking 8mm videos at family reunions. We took those old films to a professional photographer and turned them into a DVD. This cost us approximately $200.00. At the family reunion, we also had our own little drive-in theatre and projected the movies onto the side of the barn. After the movie, we sold copies for $10.00 each.  They sold out and we more than covered the cost of transferring the 8mm to DVD format. 

In terms of genealogy, the DVD is a wonderful way to share a family history. Those 8mm tapes had images of ancestors long gone, including a great-grandmother and great-grandfather that many of us had never met, as well as an aunt and a couple of uncles who had past along with grandparents who had passed over 40 years ago. It brought back great memories for many of us, and for the younger generation, it introduced them to ancestors they had only heard about.

The Penny Sale 

The Penny Sale, this is a popular fundraiser at the Vaillancourt Family Reunion.  The kids really enjoy it; however, it does not make as much money as the silent auction. Everyone is asked to bring an item to donate to the table, than family members buy penny sale cards. At the end of the day, winners are announced.

A Photographer 

If you have a family member that is a great photographer, I encourage you to set up an area for family photos. As the family historian, I loved this idea. We recently did this at Desmarais Family Reunion and now I have an updated copy of everyone for my genealogy database and my next family history book. One family member took the pictures another set up the people for the shoot so it moved along nice and quickly and didn’t consume the day.



The Desmarais Sisters

Finally, I want to touch on a comment from a reader yesterday, who said her family had lost interest in their family reunion.  She wanted some ideas. My first thought is don’t hold your reunions every year,  they become tiresome, spread them out every 3 or 5 years, and turn them into a event that family members do not want to miss out on. I would suggest a Family Reunion Facebook page. This is a great way to keep family up to date on the plans and create some excitement.  For our family, competitive as they are, it usually results in some challenges as we move closer to the big day. 

Getting the next generation involved is highly important to sustaining a family reunion throughout future years, and making sure the task does not fall to the same few people continually keeps the family from burning out.  
Reunion planning is a large task, but very rewarding, and I know appreciated by your family.

Family Reunions - Tips, Tricks and Tons of Fun


Part 1


This coming Friday the theme of Geneabloggers Radio will be family reunions and genealogy. They will be discussing the ins and outs of planning a family reunion, and how to incorporate genealogy into your event.

I will be unable to attend Geneabloggers on Friday evening, however, I would like to offer up my own thoughts and suggestions on Family Reunions.  I sit on two reunion committees, my Father’s family has been hosting family reunions every 5 years for the last 40 or more years and recently I was on the committee for my Mother’s family reunion, the Desmarais Reunion.

The Organization of a Family Reunion

Organization is the key to great family reunion; here are my suggestions to ensure success.

Set up a Committee – Give yourself plenty of time to get ready for your reunion. Whether you choose a yearly event, or every other year, or 3rd or 5th year, you can’t plan a large-scale event like a reunion without a committee.

It is always best to get representatives from all families present, including a wide selection of ages.  Meetings can start every couple of months until closer to the reunion and then move to every month and perhaps every couple of weeks. With email it is easy to stay in touch these days and on top of things between meetings.  Our reunion that takes place every 5 years starts with planning 1 year out and when we get about 6 months out we start getting together once a month.  

During meetings keep everyone on topic; assign a chairperson, your committee should also have a designated treasurer who will handle all of the finances.

Everyone at the table should a have responsibility whether that be a venue co-ordinator, activity planner, food organizer or registration coordinator. Other tasks can also involve non-committee members. Someone can be in charge of fundraising for subsequent reunions. Someone else can organize some children;s games while another family member can be responsible for communications.

Choosing a Timeframe- Picking your dates is a very big deal.  Adhering to the same weekend every year is usually a great way to make sure the family takes off the time from work with plenty of notice.  Moving it around on the calendar can make for some confusion and eliminate many family members who have other commitments.

Keep in mind long distance travellers; long weekends can be ideal times as it provides an extended long weekend to give out of town guests plenty of travel time.

Registrations- can be the number one problem when it comes to organizing a reunion. Many are late sending back their registrations forms with their money. Deposits have to be made. We set deadlines, if you don't make the due date the registration fee goes up. It works! 

The Cost of a Reunion – depending on the size of your reunion they can get quite costly, rental of a hall, a caterer, entertainment can all add up quickly. We charge a registration fee but we also offset this cost with fundraising. We will discuss fundraising in Part 2. 

A Fun-Filled Weekend 

Since our Kowalsky Family Reunion only takes place once every 5 years, it has become a pretty impress affair.  It usually involves approximately 250 family members from all across Canada, United States and England. Ours is a two-day event usually starting with a meet and greet on Friday evening. We gather on the beautiful farm belonging to my cousin. 

Friday evening is also reserved for setting up tents. Each family usually brings a tent or awning to protect themselves from the sun or rain. We end up with a tent village of sorts and this has turned into a fun family competition as one tent is named the best-decorated tent of the weekend.

Saturday morning we arrive around 10am for opening ceremonies.  Over the years, we have had some impressive opening ceremonies.Last year a marching band along with a parade of flags opened our reunion.  Each flag represented a nation of our ancestors and they were carried in by their descendants.  

In previous years we have had parachuters arrive, we have let off cages of doves, we have had canons and muskets fired for the occassion, and one year every person let off a balloon, (or course that wouldn’t be environmentally friendly today). Each balloon had a family members name and a address in it and an explanation as to the reason for the balloon. We asked that if someone found the balloon they drop us a line and let us know. It worked, we got a couple of letters back.

After opening ceremonies, we usually participate in an icebreaker. Someone is in charge of creating a game where everyone must mingle.

Last year everyone’s nametag came with a secret letter behind it. You had to spell the words ‘Kowalsky Reunion’, forcing you to go out and search them out amongst the crowd.

One year everyone got a t-shirt,  with our name and our number, for instance I was  GC26, the 26th grandchild of Ruth and Jerome. Whomever, had my shirt had to find me. For instance my oldest daughter was GGC53, the 53rd great-grandchild of Ruth and Jerome.This got everyone getting to know each other. 
Everyone searching for the owner of their shirt!!


Each family usually comes to the event in matching t-shirts; we are usually in red and white representing Canada’s colours and appropriately named Ken’s Krew (Ken being my father).

Ken's Krew 

The remainder of Saturday is filled with visiting, and some games for the kids, some of the more talented bring along their guitars and have a jam session.

Last year we started a new tradition. Ken’s Krew were offering a happy hour of sorts in their tent. A specialty drink made for the occasion free to all for that one hour. Once that got out other families jumped on the bandwagon.  Others brought chicken wings, baking, and wine tasting. It not only was great fun, it got everyone mingling from tent to tent. It was such a hit, that we believe it will be incorporated as a planned event in future reunions. 

Our Tiki Bar 


In the evening, we generally head to a hall for a catered dinner and dance. However, I believe next reunion we will be renting a large tent and staying put and having our dinner and dance out on the grounds.

Sunday usually starts a little later. Often we have a car rally for the teenagers and twenty somethings, this is always been a big hit. 




This past year, Sunday afternoon was reserved for our time capsule. Every family was asked to bring something for the capsule that was significant to their family, the time capsule will be opened in 2030. We also took this quiet time in the afternoon to handout our Family History Book that had been pre-ordered and pre-sold by many of those in attendance. 



Sunday usually ends early with a catered BBQ in order that those who are driving can head out at a reasonable time. Believe me we are all pretty exhausted by the time Sunday night arrives.

In Tomorrow’s post Part 2- I will explain some our fundraising ideas and more of our genealogy related fun.

Navigating the Beginner's Guides to Genealogy Research


I wanted to write a blog post about how to begin your genealogy research. Therefore, I did some of my own research, I googled "beginner's guides to genealogy research" and I received .....864,000 results. 

I can only imagine how a newbie family historian might feel a little overwhelmed at even knowing what beginner's guides they should consider reading before diving into their research. 

For those just starting out in researching their genealogy it pays to do a little investigation before you begin.You need to get yourself organized and understand what is available to you and put a plan into place. Inorder to have a plan, you have to have some working knowledge of what genealogy involves. Therefore, you want to get educated about how and where you should start. In addition, learn some of the tips and tricks from others who have gone before you.

After realizing there were already many options already available on the internet for the beginner, I began to think that maybe I should help a newcomer sort out some of the better articles (in my opinion). 

There are numerous articles, blogs and online learning tutorials available to anyone just beginning their genealogy research. How did I determine which ones to list. Well, some where articles I remember from my own newbie days years ago and they have stood the test of time. Some are newer; but caught my attention by the depth of their information and whether they were straight forward and easy to understand.  

So rather then reiterate what others have already so eloquently written, I instead would like to provide you with my list of links, which in my opinion offer some of the best beginner’s advice on the internet today for the greenest family historian. This is only the tip of the realms beginner genealogy advice out on internet, but I think it will get you where you need to be. 

Where to Start When You Don't Know Where to Start from Gentutorials presented by Genwriters is a 10 step tutorial program. 

How to Begin Tracing Your Family Tree by Kimberly Powell at About.com Genealogy with lots of links to plenty of information. 


A Guide to Research  at FamilySearch.org  

Genealogy 101 – at Rootsweb, while this article is 17 years old, it still has some good basics outlined for the newest of genealogists. 

Researching Your Family Tree  at learnwebskills.com is a self-paced tutorial for the beginner

An Introduction to Family Research - a self-paced tutorial from the Brigham Young University Independent Study program.

Genealogy from GeneaWiki.com is a comprehensive article about what genealogy involves. 

These are all free articles, you are not required to subscribe or pay a membership to view them, and they are all very sound advice. Some are quick overviews while many of the tutorials are great opportunities for more extensive learning. 


Monday Morning Mentions



Monday Morning Mentions is an opportunity to reflect on what has been happening at the Armchair Genealogist this past week over my morning cappuccino and give a nod to some of my peers who captured my attention in the blogging community.


If you want to see what ranked in my Google Reader this week click, The Armchair Genealogist's Google Reader Highlights 

You can also find me on Facebook. Stop by and leave a message. I often will link some great finds there as well. 

You can also follow me on twitter at @LynnPal or my twitter paper The Armchair Genealogist Journal. 

At the Armchair Genealogist this week, posts included the following: 



Each week I’m choosing four blogs that deserve a shout out, they will be in the form of 4 categories, Internet Genealogy, Family History Writing, a New Blog and a blog that posted a great old-fashioned family recipe. OK some weeks I choose more than 4 just because it to hard to pick just one, and it's my blog so I can change the rules. 

Internet Genealogy – a great genealogy or internet tip that will benefit any armchair genealogist
This week’s mention:

The big news in the internet genealogy circles this week has to be Google+. As we all try to get a handle on how we can make Google+ work for our genealogy circle, some have made some great inroads.  The Ginger Jewish Genealogist has a wonderful article, Google+ vs Facebook vs Twitter - 10 Things.  A great place to start learning.  Then jump over to Dear Myrtle's Genealogy Blog and join her Google+ Webinar, it continues on Monday July 18th, and Tuesday July 19th. There's still time to join in. 


Writing Your Family History – great advice or information on writing your family history
This week’s mention:

Writing Stories from Your Life  and Supercharge Your Life Stories with these Ideas, are two great posts offering some great support to my own post this week on Everyone Has a Story to Tell.  Both come by way of Lynette Benton at  Polish and Publish, Tactic and Tools for Creative Writers.


New Genealogy Blog – we will tip our hat to a newcomer who impresses us right out of the box
This week’s mention:  

Tales of an Aspiring Family Historian is off to a wonderful start. Motivated to learn more about her ancestors the author has started a lovely blog to document her journey. 

Family Recipe - a blog that makes us want to eat, and offers up a great old-fashioned family recipe to share on Family Recipe Friday.
This week's mention: 

Strawberry Dream Pie sounds pretty yummy, a family favorite  from TJLGenes: Preserving Our Family HIstory. I'm sure it will be just as nice with anyone of the fresh fruits during this harvest season. 


You can find more newcomers at Thomas' list of New Genealogy Blogs at Geneabloggers.  For other great reads, Randy at Genea-Musings offers the Best of the Genea-Blogs.  Greta does a great job at Greta’s Genealogy Bog, she offers the Follow Friday Newsletter each week, click here for this week’s edition

Have a great genealogy week, keep searching and writing!

Everyone Has A Story to Tell


Everyone has a book inside him or her, so it is said, however I particularly believe if you are a family historian you may have several.

What to Write About?

Before we answer the question of why you should write a book, let’s address what you should possibly write about in your book.

First, you have been collecting information on hundreds if not thousands of dead people over many years. Picking away at every intimate detail of their lives. I’m sure there is a story or two in there that you would love to share in a book.  Use your family history as the inspiration. Many a great book has been written on far less.

Aside from those family stories, there is also your own story. Perhaps your journey in revealing your family history has been adventurous. Maybe a memoir based around your personal journey of uncovering of a family secret, a tragedy or just an epic event in your family history is worthy of sharing. Possibly you returned to your ancestor’s homeland, discovered long lost living relatives, found a family member you never knew existed. So many possibilities for a book lie within your family history and within your experience of researching your ancestry.

Then there is your knowledge of genealogy. Perhaps you have become an expert in a particular discipline of genealogy and you want to share your understanding with a larger audience, you may wish to consider a non-fiction book. 

Do you feel you have a perspective to offer that hasn’t been covered?  How do you know? Simply go to Amazon and search for the topic you are interested in writing about? Go ahead I will wait here while you do that.....(fingers tapping on desk)

What did you find? Is there a need for your brand of expertise, is there a gap in the knowledge that is available? Can you offer a different or unique perspective? Is the most recent book long outdated and it’s time for a new and improved version....yours. Then perhaps a non-fiction book is in your future.

Maybe you transcribed a collection of documents in your own genealogy research, could others benefit from your work.  Have you considered publishing that collection?  Even though many documents are digitized and on the internet, not everything is available. Perhaps you have a collection you could provide in book format or better yet an ebook format. Who wouldn’t pay a small price to download and have accessible to them a collection of documents important to their genealogy research on there ebook reader no less?

Most likely you and I  are not going to be the next New York Times bestseller but there are still many advantages to writing a book, some much more practical then fame and fortune. Although nice if you manage to achieve both, most of us do not.

However, gone are the days of thinking you have to be some great talent to write a book, gone are days where writing a book is an elusive dream. Today it is practical to turn your knowledge, your experience and your stories into a viable, profitable book.

Today the reality exists that writing a book is for all practical purposes a great business move. If you’re in the business of genealogy then a book can benefit you in a few ways.

The Benefits of Writing a Book 

  •           It gives you credibility- a book can catapult you into an expert. With a book to your name, it can open up speaking engagements at genealogy conferences and at genealogy societies. It can expand your business opportunities as clients see you as an authority.


  •             It expands your current business clientele, brings you new clients, as you will be viewed as an authority simply by virtue of accumulating your knowledge in a book format.


  •            It can be your calling card- a business card of sorts, perhaps expensive but at the end of the day, it serves as a great marketing tool for the rest of your business. 


  •            If offers you another income stream – perhaps you already have a list of services you offer your clients, a book can be an alternative income stream. It probably won’t make you a millionaire, but it might pay a bill or two.


If you’re not looking to use your book as a business tool, but still have a story to tell, then tell it. Aside from the business opportunity, a book is a great expression of you, a means of communicating with the world and a remarkable way to leave a legacy.



Monday Morning Mentions


Monday Morning Mentions is an opportunity to reflect on what has been happening at the Armchair Genealogist this past week over my morning cappuccino and give a nod to some of my peers who captured my attention in the blogging community.


If you want to see what ranked in my Google Reader this week click, The Armchair Genealogist's Google Reader Highlights 

You can also find me on Facebook. Stop by and leave a message. I often will link some great finds there as well. 

You can also follow me on twitter at @LynnPal or my twitter paper The Armchair Genealogist Journal. 

At the Armchair Genealogist this week, posts included the following: 





Each week I’m choosing four blogs that deserve a shout out, they will be in the form of 4 categories, Internet Genealogy, Family History Writing, a New Blog and a blog that posted a great old-fashioned family recipe. OK some weeks I choose more than 4 just because it to hard to pick just one, and it's my blog so I can change the rules. 

Internet Genealogy – a great genealogy or internet tip that will benefit any armchair genealogist
This week’s mention:

This week I was interested in 

Questions about Online Trees, Greta asks some important questions and suggests you do the same at Greta's Genealogy Bog. She lays out some important aspects of a website to consider before choosing where to post your tree online. 

Writing Your Family History – great advice or information on writing your family history
This week’s mention:

 For those of you looking to learn more about the process of writing your family history, I encourage to listen in on Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems Episode 113. She interviews author John Paul Godges.  John turned his family story into a novel, Oh Beautiful, An American Family in the 20th Century. John shares in this interview his process of arriving at his families story. 

For those writers looking to go it alone and self-publish I applaud you. I want to draw your attention to The Newbie's Guide to Self-Publishing, where Joe Konrath shoots straight from the hip. I enjoyed this week's post The Tsunami of Crap. Bravo Joe! 


New Genealogy Blog – we will tip our hat to a newcomer who impresses us right out of the box
This week’s mention:  

The Scottish Genealogy Tips Tricks and Tidbits blog is looking to be a great asset for those of you with Scottish ancestry. Check it out if you've got some Scottish blood in your background. 

Family Recipe - a blog that makes us want to eat, and offers up a great old-fashioned family recipe to share on Family Recipe Friday.
This week's mention: 

Wendy shares this week her Grandma Donna's recipe for  Divinity Fudge. Taken from her Grandmother's home economics book, you can check it out at Shaking Leaves: My Adventures in Genealogy. Looks like a keeper to me! 

You can find more newcomers at Thomas' list of New Genealogy Blogs at Geneabloggers.  For other great reads, Randy at Genea-Musings offers the Best of the Genea-Blogs.  Greta does a great job at Greta’s Genealogy Bog, she offers the Follow Friday Newsletter each week, click here for this week’s edition

Have a great genealogy week, keep searching and writing!

Family Recipe Friday- Preserve Your Old-Fashioned Recipes in a Professional Cookbook



 Do you have family recipes scattered about your home, recipes that belonged to your Mother, Grandmother or Great-Grandmother?  Maybe your recipes are still in your mothers head still not recorded for future generations. Maybe their written on the back a scrape piece of paper and stuffed in a drawer somewhere.  It’s time to gather them up and create a professional cookbook that will become a treasured family heirloom.

I was recently directed to an online company called Tastebook. The family member who directed me to this website knew my love of family recipes and really felt this would be a great tool for the family historian to bring together their treasured family recipes.

Tastebook is an online company that allows you to upload your favourite recipes to their site.  You can then begin to create a beautiful hardback personal recipe book.   Your cookbook will feature a beautiful coloured picture front cover, you can choose from over 75 professional photos. It also offers plenty of pictures to choose from to customize your recipe book. 

You can include coloured tabs for organizing your cookbook into sections.  The easy open binder allows you to continue to take recipes out for cooking or shopping. You can also continue to add recipes; your cookbook can hold up to 100 recipes. 

This is a wonderful idea for the family historian with a box full of old-fashioned recipes you want to record and share.  You can group for recipes into collections. Some of the cookbooks I’m considering include French Canadian Traditions, Italian Family Favourites and Holidays Favourites. 

These make great gift ideas for Christmas, a bridal shower or family reunion.  You can even invite friends and family to contribute to your recipe book by making it a group project.

After adding your personal family recipes, you can either accompany the recipe with a picture of the dish or for a more personal touch, upload personal photos of the ancestor from which the recipe originated. By including pictures of your ancestors, you have turned a simple recipe book into a treasured family heirloom.

Prices start at $19.95 for 25 recipes, $29.95 for 50 recipes, and $34.95 for 100 recipes, I thought they were reasonable prices and would make great gift ideas. Perhaps you can only come up with 75 recipes, you pay the 100-recipe price and you’re given a 25-recipe credit. You can go back in at anytime, create 25 more recipes, and add them to your book later.

There is no cost to open an account and uploading your recipes, the only cost comes when you order your books.  Tastebook is a meaningful and personalized cookbook with personal recipes and photos, a personalized dedication page and a beautifully designed cover, you will not be disappointed. 

Family History Writers: Publish to 80% of the Market!


The tides are turning in the publishing industry.  With e-books outselling paper books and self-publishing gaining momentum, there is no better time than now to consider self-publishing. No longer are we confined and defined by the parameters that traditional publishing wishes to define authors. 

 Whether your family history will make a great novel or you wish to write a genealogy self-help book there are companies out there that are making it possible to think outside of the box and achieve your book publishing dreams. You don’t need any special skills to do it yourself; however, with these two companies in your corner you can promote your book to over 80% of the market.

These two companies exist in the form of CreateSpace and Lightening Source.
Let’s start with CreateSpace.

CreateSpace is a print and distribution provider owned by Amazon. It is here that you can create your book for the Amazon market. This is where I suggest you start.  CreateSpace will walk you through every step of the process. CreateSpace will not only get your book into the online market of Amazon.com but it will provide you with what I like to call a handholding experience.  Great for the newbie book author.

CreateSpace will help you print and distribute your print on demand book as well as prepare an e-book for Kindle.  There are free tools, like Cover Creator to help you design your book cover. If you’re not a DIY kind of person there are professional services that you can choose from based on what talents you are looking for, such as design, editing and marketing.  CreateSpace provides you with free ISBN numbers and an e-store where you can sell your book on your website as well as on the Amazon.com site.

Want to learn more about CreateSpace check out How to Self-Publish Your Book the CreateSpace Way.

However, CreateSpace will only provide you with your book for the Amazon market.

Now let’s take your book at step further.

You want to bring your book to the likes of Barnes and Noble and you want them in brick and mortar stores, then you must include Lightening Source as part of your self-publishing journey.

Ingram Book Company is the parent company for Lightening Source. Barnes and Nobles and Borders buys through Ingram Books. It is the leading distribution book company. Ingram has connections to over 30,000 wholesalers, retailers and booksellers in over 100 countries. With that kind of advantage, your book will gain the maximum exposure in today’s market. Their print on demand services allows them to print your book and have it ready for shipment within 12 hours or less.

If anybody orders your book through his or her local bookstore then Lightening Source will be able to provide it. With that being said, it will continue to remain very difficult to get your book into bookstores without a lot of self-promotion.

When you deal with Lightening Source, you have a direct line to Amazon; anything listed with Lightening Source is put on Amazon by default. However, if you go with Createspace and then want to expand your reach with Lightening Source, Amazon will snatch up another 20% off your profits for that luxury.

If you plan on only 1 book that will be purchased mostly by family and friends, go with Createspace. However, if you are planning to write more than one book or have a backlist of books then it is worth it for you to consider Lightening Source. Where Createspace is free, Lightening Source will cost you about $100.00 in initial fees. As well, you have the expenses of design and edit editing costs if you choose to outsource these tasks  but of course these are not free at CreateSpace merely and option available to you.  Of course keep these costs can be reduced by doing it yourself.

Lightening Source has printing plants in both the U.S. and U.K, so your book can be distributed in both the U.S. and Europe.

However, Lightening Source only deals with publishers. No worries, that’s you!!...by simply creating a small publishing company.

Ok take a deep breath it’s not that complicated. Simply choose a name for your publishing company, perhaps set up a website but not necessary, and purchase some ISBN numbers. By the way, in Canada ISBNs are free. You can buy them in groups and since you will need one for each type of ebook format and print book you produce, this would be the wisest move. When you have all your ducks in a row set up your account at Lightening Source.

Lightening Source will not help you design your cover, or edit your book etc.etc. There are plenty of author’s services that will help you with that process if you’re not up for the challenge.

Lightening Source collects the wholesale price, deducts the print cost and then pays the publisher (that’s you) the balance. The price for this service is $12.00 a year per title, just one dollar a month.  Lightening Source looks after all the paperwork, no messy invoicing on your part. This is a solid company you don’t have to worry about it closing up shop anytime soon. In addition, your agreement with them is nonexclusive, meaning that if you get a better offer, you are free to take your book and run.

By working with both CreateSpace and Lightening Source, not only will you promote your book to the largest market available to a self-publisher you will align yourself with the best chance of success.