Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Postcard to our Grandson

Dear Tristan,

Your first Christmas is almost here. There are lights around your front door and a tree in your living room. Your stocking has been hung and there are brightly wrapped presents for you. Although many photos will be taken to mark the day you won’t remember this Christmas but you will hold onto the best present of all: the love of your family. Your parents, Nana & Grandpa, Aunt Alyssa, Uncle Adam & Aunt Stephanie will all laugh with you, cuddle you and hold you on their laps for a book or two. They will be there to guide and support you throughout your life.  Have fun on your first Christmas and all those Christmases to come. 

Love, Nana

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Postcard to my Cousins,

Dear Cousins,

Merry Christmas! Do you remember our mothers putting us in special new clothes & bundling us in heavy coats & hats for our trip through the snow? I remember my mother saying we could only take one new toy with us when the family dinner was at your house. It was a hard decision. Do you remember playing with our toys in my bedroom so our brothers would not bother us? I remember our mothers cutting up bits of turkey for the littlest of us and helping all of us into our chairs around a crowded table. The meal was always delicious. Do you remember watching Christmas shows on television and asking for a piece of pie & a piece of cake? We don’t always see each other on Christmas now. We are busy with our own children and grandchildren. But when we do see each other it is like the calendar has been turned backwards and we are just cousins having fun.

I’ll be thinking of you on Christmas! Love, Colleen

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Postcard to Nana

Dear Nana,

When I remember childhood Christmases I remember you. Before the holidays you got busy with your large black scissors and your treadle powered Singer sewing machine. You turned soft flannel fabrics into cozy pajamas for us, your grandchildren. You turned cheerful cotton fabrics into shirts for my brothers and pretty little dresses for me.Then you wrapped them up to surprise us. I loved the special touches you added to my dresses, pastel ribbons or buttons shaped like kitties or ducks. Your love for us went into every stitch.

I remember shopping with our mom to buy you warm sweaters and the raspberry candies you loved, hard candies with soft centers. We made sure you always had some for the holidays. I look for those every year. Putting out a dish of those candies is like having you for a visit.

You spent every holiday with us. You only lived a few miles away but you would sleep over so you could see our faces on Christmas morning when we first saw the tree and the presents beneath. You’d share my bed with me and we could cuddle.

Those were wonderful times together. Now that I am a Nana I hope that I can show my grandson all the love you showed to us. 

With never ending love, your one & only granddaughter, Colleen

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Postcard to my Brothers

Dear Brothers,

Merry Christmas! I am looking forward to seeing you and your families in a few days. It is always fun to celebrate our ‘Brown Family Christmas’ together. Of course, when we were younger we celebrated on December 25th beginning with presents under the tree alongside our parents and a big dinner with our extended family. Now we share Christmas with our own families and set another date for our Brown family Christmas. The holiday would not be the same if we did not get a chance to visit with and tease each other.  We will crowd around a busy kitchen and get in the way of whoever is cooking. There won’t be enough room on the table for all the food & we will have to improvise something for one more chair. You will all be annoyed with me for taking millions of pictures & there will be toys wherever we want to step. In general we will do our best to act like four siblings who love each other.

See you soon,

Your favorite [only!] Sister

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Genealogy Christmas Gifts

Many of us look for methods to share our genealogy findings with the rest of the family. One method I have found is making & giving Family Calendars. Each year the family gets very excited to unwrap the calendar and turn the pages.

When I began making the calendars I wanted two things.

  •     I wanted to be able to add lots of photos on the ‘top’ page of the calendar. I also wanted the ability to add text and seasonal graphics.
  • On the ‘bottom’ page of the calendar I wanted to add family birthdays, anniversaries, upcoming weddings & graduations, etc. I wanted to put photos in the boxes with the birthday and anniversary messages.

The first calendar I made was in 2005 for the 2006 calendar year. I used Kodak Easy Share Gallery to create it. There were few layout options & I could only put four photos on a page. There were no options to write about birthdays in the date boxes on the calendar.

Next I used & the calendar looked nice but I wanted more options.  I looked online at many websites before deciding to use My Publisher. I used them for several years until they changed the size of the calendar. I wasn’t happy with the smaller size. I do still use them for making books & am very pleased with them.

Now I use Mixbook. It is very versatile. Some of their styles include: Seasonal, Whimsical, Classic, Vintage, Modern & Instagram. You can make a square or a landscape calendar. I make the 12” x 12” square calendar [which is 12” x 24” when it hangs ope]n. I begin with a blank calendar & do my own layouts & themes.

CALENDAR COVER [above]. Here are examples of covers I made. In 2014 I used photographs of my brothers & I over the years, stickers & text with a quote. This year I am using a single group photo on the cover of the calendar for our children. 

TOP PAGES [above]. I use a combination of photos from the preceding year, vintage family photos & seasonal photos to decorate the top section of each calendar month. Mixbook lets you use one photo, none or as many photos as you like. The background can be textured, a solid color, or a graphic. I use something simple because I want the photos to be the star of the page. There are hundreds of stickers, or graphics, at your fingertips. I find that too many graphics take space away from my photos so I use them sparingly. The examples above show my aunt's 80th birthday party, a family tree & our son's wedding.

BOTTOM PAGES [above]. The bottom of each month has the calendar. You can “Manage Events”. In the drop down box you can select holidays you want to include. Then you can add as many birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, vacations, graduations, etc. as you want. The focus of my calendars is my brothers & I so I include any special days that relate to the four of us, our children, grandchildren, our cousins, aunts & uncles, our parents, grandparents, etc. We can all keep track of upcoming birthdays and remember those who went before us. It is possible to add photos in the boxes that have no numbers as well.

My family looking at their new calendars.

I work on these calendars all year long, adding new photos as each month passes. My brothers send me photos and, of course, I carry my camera everywhere. Not only do these calendars share important family events and photos, they are also a record of the family’s previous year’s events.

My niece & grandniece looking at the calendar.

Do you make any genealogy gifts for your family?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Time to Write

I will  continue with my notes on this topic after the holidays.

Meanwhile, please read my Christmas posts.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Time to Write: #4 an Index

Genealogy books need a Table of Contents and an Index to make their use easier. I want both in the book I am writing about my mother’s family, ‘Remembrances’. I am using Microsoft Word 2010 for my manuscript.

What to Include
To decide what items to include in my index I thought about trips I have taken to libraries & archives. When I pull books off the shelves there what would I like to find in those indices?

Locations; towns, counties, etc.

Female Names
Names of females present problems because names usually change with marriage. I want to make the women in my family easy to find in my book. In the index I list them by maiden name. I wonder if I should also list them by married name in the index. It would be more complicated but I wonder if it would be more useful.

In the pages of the book I use this: Helen F. (Coyle) Gardner
In the index I use this:                     Coyle, Helen F. (Gardner)

Insert Index
It was not difficult to go to the end of my document, click on the Reference tab & click Insert Index. There are, of course, options. My index is fairly basic. I just want it to be easy to read & use. I do use the two column option. One column leaves lots of white space on each page & three columns do not give enough space for long names. 

Having said that inputting an index is easy, inputting each name is VERY time consuming. One chapter at a time I read through my work carefully looking for those names & places I want included in the index. Highlight each entry; go to the Reference Tab; in the Index section click ‘Mark Entry’. Then in the Main Entry box type the way you want this entry to appear in the index. For example, if you highlight Joe Brown you probably want the Main Entry to be Brown, Joe. Type it in the box. Then click either ‘Mark’ or ‘Mark All’ which will automatically include all Joe Brown references in the manuscript.

I have sections in my Index that are a step more complicated. I have cemeteries listed under the topic Cemeteries with the locations beneath. If you want to do this highlight the name of the cemetery; click on Mark Entry; put the name of the cemetery in the Subentry box & the word Cemeteries in the Main Entry box. I have done the same with Churches, Ships & Soldiers.

Youtube has several videos showing the Index steps clearly. I suggest looking at one for details.

Update Index
As with my Table of Contents, as I add and revise my manuscript I update my Index. Just go to the Index, click on it to highlight it; go to the Reference Tab, Index section & click on Update Index.

Your Thoughts?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Time to Write: #3 Table of Contents

A Table of Contents is a necessity for a well-organized genealogy book. When I am in an archives or library and I am trying to decide if a reference book will be helpful to my research I first look at the Table of Contents and the Index. Therefore, when writing my own books, I am sure to include both.

In Microsoft Word there are manual and automatic options for inserting a Table of Contents. I like to use the automatic option. It is easier because my contents may be altered as I write and Microsoft Word will change my Table of Contents as I make those alterations. To make that happen I had to first set up Heading Styles.

Heading Styles

I looked at my outline to decide the sections of my book. Then I decided on the styles I wanted. Because my book is titled ‘Remembrances’ I named my Styles REM1, REM2, REM3, etc. I made notes on my outline to keep track of my ideas.

REM1. All Capitals; size 18 font; double underline
REM2. All Capitals; size 18 font; no underlines
REM3. All Capitals; size 16 font; etc.
Here is a section of that outline with my Style Markings. {I made changes here to make it fit easily in this post.]

REM1         TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                 
REM1          INTRODUCTION          
REM1         ANCESTOR TREE OF A J  GARDNER                       
REM1         THE FAMILIES                                                                       
REM2                   BRADY                                     
REM3                            The Brady Family Tree           
REM3                            The Brady Family Timeline                                   
REM3                            The Thomas & C (Gibney) Brady Family Story    
REM3                            The Children of Thomas Brady       
REM4                                      Patrick Brady                        
REM5                                               The Children of P & E (Reilly) Brady 
REM4                                      William Brady                       
REM5                                               The Children of W & B (O’Reilly) Brady 
REM4                                      Owen Brady                          
REM5                                               The Children of O & M (McGovern) Brady  
REM4                                      Ann Brady Kilday                   
REM5                                               The Children of J & A (Brady) Kilday   
REM4                                      Bartholomew Anthony Brady  
REM5                                               The Children of Bart & M (Reddan) Brady    
REM3                            The Descendants of Thomas Brady    
REM2                   COYLE              
REM3                            The Coyle Family Tree                      

Table of Contents

Next I clicked on the spot I wanted to add the Table of Contents. Then I clicked on the Reference tab & clicked the Table of Contents box. The drop down menu gives Automatic & Manual options.

I wanted more options. For example, I set up 5 Style Headings [REM1 - REM5] and I want 5 levels in my Table of Contents. My outline & my Table of Contents will begin at the margin for level 1 & then move over 4 times for subsections, giving me 5 levels.

There is a video that shows the steps more clearly than I could list here.  

Once it is in place I can work on my book, click on the Table of Contents & then click ‘Update Table’. The table will be updated to show the changes I made.

Have you made a Table of Contents? What did you use to generate it?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Time to Write: #2 Format & Page Numbers

I have turned my pen from research to writing. I am gathering every scrap of information about my mother’s family and writing a book for my family. I used my index cards to layout the book and wrote an outline to fine tune the direction the writing will take.

I know that I will be taking this book to a local publisher, Troy Book Makers, who published my book, ‘The Mark Family Story’. Therefore, I know I want to use Microsoft Word 2010.

As I started to put together the chapters the first thing I wanted to add was page numbers. They are not at all difficult to add to a Word document. Click on Insert/Page Number and an assortment of options drop down. The page numbers can be located on the top or bottom of a page or in the margins. It is also possible to go to Insert/Footer or Insert/Header to select a style for page numbers.

When I wrote ‘The Mark Family Story’ I used the ‘Conservative’ Footer. At the bottom center of each page is a thin line with the title of the book & the page number. This time I went to Insert/Page Numbers and selected Accent Bar 2. I chose this option because I would like to have, on the bottom of each page, both the page number & the title of my book.

adding the page numbers took very little time. However, I do not want page numbers on the early pages: Title Page, Publisher Information Page, Dedication Page and the Table of Contents. I want the Introduction [which follows my Table of Contents] to be Page #1. Last time my daughter helped me to set that up. Now she lives several states away.

I used a couple different things to show me how to do this. First, I went to the “?” [help] in the corner of my document and looked for help with page numbers. I did not find that useful. Then I looked on line for help. However, the best assistance I found was on you tube:  'Insert Sections with Different Page Numbers'.

Basically, I went to the end of the first section and put in a Section Break. Then I made sure the sections were not linked. The page numbers begin with the second section. The video explains it more clearly than I could here. If you want help, I suggest you watch it.

Hurray! The page numbers are where I want them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Time to Write: #1 Making an Outline

When I write I need to know exactly where I am headed and how I am going to get there. I have been researching my mother’s family for years. I know the main characters, the supporting characters, the setting and the timeline very well. However, I need to organize the events in the lives of those intertwining characters in a way that someone who unfamiliar with them can follow along easily.

I began with index cards pinned to my cork board to lay out the main sections of this book. Those break it down to these sections:

Early Pages: Title page, Dedication, Table of Contents, Introduction & My mother’s Ancestor Tree
The Families: The oldest information on the four families, Brady, Coyle, Gartner & Mullane
The Families Come Together: Marriages between the four main families & those descendants
Our Family: Where are the families now?
Later Pages: Special Thanks, Epilogue, Documents, Works Cited & Index

These are pinned to my corkboard and easy to move around which I have done several times until it seemed to flow easily.

From those basic cards I wrote an outline which will become my Table of Contents. Here is a section of that outline:

The Story of the Brady, Coyle, Gardner & Mullane Families

Title page                                                    
TABLE OF CONTENTS                  
THE FAMILIES                   
                   The Brady Family Tree       
                   The Brady Family Timeline                                       
                    The Thomas & Catherine (Gibney) Brady Family Story   
                   The Children of Thomas Brady      
                             Patrick Brady                   
                                      The Children of Patrick & Ellen (Reilly) Brady     
                             William Brady                            
                                      The Children of William & Bridget (O’Reilly) Brady
                             Owen Brady                     
                                      The Children of Owen & Mary (McGovern) Brady 
                             Margaret Brady Coyle                  
                             Thomas Brady                            
                             John Brady                       
                                      The Children of John & Mary (Mc Cartin) Brady            
                             Ann Brady Kilday               
                                      The Children of James & Ann (Brady) Kilday                
                             Bartholomew Anthony Brady         
                                      The Children of Bartholomew & Mary (Reddan) Brady    
                             Mary Ann Brady                
                             Catherine Brady                
                   The Descendants of Thomas Brady 
                   The Coyle Family Tree                 
                   The Cunningham Family Tree                 
                   The Michael & Mary (Cunningham) Coyle Family Story   
The Descendants of Michael Coyle  
                   The Gartners in Europe: The Markusz & Devorah (Horn) Gartner Family
                             The Markusz Gartner Family Tree
The Markusz Gartner Family Story
                                       From Poland to Hungary
                                       The Golden Age
                                       Wars & Death
                   The Gartners in America: The Leopold & Fannie (Edelstein) Gartner Family
                             The Leopold Gartner Family Tree
                             The Leopold Gartner Family Timeline
                             The Leopold Gartner Family Story
                                      Marriage: Leopold Gartner & Fannie Edelstein
                                      1900 in New York City
                                      World War I
                                      Buffalo, New York
                             The Descendants of Leopold Gartner
                   The Florence (Gartner) Weissberg Family
                             The Weissberg Family Tree
                             The Weissberg Family Story
                                      A Family Visit
                                      World War II
                                      Milton Sydney Weissberg
                   The Mullane Family Tree
                   The Mullane Family Timeline
                   The & Brigid (English) Mullane Family Story
                             Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland
                             A Growing Family
                             1900 in Clonmel
                             Family Visit
                             The Death of Daniel Mullane
                             Frances (Mullane) Keeton
                   The Descendants of Daniel Mullane

I have printed out my outline, put it on my clipboard and made notes all over it. I have notes on the fonts I will use for each section, stars to show the pages I want to be sure end up on the right hand side of the book, arrows to show a couple things rearranged, etc. My outline gives me the confidence to know where I am headed.