Sunday, March 09, 2008
Publishing with Help from Ancestry.com
I studied Ancestry.com's AncestryPress for quite awhile without trying it. There didn't seem to be a lot written about it. Eventually, I decided to take the plunge and give it a try.
Ancestry Press lets one create family history books and charts. I decided to try a family history book. You must have a family tree uploaded with Ancestry.com to use the Ancestry Press processes. When you upload a family tree, you have the option public or not. If you make it public, other persons can view it individually and as part of Ancestry's OneWorldTree. If you keep it "private," then, according to Ancestry, "other members can still learn if a specific deceased individual is in your tree, in addition to the birth year and birthplace of the person and your username (but no personal information about you)."
The book process allows the uploading of additional material such as photographs. Additional material "is always protected. Only people you authorize to view your project will be able to see your uploaded content," says Ancestry. You must also agree to Ancestry's content submission policy, which states, among other things, that you agree not violate copyright law. The policy also contains this statement:
Although we retain our rights in and to the content that is present on the website or that may be created and/or supplied by or for us, we take no ownership in any material uploaded or submitted to the website. We have no control over, and no knowledge concerning, material you submit to the website. Accordingly, you bear the legal responsibility of ensuring that none of the material that you upload or submit infringes copyrights or any other legal rights of others.
Note that when they say "the website," they mean the AncestryPress website, which doe not include the location where you upload your family tree. But I had no problem with any of that for what I wanted to do, so I agreed.
The book is basically a coffee table book. The process of creating pages in the book is fairly simple. There are various templates to follow, including a blank one. Images that have been uploaded are in a sidebar from which they may be dragged and dropped onto the page. Records attached to persons on your family tree also may be accessed and placed on the page.
The book process has a four generation family group sheets created automatically from your family tree.
The book process has gradually gotten better over the time it's taken me to do my project. The process has a virtual copy of your book with pages that turn in a pretty cool way. I almost wish that there was a way save and e-mail this virtual book!
To print the book, you have two choices. You can print and bind the pages on your own, for which you pay Ancestry nothing. Or you can have AncestryPress print and bind the book for you. The cost is $34.95 for up to 24 pages and 49 cents a page for each additional page. The book is printed in 11-1/2" X 8" landscape style.
I opted to print the thing myself for several reasons. First, in this experimental project for me, I'd like to be able to change or expand it if I want to. So I printed it on my home printer. I went to the Ancestry store and found a scrapbook of the right size and sufficient quality. It cost $24.99 plus shipping; it got here in about two days.
As to the content of my book, I chose my Gines family. I used photographs, family group sheets, records, and original material that I wrote. I'm pleased with the book. (Note: don't tell anybody, but the experimental book came out so well I decided to give it as a surprise gift to a family member. I mailed it yesterday, so they should have it by Tuesday!).
Click on photos to enlarge.