Monday, August 12, 2013

Writing Your Family History Book with MyHeritage

Writing Your Family History Book with MyHeritage

Yesterday I was working on a presentation about MyHeritage when I discovered, among many things, that they have a feature that takes all the information you have in your family tree and formats it into a book according to selections you make.  It puts it into a PDF which you can print or provide to a publisher if you choose to self publish the book.  The web site indicates that this is a "WOW" feature--I agree!

You can make the following selections as to what data is included in your book: 
Paper size

The paper size selections are letter or A4.  A4 is the standard in most all countries except the U.S. and Canada.  It is about 8.3 in by 11.7 in.  Longer and a little more narrow that our standard letter 8.5" by 11" size. 

To give you some idea about the size of the book, I have about 8400 people in my family tree and I left all of the above selections checked.  It produced a book that was 2563 pages!  Just a little too unwieldy and too much information.  I would recommend not including Indirect relations, Index of places and Index of dates.  Indirect relations (relatives) would be my wife's brother and sister in laws, my brother and sister in laws, husbands of your grandchildren, husbands and wives of your nieces and nephews, spouses of your aunts and uncles, etc.  When I did that and regenerated the tree, the size was reduced to 577 pages.  That is still a very sizable book; but much more reasonable than 2563 pages.  Also, if you only had about half the number of individuals in your tree, that would probably cut the book size in half.

I have a lot of very good information in my notes, so I chose to include the notes.  However, that might be something you would choose to leave out.

The get to this feature in your MyHeritage program you would do the following:  Select the "Family Tree" tab and in the pull down select "Charts and Books".  Then select "Family Book".

Family Book Selection
As shown below, you would then "Customize the Book" by selecting which chapters/features you want included in the content of the book.

Customize the Book
Because it may take some time to Generate the Book, MyHeritage will send you an e-mail when the book is generated and it will have a hyperlink to the PDF file.  

Following are some sample pages from my book: 

Note:  The numbers associated with individuals listed in the below screen shots and not page numbers; they are the numbering system used by MyHeritage for everyone in your family tree.

Table of Contents


Direct Relations
Family Trees


Index of Dates
Index of Individuals

For those of you who have long intended to publish a family history book; but you keep avoiding it because it seems too formidable a task--this may be your big break!  

There are programs that will convert PDF to Word or other formats.  You could convert this file to Word and then customize the book as you see fit.  You could add chapters with personal observations about select relatives or about your own life; but you would have the basic structure of the book with all the trees and charts to work from.