Genealogy Book Update

Some of you will remember that I have been chipping away at a genealogy book for my dad’s side of the family. I hope to have it finished and ready for my family around Christmas, but it may slide a little if other things that are in the works happen—you know, life getting in the way of your plans!

I did reach a milestone today, though. I finished going through all the endnotes and putting them in proper format. I had been cutting and pasting the source material from my genealogy program (Legacy), but it doesn’t put it in proper endnote format. What was there might have been all right, except that when I do something, I want to do it right. If I want this book to be taken seriously by other genealogists, I need to have the sourcing done properly.

So I laboriously went through every endnote (some chapters have 80-90!) and put them in the right format. And that helped me, too, because I found some source material that needed to be more clearly marked—or that I couldn’t remember where I got it. And I added to each endnote where the original material is housed: in my possession, in other archives, in church or cemetery offices, etc. That way people can duplicate my research easily if they want to find the primary documentation.

How close am I to finishing? I need to tweak the illustrations—some are facing the wrong way. I have to put final touches on the chapter title pages. I have to line edit the entire thing, including picture captions and family trees. I have to fix weird glitches in the Index where things are italicized or bolded for no apparent reason. I am hoping to get a few more photos from people before I “go to press.” Oh, and I have to design the cover. So, not too far—but not too close, either. If I have a few concentrated weeks, I should have it done by early December.

Then comes the fun part—figuring out how to properly format it for Print On Demand (POD). I will likely use CreateSpace. It should be an interesting challenge to get everything formatted the way I want! But I geek out over that sort of stuff, so I’m sure I will enjoy it, even with its inevitable frustrations.

So that’s where I am with my genealogy book—hit a milestone, but still a ways to go. And when I finish this one, I have my mom’s side of the family to do. I learned a great deal from this book, so hopefully the other one will go faster as I will do things correctly the first time. So maybe by next Christmas!

How about you? Any pet projects you are working on?

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Contents and Endnotes and Index, Oh My!

I’m embarking on a new venture—non-fiction. It’s a whole new world.

As you may know, I am heavily into genealogy. Several years ago, I compiled all my data into a prose format to distribute to my father’s family (I’m still working on writing out my mother’s). Now, I have more information, and I am updating the book. But this time, I am working on it with an eye towards a wider audience.

Now, I know that genealogy books do not appeal to the general public. However, to that sleuth searching for their family, for that one missing link, a book about their line is pure gold. I cannot thank enough the people who have helped me on my quest, nor can I fully describe the joy of finding a treasure trove of well-documented information.

I want to give others that “family tree high.”

My intention is to fully source the book with endnotes and citations, so anyone reading the book will know the primary source of the information. Wherever possible, I will include pictures and scans of those sources. And I will put it online for as reasonable cost as I can so that others can access the information easily. I also intend to donate copies to local historical societies and/or libraries with genealogical collections. I want this information to be found.

But writing this book is much harder work than I thought.

Not the content itself—writing about each family lineage and couple is pretty easy, as it is chronological and all the information is right in front of me in my genealogical database. It’s the rest of the book that’s making me a little nuts. Like the Table of Contents. And Endnotes. And Index. Oh my.

My version of Word (2007) insists on creating my Table of Contents for me. Which would be very nice if I could figure out how to do that. It’s got something to do with “Styles,” but I have yet to get the details right. I need to sit down and figure it out because once I do, Word will supposedly update the Table of Contents as page numbers change. But so far it has been a headache and I long for the days of the old Word where I could do it myself without my computer freaking out and trying to think for me!

The Endnotes are fairly easy—soooo much easier than on a typewriter!—but I had forgotten what a pain it is to cite every fact on a page. Haven’t done that since my Master’s Degree ten years ago. However, citing everything has been a wonderful way of double-checking my sources within my own database and finding holes I still need documents to fill.

Then there’s the index. What a Herculean task! As far as I know, there is no shortcut to doing this in Word. I have to go through each page of the manuscript and enter each name into my Index database, along with the page number. And if I end up adding or deleting things and those page numbers change, what a headache to go in and fix! If anyone out there has and helpful hints at this, please leave them in the comments.

So there you have it—my latest project. It’s growing alongside my fiction works-in-progress. I’m juggling this book project, two fiction WIPs, several short stories, the weekly blogging, and querying for a third fiction project. I’m kinda busy! But I prefer having multiple projects—it keeps me from getting burned out.

Do you switch between fiction and non-fiction? Does it help keep you balanced?

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