Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Creating Your Family History Book with Legacy, Roots Magic and Family Tree Maker

Comment on MyHeritage Book Feature

In response to yesterday's blog about the MyHeritage book creator feature, Randy Seaver commented as follows:
"If you'll note, the ancestor list is not in true pedigree numbering format.  also, the Notes are not with the person but in a separate section.  I think it's a terrible book creator."  

I responded "I agree it isn’t very good; but for some people doing something is better than doing nothing.  I used Family Tree Maker when I created my family history book about two years ago and there were some good features and some bad.  It did format some of the sections of the book that dealt with pedigree charts and integrating family history data with sources and notes.  It also allowed you the flexibility to insert other personal comments and observations relevant to your family history.  

However, if you just want to get into print the information you have collected on your family history and don't feel inclined to go to the effort of doing the creative writing and other work of writing a book--this is a simple alternative.  

Creating Your Family History Book with Family Tree Maker, Legacy and Roots Magic 

Since I commented yesterday about the Book creating feature of MyHeritage, I thought I should also mention some of the other major Genealogy Software Programs that also have a Book creation capability.  This is intended as an overview to give you a general idea of the capabilities of the programs--not a detailed description of all the features and how to manipulate them.

Family Tree Maker
I will start with Family Tree Maker because that is what I use and am most familiar.  To start you click on the Publish tab, select books from the column on the left and then the Genealogy Book icon.

Getting Started--Publish, Books
To add charts, reports and other items to the book click on the plus sign (highlighted in yellow) at the top left of the screen shot below.  I have selected "Charts" and the various types of charts are shown in the "Add Book Item" window.  There are multiple selections for each of the other options listed such as "Genealogy Reports", "Person Reports", "Relationship Reports", etc.  By selecting "Other" under "Charts & Reports" you can create the Table of Contents and Index.  Normally, you would do this after you had finished creating the book.  That way you don't have to regenerate them each time you add something new to the book.   

Adding New Pages

Table of Contents
  You can also create articles in Word or other word processing programs and add them to the book. 

Roots Magic
I downloaded the Free Trial Version of Roots Magic; but learned that their "Book Publisher" function is only included in their Full Version ($29.95).  However, I did find the following list of features and selections you can make in creating a book using Roots Magic:

Start each generation on a new page - Mark this checkbox to begin each generation on a new page of the book.

Print uplines – Mark this checkbox if you want RootsMagic to print the list of ancestors (uplines) for each descendant in the Register or Modified Register book. This option will be disabled for any book type except Register and Modified Register.
Print preparer – Mark this checkbox if you want RootsMagic to print the preparer information at the end of the report.

Print color coding – Mark this checkbox if you want color coded individuals to have their name printed in color.
Print notes - Mark this checkbox to include all notes entered into the database. They will be embedded in the body of the book. You can also choose whether to print any private notes (those inside of {curly brackets}), and whether to strip off the curly brackets if you do print them.

Include photos - Mark this checkbox to include photos added to the database. The photo that prints for each individual will be the photo you have marked as the "primary" photo. Refer to the Media Album for more information on photographs. You can also choose a maximum size for the pictures in the report, from 1" x 1" to 5" x 5".
Print LDS facts – Mark this checkbox if you want LDS facts printed in the narrative report.

Include private facts – Mark this checkbox if you want facts that you have marked as private to print in the narrative report.
Include {private} notes – Mark this checkbox if you want notes that you have marked as private to print in the narrative report.

Sentence template for people with no entered facts – This template is used to create a sentence for people who have no individual facts and no shared events entered. (Family facts - marriage, divorce, etc. - that are entered do not affect whether this sentence is printed or not.)

Strip { } brackets – Mark this checkbox if you want curly brackets { } used to mark notes as private to not   be printed in the narrative report, when you choose to include the private notes.
Just reading through the selections it looks like they provide a lot of excellent choices and features for creating a book.  Those of you who have used this function or use Roots Magic and are familiar with these features are invited to comment. 

I also downloaded the free version of the Legacy software program.  Some of the features of the Book Creation function were operable; but many could only be accessed with the pay version (Deluxe) of the program.  The Publishing Center feature is only available through the Deluxe version ($39.95) of the software; but several of the individual reports are options for inclusion in the book are available in the standard free version.  They are accessed by clicking on the "Reports" tab in the menu line at the top of the page.    

You then select "Books/Other" within the Family Group Records window, as shown below in yellow highlighting.

 That reveals the window below with all the various selections you can make for the types of reports and charts to include in the book.

Books and Other Choices
 The below screen shot shows the selections that are available when you select "Ancestors" under the Book Reports heading.  Also, notice at the bottom of the screen where you have selections for "Index Options", "Report Options" and "Title Page".

Ancestor Book Selection
 All of the selections highlighted in yellow in the below screen shot are only available in the Deluxe pay edition of Legacy.  The "Deluxe Feature Only" window gives you the opportunity to get an overview of all the features that are provided by the Deluxe Edition and/or to purchase the upgrade.  

Options Only Available in Deluxe Edition

All of the programs provide the option to print the book yourself or to print a PDF file which you can use for Self Publishing or other publishing options.  

In my opinion, based on this "very limited review", Legacy seems to provide the greatest number of options and flexibility for types of reports and charts to include in a book.  I welcome the opinions of others with more experience with the programs.  

I have to agree with Randy Seaver's comment above that MyHeritage isn't a very good choice--not sure I would say it is terrible; but for producing a quality product the other three programs are certainly better choices.  However, it is quick and easy.  Most of us would prefer to put in the extra effort for a higher quality product; but if someone just wants to publish a record of his research in a very quick and simple manner--MyHeritage does provide that option.

Disclaimer--I have no affiliation, nor do I receive any compensation from any of the companies discussed in this article--MyHeritage, Family Tree Maker, Legacy or Roots Magic.  The comments are strictly my own opinions.