google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Armchair Genealogist: October 2012

Want to Build a Family History Legacy Book

Calling All Ancestors - A Halloween History

( This is a repost, but each year, I always enjoy a refresher in Halloween history)

 Today we celebrate Halloween. A day for children to adorn scary and cute costumes and parade from door to door filling bags with candy. Adults and children will carve pumpkins and set them a glow with candles. They will decorate their front doors in cheap scary apparel in an attempt to create an ominously festive evening. After a couple of hours of handing out mini chocolate bars we will turn out the lights sit down on the couch to a scary movie and eat the remaining Halloween candy. (I always sub-consciously buy too much for this very purpose.) Halloween will be complete for another year with little thought to why and where this tradition began. Many don’t participate in Halloween anymore, and the rest of us don't really see it past the commercial event it has become, to line the pockets of candy and costume companies. October 31st seconds only to Christmas in retail sales.

There was a time when Halloween was about welcoming the spirits of dead ancestors to walk the earth. The holiday of dead spirits is in fact a tradition that dates back long before candy and costume companies got a hold of it. Two thousand years ago, the Celts of Northern Europe celebrated the first festival of Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-in’ meaning end of summer.) Samhain marked the beginning of winter and the Celtic New Year. This one night a year the Celts believed the veil between the living and the dead was most permeable allowing the spirits of the dead to roam the earth. Families set out food and wine just in case their ancestors dropped by for a visit in the form of a black cat.

For some it may have been a little unsettling sitting around waiting for spirits to manifest. This encouraged people to dress in costumes of the dead in order to camouflage themselves and blend in with the real spirits. Then parades began in the hopes of drawing the spirits away from their homes. Druid Priests built hilltop fires to encourage the end of winter and the return of the sun. For good fortune, people would bring the fires from the hilltop to hearths in their homes by way of carrying the hot embers in hollowed out turnips. To ensure a safe journey home and to ward off the evil spirits they would carve scary faces into the turnips, thus illuminating the first jack-o-lanterns.

By the middle ages, the Catholic Church established a trio of holidays known as Hallowmas, October 31st became all Hallows eve, November 1st became All Saints Day and November 2nd became All Souls Day. In place of setting out treats for the dead, Catholics were encouraged to offer “soul cakes” small pastries and breads to the poor in exchange for prayers for departed family members. Town’s people still masqueraded but now they dressed as angels, saints and devils and visited from house to house, a tradition that evolved into trick or treating. The Christian holiday was meant to end Samhain, instead it solidified the holiday of Halloween.

Halloween did not take hold in North America until the 19th century with the arrival of Irish and Scottish immigrants. Prior a Catholism based tradition was not a popular idea and in light of the hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials, the thought of inviting devils to walk among the living was not highly encouraged. Once Halloween took hold in North America, it became a harvest festival, pumpkins replaced turnips, games and parties became the rage. As time passed, Halloween became less engaged by adults and became a children’s holiday.

Today, Halloween bears little resemblance to its origin. Many would suggest our ancestors were naive to believe spirits of the dead walk among us. However, I can't be certain the commercialism that revolves around October 31st today makes us anymore the wiser. I also have to wonder what Halloween will look like 100 years from now? Will it exist at all?

I for one would like to acknowledge the original intention of the day and would welcome sitting down to a glass of wine with the spirits of my dead ancestors. I may even get a few of my genealogy questions answered.... now that would be a treat.

Happy Halloween!

If you could speak to an ancestor this one day a year, who would it be?

Monday Morning Mentions


Monday Morning Mentions is an opportunity to reflect on the events of the week at the Armchair Genealogist and in the blogging and book community. Over my morning cappuccino, I will take the opportunity to share with you some of my favourite blogs posts this week and give a nod to my peers.




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:

Monday Morning Mentions

The Non-Genealogy Conference That Re-Kindled My Genealogy Bliss

8 Tips and A Tool for Self-Editing Your Family History Blog 



Internet Genealogy – a great genealogy or internet tip that will benefit any armchair genealogist.

This week's mention:


Every wonder if you need permission to photograph dead people...well their tombstones at least, you might be surprised. Read Cemetery Photos: Permission Required? by Judy Russell at The Legal Genealogist. 

Christmas is fast approaching, yes I said it, and Thomas and Flip-Pal are helping us get creative. Creating Great Family Photo Gifts with The Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner, written by Thomas MacEntee at Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner Genealogy Blog. Don't miss the free webinar. 

Biff Barnes helps us to turn the boring facts of our family history into colourful stories in Your Family History Didn't Happen in a Vacuum at Stories to Tell. 

And if your looking for a little spooky tale read Family Tradition: Did Lizzy Borden's Ancestor Kill His Mother Too? by Jennie Cohen at history.com 

Evernote lovers, check out Evernote on the Web: 5 Excellent Tools to Use by Charnita Fance at bloggingtips.com. Tools to enhance your Evernote experience. 


Social Media for the Genealogist - this will include social media advice and learning opportunities from experts both inside and outside of the genealogy industry.

If you would like to understand your blog analytics a little better and set some goals for your blogging business then read 5 Goals Every Blogger Should Up in Google Analytics by Eugen Oprea at Problogger.net.


Writing Family History - great advice or information on writing your family history.

This week’s mention:
Have you been writing a journal all your life and are now wondering how deal with them once your gone. Lee Laughlin at Live to Write - Write to Live addresses the question, What To Do With Your Journals? 


Productivity and Motivation for the busy genealogist - we all struggle with juggling family life, research, writing, blogs and on and on. Each week I'll choose a blog post that just might give you that little push you need. 

This Week's mention:
Feel like you're spinning your wheels, working more but getting less done, read 10 Personal Productivity Mantras for Entrepreneurs by Martin Zwelling at examiner.com 



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

Meet Barbara J Starman and her new blog Out of My Tree. A fellow Canadian, Barbara is well versed in Canadian and English genealogy. Be sure to stop by her blog and say help. I'm looking forward to following and learning from Barbara. 



Books that Move and Matter - each week we will feature an ebook or print book with the family historian in mind. It may come as a great source of information, for research or writing or playing to our historical interests, or may just be a great read I think genealogists will love.

This week Gillian Mawson releases her book Guernsey Evacuees. On Thursday Nov 1st, her book will go live on Amazon.com. I'm looking forward to reading to her book. Gillian has interviewed over 200 evacuees for the purposes of this book. Gillian runs a community group for Guernsey evacuees in England. She runs workshops in local schools bringing the history of the evacuees to this generation. 



The Webinar Watch - Each week we will list upcoming webinars mostly in genealogy, but occasionally I come across one for writing or social media I think is beneficial, I'll be sure to share it here. 

This week's webinars: 

Dear Myrtle's usual Monday webinar has been postponed due to the impending storm. 

Breaking Down Your Irish Brick Wall presented by Judith Eccles Wight hosted by Legacy Family Tree on Wed Oct 31st. FREE. 

Immigrant Voices - Angel Island Immigration presented by Roy Chan hosted by Southern California Genealogical Society


Other Great Round-ups

You can find more new genealogy bloggers at Thomas' list of New Genealogy Blogs at Geneabloggers.

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

Read Friday Finds by Julie Cahill at GenBlog


Dan Curtis, Professional Personal Historian always puts together some interesting selections in Monday's Link Round-Up.


British and Irish Genealogy blog offers lots of goodies, This week brings Genealogy News for Oct 26th.


And Jana Last lists some favorites on Follow Friday -- Fab Finds for Oct 26th, 2012 by Jana Last on Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog.

Michael Leclerc writes From the Blogs, on the Mocavo Genealogy Blog.

Here's a new round-up to follow, Two Nerdy History Girls offers us a weekly round-up. I think you'll find them fascinating. This week's Breakfast Links: Week of Oct 15th.

And John at Transylvanian Dutch brings us his Weekly Genealogy Picks.


Have a great genealogy week, keep researching and writing!

8 Tips and A Tool for Self-Editing Your Family History Blog

Every week we're faced with the task of writing a  post for our family history blog. Every week we  hit publish and hope we crossed our t’s and dotted our i’s. It can be a daunting task to self-edit your own blog posts before they go live.

When you write a book you have the luxury of completing all your writing and revisions upfront and then pay a professional editor to help you fine tune it before you head to publishing. In the world of blogging you hit publish each and every week, sometimes several times a week with little time and attention for edits.

Each time we click publish, we want to present ourselves in a professional light. Yet each and every week we are faced with deadlines, schedules and life’s chaos. Our weekly posts can sometimes be done in a rather rushed and hap-hazard manner.

Regardless of whether you are following the family history blog to book project, or writing a how-to genealogy blog, editing your blog posts shouldn't be a quick once over. We are all guilty of not taking time when it comes to the editing process.

While spell check is a wonderful thing it shouldn't be your only method of editing your blog posts. Below are some tips and tools to help you edit your blog posts in a more organized fashion. After reading over the tips be sure to download the Peer and Self-Editing Worksheet, a tool to help you identify any weaknesses in your blog posts before you hit publish.

8 Tips to Self-Editing Your Family History Blog Posts 

1. Walk Away – Give your post time to sit. After having written and revised my blog post several times, I walk away from it. Sometimes for a few hours, sometimes for the remainder of the day but never any longer than a day. This time away helps me to come back to it with a fresh perspective, a clear head and this in turn allows me to see my message more clearly and recognize any errors.

2. Read it Out Loud – several times, first looking at it from a story perspective. Does it follow a natural progression, is the story clear. Read it slowly and out loud making sure you say every word. Often we know the post so well we tend to read the sentence without really seeing the words. If I stumble over a sentence that's usually a signal to me that perhaps that sentence needs some attention.

3. Remove Unnecessary Words – this is a biggy for me. I also find the more I work on this the more I am aware of it in my initial writing. Say what you need to say in as few words as possible.

4. Read It Out Loud Again- I can't stress this enough. This time around focusing on complete sentences grammar and punctuation.

5. Complete A Grammar Edit -  Are you using everyday language? Is your punctuation correct? I keep The Little Red Writing Book close by for easy look ups and a refresher for structure, style and grammar.

6. A Peer Edit - If I have the time or I'm finding a post particularly challenging, I'll ask a friend or family member to review my post. A second set of eyes is always best for editing but not always practical in blogging. Find yourself a blogging buddy who will exchange peer edits.

7. Don’t Sweat It – If you catch an error after hitting publish or a reader picks up on an error go back in and correct it and move on. Don't beat yourself up about it.

8. Use The Peer and Self-Editing Worksheet - Print this worksheet off and keep it handy when you are self-editing your blog posts or better yet send it to friend, a fellow blogger and ask them to be a peer editor.

Do you have any tips or tricks for self-editing your blog posts? Share them in comments.

The Non-Genealogy Conference that Re-Kindled My Genealogy Bliss!

This past weekend I attended a blogging/writing/social media conference known as Blissdom. I’ll be honest after registering for Blissdom some months ago, I had my doubts about whether this conference would be the right fit for me. Following the Twitter feed and Facebook pages it seemed to have a large mommy blogger following, and while I am a mom and a blogger I have never considered myself a Mommy blogger.

Regardless, I stepped out of my comfort zone. First, because I wanted to attend a conference that was blogging and writing focused and not genealogy focused. I wanted to see the blogging industry from another perspective. With all my anxieties in tow, I signed up for every event, created a costume for the costume and karaoke party and laid down my introverted tendencies for one weekend.(Thanks to Susan Cain's book )

First thing I learned upon arriving, I was not alone, alone in the sense there were so many first-time attendees and  many did not consider themselves mommy bloggers. I also learned many in fact dislike the term. Once the networking began and I have to say this conference knows how to present you with wonderful networking opportunities, I found the environment to be welcoming and supportive. Standouts for me were the value of the content from the micro-sessions ( which I would have appreciated more time for) and the speakers who were incredible writers with fantastic stories. I can honestly say I have never walked away from a conference with so much swag. The brands truly spoiled us. Oh and being on the Road Rally winning team was pretty cool too!

As a family history blogger at a blogging conference my concern was how would I be received. How would I explain what I do, would it require long explanations and would others be disinterested. In fact I found the opposite. Because I was unique in the crowd, many took a sincere interest in my blog. Because the majority of conference goers were women and mothers, family history was certainly something they had thought about or will soon face as they begin to lose their parents and grandparents.

One of my most blissful moments of the conference came when I had the opportunity to listen to Ami McKay speak. Ami is the author of The Birth House  and The Virgin Cure. I have been a big fan since I read her first book The Birth House in 2007. When I learned she would be speaking at this conference I knew I had made the right decision to attend. If nothing else worked out for me, she was worth the price of my ticket. 

You see, Ami’s first book was about a mid-wife in Nova Scotia during the early years of WWI. My great-grandmother was a mid-wife in a rural French community in Northern Ontario during this very same time frame. It has always been a desire of mine to write her story. Ami’s second book, The Virgin Cure is about a female doctor in New York City in the early 1870’s. It is based on Ami McKay’s great-great grandmother. 

So I knew, I knew that Ami McKay understood the power of family history and when she spoke on Saturday afternoon I was the proudest attendee in the room. Ami shared with us how her first exposure to family history stories was as a young child playing under the kitchen table. Ami went on to share a moving and remarkable story about her family history. I won’t retell it here, but my genealogy friends will appreciate that it involved three generations of women, cancer and DNA testing. I was fighting back the tears and it was clear to me Ami was emotional in telling her own story. My bliss, my passion for family history was being expressed from the stage in the form of Ami McKay.

After she spoke I had the honour of meeting Ami during the book signing. I didn’t expect to be emotional but I was. I’m not sure why, I guess I just really felt a connection to this woman and that she really understood my perspective of family history and storytelling. When I announced to her in the book signing that I was a family historian, she leaned in and gave me a hug! That was my most blissful moment.....Ami’s acknowledgment of my passion and our bond.  We talked a little more and I could honestly say it was the most pivotal moment in the conference for me if not in my writing career. I could have spent hours sitting at a kitchen table discussing writing and family history with Ami McKay but that few minutes she took with me re-kindled my drive to continue my journey of writing my family history stories.


While this conference did not resemble anything close to a genealogy conference, family history was represented and my resolve about the power of our family history stories remains un-waivered. So my initial reaction to not attend Blissdom because I would not be understood or there would be little for me to learn was unfounded. And my most important lesson probably didn't come in the form of the sessions but from the act of stepping out of my comfort zone and my own genealogy blogging world.

My biggest Blissdom lesson: Take your message to the world, not only will others be influenced by your bliss but you just might find others rejuvenating the bliss within you...



Monday Morning Mentions....A Little Late


 Monday Morning Mentions is an opportunity to reflect on the events of the week at the Armchair  Genealogist and in the blogging and book community. Over my morning cappuccino, I will take the opportunity to share with you some of my favourite blogs posts this week and give a nod to my peers.


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:

Monday Morning Mentions
Scrivener For The Family History Writer - The Corkboard 
(part of our mini-webinar series) 


This weekend I attended a blogging/social media conference in Toronto, which is the reason this post is a little late. I took away some great information, heard from some incredible speakers and met some remarkable ladies. In the weeks to come I'll be sharing some of these experiences with you and how they have effected me and this blog. Stay tuned. 



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

Michele at Ancestoring shares her mistakes and how she learned  The Basics of Citing Your Sources in this great post. 

 Edie at Freud's Butcher shares her thoughts on the non-traditional family in this post Sex and the Single Genealogist.  

This week, Caroline at 4 Your Family Story asks What is a Pedigree Chart? and in the process helps us to understand how to use it in our research plan. 

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

Let's face it we all had one of those days. Tired of Blogging? Some Tips on How to Keep Writing courtesy of Blogging Tips.com helps us get around those moments when we are feeling less than inspired. 

 Anna Elliot at Writer Unboxed looks at Exploding the Perfect Writer Myth, so true!! 

Social Media for the Genealogist - this will include social media advice and learning opportunities from experts both inside and outside of the genealogy industry.


This past week Ancestry.com caught the attention of the digital marketing company Lonelybrand.com. In this week's post Janelle Vreeland outlines  5 Ways Ancestry.com is Rocking Pinterest. Certainly some great advice for our own pinterest boards. 

But then our own Valerie Elkins of Family Cherished has her Top 12 Tips for Using Pinterest for Family History.  Valerie is teaching Pinterest Pinja 101! 

LinkedIn has been making some changes lately, here's a post from socialmediaexaminer.com to help you make sense of it, Will You Benefit from LinkedIn's Revamped Profile Pages? by Samantha Collier. 

In my efforts to learn more about Instagram, here's one some of you Instagram lover's may appreciate, How to Choose the Best Instagram Filter for Your Photos courtesy of Stephanie Buck at mashable.com


Productivity and Motivation for the busy genealogist - we all struggle with juggling family life, research, writing, blogs and on and on. Each week I'll choose a blog post that just might give you that little push you need. 

I'm terrible at cleaning out my inbox, always looking for a workflow to help me improve this area I came across this post that just may help, 10 Tips for Managing Your Email Effectively by Ste Kerwer at dukeo.com.



New Genealogy Blog – we will tip our hat to a newcomer who impresses us right out of the box

This week's mention: 

This week's standout from the new blogs goes to The Ancestor Hunt. Created by Kenneth R Marks, I'm loving the look and feel of this blog. It's easy to read with some very helpful posts and great writing. Nice work Kenneth. 


Books that Move and Matter - each week we will feature an ebook or print book with the family historian in mind. It may come as a great source of information, for research or writing or playing to our historical interests, or may just be a great read I think genealogists will love.

No time this week to source out a new book, will have a new book for you next week. 

The Webinar Watch - Each week we will list upcoming webinars mostly in genealogy, but occasionally I come across one for writing or social media I think is beneficial,  I'll be sure to share it here. 

This week's webinars: 

TNG of Genealogy Sitebuilding Series presented and hosted by Dear Myrtle on Monday Oct 22. Free. 

Your Civil War Ancestors presented by Michael Hait, posted by Legacy Family Tree. Wednesday Oct 24th. Free. 



You can find more new genealogy bloggers at Thomas' list of New Genealogy Blogs at Geneabloggers.

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

Read Friday Finds by Julie Cahill at GenBlog 

Dan Curtis, Professional Personal Historian always puts together some interesting selections in Monday's Link Round-Up.
British and Irish Genealogy blog offers lots of goodies, This week brings Genealogy News for Oct 19th.
And Jana Last lists some favorites on Follow Friday -- Fab Finds for Oct 19th, 2012 by Jana Last on Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog. 

Michael Leclerc writes From the Blogs, on the Mocavo Genealogy Blog.

Here's a new round-up to follow, Two Nerdy History Girls offers us a weekly round-up. I think you'll find them fascinating. This week's Breakfast Links: Week of Oct 15th

And John at Transylvanian Dutch brings us his Weekly Genealogy Picks



Have a great genealogy week, keep researching and writing!

Scrivener for the Family History Writer - The Corkboard

I hope you enjoy this second mini-webinar in this series, Scrivener for the Family History Writer. In this video we take a closer look at the corkboard and how you can customized this unique tool that will help you to brainstorm and outline your family history projects.



If you missed our first video An Introduction to Scrivener for the Family History Writer you can catch it here. 
If you want to grab a copy of the writing software program, Scrivener click below (affiliate links)

Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)
Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)

More videos are on the way, if you have any questions that I can address in future videos or in the comments below please give me a shout, until then enjoy the video.

Monday Morning Mentions


 Monday Morning Mentions is an opportunity to reflect on the events of the week at the Armchair  Genealogist and in the blogging and book community. Over my morning cappuccino, I will take the opportunity to share with you some of my favourite blogs posts this week and give a nod to my peers.


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:

Monday Morning Mentions


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

Jordan Scoggins at Jordan's Journey shares a very thoughtful post this week, The Language of Genealogy. Jordan provides some fantastic insights into our choice of words and how it affects our genealogy research.

Evernote is a huge part of a family historian's life. Came across this little video by Steve Dotto on Lifehack.org. Check out How to Use Evernote for Everything,  I learned a little tip in here that just might prove useful to you as well.

Denise at the Family Curator mulls over whether a item is an Heirloom, Keepsake or Trash?  Always a tough decision. 



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

I love this idea and I think you will too, The Family Yearbook by Moultrie Creek. Just like a school yearbook Moultrie Creek suggests combining the current year's events with some family history stories and create a yearly book for the family. Give it a read some great ideas.

Are You a New Writer? Read This. If you think you've got it all figured out, James Roy Daley at Books of the Dead Press has some realism for you. It's not meant to discourage but to help go into writing with your eyes wide open. 


Social Media for the Genealogist - this will include social media advice and learning opportunities from experts both inside and outside of the genealogy industry.

Let's face it writing a headline for your family history blog post sometimes is the most difficult task for a blog writer. Garrett Moon from Social Media Today has A Practical System for Writing Snappy Headlines that Grow Traffic, and who doesn't like practical! 

Sometimes we get caught up in all the social media and trying to be all things, this post Simplifying Twitter: Be a Person, Not a Brand streamlines these issues. Great stuff here from Writer Unboxed by Nina Bazdin. 


Productivity and Motivation for the busy genealogist - we all struggle with juggling family life, research, writing, blogs and on and on. Each week I'll choose a blog post that just might give you that little push you need. 


Why You Need to Stop Compensating will be the one blog post this week that will set you straight and give you a clear focus for a great week. Jeremy Statton from the blog Living Better Stories always brings great lessons through life experiences, this one is no exception.  


New Genealogy Blog – we will tip our hat to a newcomer who impresses us right out of the box

This week's mention: 

Well this new blog certainly got my attention this week. I mentioned this blog earlier in the post but felt he needed a more formal introduction. Be sure to check out Jordan's Journey. Jordan has written a family history book which he describes as "Equal parts genealogical memoir, art photography, and local history, Jordan’s Journey pulls you in with a rich and immersive experience. With more than 75 original photos by the author, as well as over 150 vintage images, Jordan’s Journey invites you on a trip into the rural south of yesteryear." 

On his blog about the book, Jordan shares his research as well as the inward lessons he's learning through his journey. Looking forward to reading more from Jordan. 


Books that Move and Matter - each week we will feature an ebook or print book with the family historian in mind. It may come as a great source of information, for research or writing or playing to our historical interests, or may just be a great read I think genealogists will love.

Becoming an Excellent Genealogist: Essays on Professional Research Skills edited by Kory L. Meyerink, MLS,AG, FUGA; Tristan L.Tolman, AG; and Linda K. Gulbrandsen, AG. This softbound book sells for $19.95 from the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists. 

This book is geared to the the genealogist who wants to move their skills beyond the introductory level of instruction. You can view the list of essays contained in the book here.  



The Webinar Watch - Each week we will list upcoming webinars mostly in genealogy, but occasionally I come across one for writing or social media I think is beneficial,  I'll be sure to share it here. 

This week's webinars: 

I Have an IPad and I'm Not Afraid to Use It? presented by Dear Myrtle. Monday Oct 15th. Free. 

Ten Brick Wall Tips for Intermediate Researchers presented by Marian Pierre-Louis hosted by Legacy Family Tree Webinars, Wednesday Oct 17th. Free. 

Online Colonial Records presented by Josh Taylor hosted by Southern California Genealogical Society, Wednesday Oct 17th. Free. 

The Secret Lives of Women: Research Females Ancestors Using the Sources They Left Behind presented by Gena Philbert-Ortega hosted by Utah Genealogical Society, Wednesday Oct 18th. Free. 


You can find more new genealogy bloggers at Thomas' list of New Genealogy Blogs at Geneabloggers.

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

Read Friday Finds by Julie Cahill at GenBlog 

Dan Curtis, Professional Personal Historian always puts together some interesting selections in Monday's Link Round-Up.

British and Irish Genealogy blog offers lots of goodies, This week brings Genealogy News for Oct 12th.

And Jana Last lists some favorites on Follow Friday -- Fab Finds for Oct 12th, 2012 by Jana Last on Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog. 

Michael Leclerc writes From the Blogs, on the Mocavo Genealogy Blog.  

Here's a new round-up to follow, Two Nerdy History Girls offers us a weekly round-up. I think you'll find them fascinating. This week's Breakfast Links: Week of Oct 8th. 


Have a great genealogy week, keep researching and writing!

Blog to Book: Choosing Pictures and Documents

What's In and What's Out? 

Family historians faced with the task of writing a family history are often conflicted by the difficult decision of what to include and what to edit out of their family history book. Faced with mountains of documents and pictures many family historians get trapped into the believe that everything should be in the book. Often I've heard comments from family historians who feel a family history book is out of the question, “it would be 500 pages and exorbitant in price to print.”

I’m here to tell you not every single document and picture needs to make it into your book. I hear the gasps now. I know it's so hard to leave one document behind. You want to share every document and picture you've spent years tracking down. But there are choices to be made. You can still tell a great story, create a beautiful and complete family history book that doesn't include every photo and document. In fact, by being selective about what’s in and what’s out of your book is likely to create a better book.

How do you make the difficult choices in determining which pictures and documents should be in and which should be out. Below I've given you a few guidelines to consider when choosing the pictures and documents that should be in your blog to book project.

First let’s address the blog vs. the book


Since initially you are writing your stories for a family history blog and turning it into a book later you do have a little bit of room to maneuver. In a blog you definitely have the option of including more pictures. Adding pictures to a blog will not add any additional costs as they could in a book. Pictures in a blog are also a very valuable tool. Pictures can help set the tone and setting very quickly in a blog post, where keeping word counts to a minimum is the name of the game.  A  blog post also does not require a high quality picture unlike printing a book. 

In a book, space is very limited, each additional page adds to the size of the book and the cost, space equals money and therefore every page is prime real estate. In a book we need to be much more selective about the our choice of pictures and documents.

So while your family history blog is a great space to share a lot of treasured pictures and documents, when it comes to the book you’re going to have to be very selective about which documents and pictures will carry forward.

How to determine which pictures and documents should be in your blog to book project.

Think like a reader not like a family historian when choosing pictures and documents for your book.  (Tweet this)

1. Consider the quality of your picture or document.

Is the picture or document print quality? Print requires pictures to be scanned at 300 dpi (dots per square inch). If the picture is poorly scanned you’ll end up with a blurred, grainy photo. Choose from your best quality pictures and scan them at 300 dpi.  There is nothing worse than a document or picture occupying valuable page space that can’t be read or is blurry. Just because it looks great on the blog doesn't mean it will look the same in the book. Web pages can get away with lower quality pictures. Don’t include a document or picture that won’t print well, it devalues your book and frustrates your reader.

While you may have only 1 picture of your 4th great-grandfather and it’s not good, we can overlook that, after all it’s the only one you got. But if you have several, get selective, choose quality not quantity when it comes to pictures and documents.

2 .Does the picture or document reveal or support a claim in your story?

Does the picture help demonstrate an ancestor’s character. Sometimes one great picture can be far more impactful then a dozen mediocre pictures. Make each one count. Does the document reveal a valuable piece of information? Support a claim? Does the document or picture support a new found piece of information, demonstrate a pivotal point in your ancestor’s life or debunk a previous story or myth, then by all means use it. Decide which documents and pictures bring valuable information to the book while eliminating other documents that could be summed up in a line or two in the narrative.

3. Does the document or picture engage the reader?

Will the addition of the document or picture add value to the reader’s overall experience? Or does it add clutter?  A great picture or document should entice the reader to move beyond the picture and read the narrative.

Pictures are used in print to capture attention, and aid in the telling of a story. It appeals to the visual-side of a reader. When you open a family history book your family will immediately be drawn to the pictures. Those pictures should entice them to read the narrative. Don’t tell your whole story through the pictures and documents. Make sure they engage the reader just enough to leave them wanting more…the story!
Ask yourself is the addition of this picture or document worth the added cost? Space is precious, don’t waste it on pictures and documents that don’t add value to story.  Less may be more!

A Note About Pedigree Charts

Nothing annoys me more than a family history book with a massive family pedigree chart inside the front cover. You've seen the one with every single family line on one chart, the names are so small you need a magnifying glass to read it, assuming your even slightly intrigued to take it on and figure it out.
Pedigree charts should be an aid to the reader. They should help the reader to keep all the players in your family history story straight. Pedigree charts needn't be overwhelming. Assume the reader has never seen a pedigree chart, keep it simple and readable. Do several if need be, but don’t try to impress the reader with massive pedigree charts.

Determining what’s in and what’s out of your family history blog to book can be a painful process for a family historian. Consider using your family history blog as a place to share those extra photos and documents but the book is the place to be more selective. Keep your audience in mind at all times and think like the reader your more likely to produce a beautiful book with just the right amount of pictures and documents.

Monday Morning Mentions


 Monday Morning Mentions is an opportunity to reflect on the events of the week at the Armchair  Genealogist and in the blogging and book community. Over my morning cappuccino, I will take the opportunity to share with you some of my favourite blogs posts this week and give a nod to my peers.


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:

Monday Morning Mentions
Journaling Your Family History Journey
The Moment I Knew - Shannon's Story 


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

The (Not So) Private Lives of Our Ancestors by Thomas MacEntee at Archives. Thomas explores the records that provide a window into the private lives of our ancestors. 

Last week I introduced you to a new genealogy blog and this week here's a post from Freud's Butcher, that  I think you'll agree shares some valuable lessons. Be sure to read, Five Genealogy Lessons I Learned from B'Nai B'rith (Once I Stopped Sulking) by Edie Jarolim.



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

How to Become an Exceptional Writer by Demian Farnworth at Copyblogger. Damian expands on four aspects of writing; strategy, technique, knowledge and flair.

As genealogist we are dear friends to the librarian and want to help and support them during this transition period in the book industry. If you're following the problems that libraries are experiencing with ebook lending and the Big 6 Publishers you'll be particularly interested in this post from a very upset librarian. If you're not up to speed, please read for an education. E-books in Libraries: They Still Don't Get It posted at A Newbie's Guide to Publishing by J.A. Konrath.(warning this librarian uses some strong language)


Social Media for the Genealogist - this will include social media advice and learning opportunities from experts both inside and outside of the genealogy industry.

This post outlines a great routine for editing your blog before clicking publish. Read 7 Editing Tips to Improve Your Blog Writing Skills from Social Media Today by Natalie Contreras



New Genealogy Blog – we will tip our hat to a newcomer who impresses us right out of the box

This week's mention: 

Be sure to offer your support to the new blog Georgia Archives Matters. Run entirely by advocates to keep the Georgia Archives open to the public and staffed. It will contain updates and information on the campaign to save the archive as well as announcements and commentary. 


Books that Move and Matter - each week we will feature an ebook or print book with the family historian in mind. It may come as a great source of information, for research or writing or playing to our historical interests, or may just be a great read I think genealogists will love.
 
This week Stephanie at Corn and Cotton and the bookstore at Moultrie Creek brought this book to my attention. 

Past-Forward, A three-decade and three-thousand mile journey home by Maureen K. Wlodarczyk.



Available in print for $24.67 or on Kindle for $2.99. Downloaded mine this week. Be sure to grab yours.

Here's the book description from Amazon: 


Time can’t “heal all wounds” but traveling its dusty, winding paths searching for its long-lost stories can be a journey of love that ultimately soothes those wounds with the balm of context and perspective.

I am a DNA dead-end. The journey of a genetic signature that originated tens of thousands of years ago and wound its way through the ages, the eras, the centuries and generations of my maternal ancestors to fuse into my being at the moment of my own conception ends with me. Maternal DNA, called mitochondrial DNA or MtDNA, is passed by mothers to all their children, male or female, but only daughters can pass it on to the next generation. That means that the MtDNA passed on by mother to daughter for tens of thousands of years remains the very same MtDNA. Whenever a woman does not give birth to a daughter, she becomes a DNA dam, a DNA dead-end..like me.My maternal DNA was one of many hereditary gifts given to me by my ancestors including my dear grandmother Kate. Kate survived a sad and turbulent childhood at the turn of the twentieth century in order to make that gift which resulted in my safe, secure childhood, starkly different from her own. For more than thirty years during Kate's life and after her death, I struggled to research her family lineage and history, determined to discover her "story" and dilute her painful childhood memories with a broad tale of the generations that defined us. This is that tale.


The Webinar Watch - Each week we will list upcoming webinars mostly in genealogy, but occasionally I come across one for writing or social media I think is beneficial,  I'll be sure to share it here. 

This week's webinars: 

Is Social Media a Genealogist's Tool   presented by Dear Myrtle on Monday Oct 8th. FREE. 

Jumping Over Hurdles in German Research presented by Leslie Albrecht Huber, hosted by IIlnois  State Genealogical Society. Tuesday Oct 9th. FREE. 



You can find more new genealogy bloggers at Thomas' list of New Genealogy Blogs at Geneabloggers.

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

Read Friday Finds by Julie Cahill at GenBlog 

Dan Curtis, Professional Personal Historian always puts together some interesting selections in Monday's Link Round-Up.

British and Irish Genealogy blog offers lots of goodies, This week brings Genealogy News for Oct 5th.

And Jana Last lists some favorites on Follow Friday -- Fab Finds for Oct 5th, 2012 by Jana Last on Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog. 

Michael Leclerc writes From the Blogs, on the Mocavo Genealogy Blog.  

Have a great genealogy week, keep researching and writing!