Bankhead Family History Book

February 22, 2010

This family was having a large family reunion the coming summer, so the author contacted me the preceding fall to help him. Click here to read more about the steps required for publishing a book.

He had already pasted the photos in Microsoft Word, but he was having a difficult time laying them out in that program. I ended up redoing the entire book—photo layout, title styles, index, table of contents, several appendices, and the cover. I finished the book and it was printed in time to give away copies at the family reunion. The author made three organizational choices that might help others working on a similar histories.

First, he divided the book into three sections: the history of the married couple, their respective ancestors, and their descendants. Each person had a mini-biography in their section. For the deceased, a living relative wrote the bio.

Second, at the end of each section, they including family group sheets, which included portrait photos of almost every person. This provided a tidy summary of vital information without making it laborious to read the biographical sections.

Third, he compiled an index of names in the back of the book. To save himself some money, rather than pay me to do that, he just recruited some neices to spend two days combing through the text and writing down the page number of each mention for every relative in the book. This is handy, because what’s the first thing anyone wants to do when they get a copy of a book like this? Look up what it says about them!

I could tell the author put a lot of thought into his project, and it paid off—the book is very easy to navigate, which increases the odds that some great-grandchild will actually read it. And isn’t that the ever-present challenge? 🙂

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