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By Penny StrattonPublishing Director
| How-To Guides | Basic Steps | Genealogical Formats | | Tips | Publishing | Need Help? |
Why is it important to write your family history? Think about the legacy you will be leaving if you write and publish your own family research: not only a legacy for current and future family members, but an important resource for current and future genealogical researchers. If you’ve been researching your family for any significant length of time, probably no one knows your family story like you do. The ease and affordability of digital printing give you all the more reason to write and publish! This subject guide provides information, tips, and resources for the basic steps of writing and publishing your family history.
Ten Steps to Writing & Publishing Your Family HistoryLive broadcast: Jan. 29, 2014Presented by: Penny StrattonLevel: Beginner Running Time: 1:02:20Description:Whether you are just starting your research or wrapping up years of genealogical investigation, you're probably thinking about how to share your findings with family, the greater genealogical community, and generations to come. Consider writing a book! This webinar will give a brief overview of the key steps to writing and publishing your family history.
The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (available in print or online)NEHGS, 7th Floor Reference Z253 .U69 2010The bible of the book-publishing industry, “CMS” will help you with everything from capitalization to punctuation to reference style to guidelines for book production.
NEHGS Guide to Genealogical Writing, 3rd ed. edited by Henry B. Hoff, CG, FASG and Penny StrattonAvailable April 2013.
Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown MillsNEHGS, 7th Floor Reference and Microtext Floor D5 .M55 2007A comprehensive guide to citing genealogical works in particular.
Genealogy and Indexing edited by Kathleen SpaltroNEHGS, 1st Floor CS14 .G474 2003Practical advice for indexers of family histories, published by the American Society for Indexing.
Portable Genealogist: Building a Genealogical Sketch by Penny StrattonNEHGS, Research Library CS9 .P679 v.1 2013 Available for purchaseExplains the building blocks of a sketch for both genealogical formats: what to include, and in what order.
Portable Genealogist: Genealogical Numbering by Penny StrattonNEHGS, Research Library CS9 .P679 v. 2 2013 Available for purchaseExplains numbering systems for both descendancy (Register) style and the ancestor table (ahnentafel). Also tells how to use Microsoft® Word to automatically number your Register-style manuscript.
There are two commonly used genealogical formats: Register style and the ahnentafel. You may choose to follow the standard formats or adapt them to meet your own vision. If you modify the format, just be sure to be clear and consistent--your readers will thank you! The examples below are from the book So Proudly We Hail, which includes both a Register style and ahnentafel portion.
Register style begins in the past, with a common ancestor (often the immigrant to America) and comes forward in time. It gets its name from The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, which developed the format more than 100 years ago. An article or book can treat descent from a common ancestor; a book might also contain several sections or multiple chapters, each traced from a different ancestor. Download the template.
The basic building block of Register style is the family sketch, which treats a couple and their children in a standardized way. With a numbering system that organizes the data and clarify who is who, each main person has a distinct number. For each person, you give the following information in the order listed:
The same information is provided for each spouse and for each child. Read more about Register style and citation formats.
How to: Number in Register Stylewith Penny StrattonLevel: BeginnerRunning Time: 3:39, CC
An ahnentafel, or ancestor table, begins at or near the present and follows a direct line of ancestors as far back as is traceable or for a certain number of generations. Each person is numbered. If you are tracing your own ancestry, you would be number 1, and each person would be numbered in a particular order from there.
Your father would be number 2 and your mother number 3; his parents would be 4 and 5; her parents would be 6 and 7, and so on. Men are always even and women are always odd. You double a person’s number to get his or her father’s number; you double the number and add 1 to get his or her mother’s number.
How to: Number an Ahnentafelwith Penny StrattonLevel: BeginnerRunning Time: 2:39, CC
Example #1: Table of Contents from The Descendants of Judge John Lowell of Newburyport, Massachusetts
Example #2: Table of contents from So Proudly We Hail: Ancestors and Descendants of Harold and Elsie Cole (Whipple) Morgan Five different families are covered in parallel sections, each in Register style, each traced from a common ancestor.
If you’re exporting data from genealogical software, this step is even more important as missing data can create some interesting sentences! This handy editorial checklist can help guide you through the process and make sure your elements are consistent.
Example #1: Indexed surnames
Example #2: Indexed place names
What publishers can help with:
What printers, including online printers, do:
Those with no particular expertise in genealogy or family history:
Those with expertise in genealogy or family history:
To find others, search online for “genealogy publishing” or “assisted self-publishing.”
Want to maximize your research? The experts at NEHGS can help! We offer a number of services that can help you break down brick walls and expand your research.
Want research guidance from a professional genealogist? Our experts provide 30-minute to two-hour consultations in person or by phone.
Schedule your consultation today or contact email@example.com.
Whether you are just beginning your family research or have been researching for years, NEHGS Research Services is here to assist you. Our team of experts can:
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