Publishing your heritage
Genealogy books bring families together. Speaking with older members of your family, and with relatives, is something you will need to do. Your grandmother’s sister, for example, may have information about your great grandparents that your own grandmother (if still alive) failed to recollect, or they may have important documents, such as birth certificates or old diaries. These visits, telephone calls and emails help bring together families and relatives that have lost touch.
Even though many people do not have the time, interest or persistence to trace their family tree, the chances are they will be quite thrilled that someone else is doing it. You will come to be seen as the family’s (and extended families) very own historian!
Enlarge Your Family Circle
You may, in your genealogical research, discover living members of your family, or close relatives, that you never knew about. Half-sisters, half-brothers, siblings separated at birth, adopted children – you might find any or all of these in your research. Thus not only can you bring your family closer together, you can also enlarge it.
Those tracing their family history will often become absorbed in the life of their ancestors. This is where genealogy becomes more than dates and names – it becomes a history of your family. Some day you may choose to augment your family tree with a book of your family’s history. This can be a greatly rewarding experience for you, and a great treasure to those who will come after and continue that history.
As you work with me the research information that comes to light on the dates and dwellings of your ancestors, you will become more and more familiar with the events in history, local and external, that touched their lives, and more intimate with the geography of the lands in which they walked, talked and toiled. You may even want to learn more about history or pursue a certain area of family history such as medieval studies. Learning about our past, and our country, gives us a sense of identity, and it enriches our lives.
OK, some people do genealogical research in order to find family fortunes. Well, you never know!
The long and short of it is that family history enriches the researcher, bonds families and creates a lasting legacy. If you’ve not started your family tree yet, then start today – and, sooner than you think, you’ll be experiencing all these benefits firsthand.
What goes into a Generations book
Birth, marriage and death facts
Biographies of family members
Details of their character, health, personality and faith
Stories of the places your family lived
Stories of where they worked, what recreations they followed, at what professions they were skilled and details of where they lived, their homes their fortune (or otherwise).
History of the people, places and events that occurred to influence the development of your family
The stories behind the facts (e.g. Tracking down a relative in Old Bailey court reports or a pauper relative in workhouse records; getting your hands grandfather’s army service record (and discovering that he was demoted for ‘laziness’!).
Stories and facts from census records and BDM certificates, the internet, interesting collections of old newspapers, criminal records and court reports. Also workhouse records, unusual treasures stowed away in local archives and stories from online catalogues.
Photographs, images, certificates, diagrams, maps, crests, coats of arms, tartans and memorabilia are an important part of all books. Typically, completed books will have more than 400 images and photographs!
Charts and family trees outlining ancestry and descendancy and specialist charts profiling special relationships
Books usually have stories of ancestors that can find connection with many famous people in history, Kings, Queens, despots, tyrants and villains, heroes, scientists, actors, authors, explorers and military genius.
The scope of the book can cover any number of branches on your tree (and the tree of your spouse). Most people trace their trees linearly, following direct ancestors through the male line. But often, branching out, for example finding out more about your grandparents’ siblings or in-laws can uncover equally remarkable stories. You might even decide to start investigating both your paternal and maternal lines at once.
Many projects are so large that the information fills more than one volume. Some families we have been contracted to research and publish have resulted in 3 - 7 volume sets of books (more than 1.5 million words, 2,500 pages or more and upwards of 3,000 photos and document images!!! ). These become significant heirlooms and now feature prominently on the living room table or take pride of place on the family bookshelf.
It might sound strange, but family history can bring you closer to living relatives. Genealogy is not a finite project. Gone are the days of the nobleman’s personal scribe keeping his master’s lineage on an illuminated sheet of vellum in some dusty manorial library. Now your pedigree can be researched and published by professional and experienced archivists. Talk to me!
I have more than 40 years' experience in genealogy research and I have been writing and publishing family books for more than 30 years. I make the process enjoyable, informative and I encourage you to become involved in the journey.