Tag Archives: genealogy

Generations: My Grandparents

Generations, Cover 2013
Generations, Cover 2013

Over the past 10 years, I’ve been writing a book on my maternal grandparents and their ancestors.  I thought I finished it in 2012, but after reviewing the proof ordered from  Blurb.com, revisions were definitely needed. After reworking some material, I’m finally done!

The book began as a labor of love for my grandmother since family history was extremely important to her. Unfortunately, Grandma died before she saw the finished product.  When I showed it to her, I had completed approximately 40 to 50 pages.  The finished book is 219 pages.

I’ve spent more than a thousand hours working on this book in my spare time. Researching, writing, designing, layout, graphic creation, image scanning, photography, etc…, it all takes an amazing amount of time and energy.

I’m sharing a few pages from the chapter about my grandparents, my grandfather’s first wife, and the children from both marriages.

 Generations, pages 14 – 31



I’ve been working on a family history book on the family of my maternal grandparents, Stanley Davis and Marian Bohnsack.  I write a genealogy blog, ForgottenHistory.net, which shares my research.

I finally finished the book which I’m publishing the book through Blurb.com.  I ordered a proof a few days ago and should receive it by September 13 .  I purchased the swatch set in July and I’m glad I did.  For the book, I chose ProLine Pearl photo paper, the ProLine White end sheets, and the ProLine Oatmeal hardcover linen.  It cost about US$110 for the 220-page proof.  Considering it’s 49¢ per page for plain color printing at Kinkos, it seems a reasonable price.

Here’s the cover and a few pages from the book:

Book Designing using BookSmart

Back in 2004 or 2005, I started working on a family history book that I decided to publish through Blurb.com. Genealogy is one of my favorite hobbies and I thought it would be the best way to share the information with interested family members.

At the time, there was no Adobe InDesign plug-in offered, only the BookSmart software.  Of course, as what happens with personal projects, it got put on the back burner because other matters took precedence.  Jump ahead seven years, and I decided I HAD to finish this project.  I still had the original BookSmart document and – miracle of miracles – the latest BookSmart software recognized the saved document and opened it up!


Today, there is a InDesign plug-in so I had a decision to make.  I debated – do I continue using the BookSmart software or start over in InDesign?  I decided to stick with the BookSmart software since I was too lazy to start over. Of course, I didn’t think my targeted 50-page book would balloon to 220 pages!   If I knew then what I know now, I would have made a completely different choice.

Honestly, I think the software is perfectly acceptable and appropriate for the vast majority of users.  Overall, a good free software.  My #1 complaint is the control over fonts and text – unfortunately there is very little.

Font selection is minimal and I understand why end-user fonts are not supported.  But there are basic font capabilities that are missing and/or severely limited in this program.

  • No Leading!
  • No Kerning!
  • Character and Paragraph styles and the ability to name styles.  (the standard styles offered do not even begin to fill the void.)
  • Better auto text flow.  The current auto text flow is NOT good, especially if you need to change things.
  • No superscript or subscript option

Better font control – that’s what this software needs.

Here’s a not-so basic complaint of the software:

  • EPS is not supported.  Using PNGs in place of EPS is does not provide the same result – quality suffers.

Also, I can’t tell you how many times the software crashed while I was using it.  It’s funny, I can run – at the same time – Photoshop CS5.5, Illustrator CS5.5, InDesign CS5.5, a couple of different browsers, and Outlook on my laptop with no problems. If I want to use BookSmart, I have to close everything otherwise the software crashes.  Of course it crashes anyway, just not as often.

While I will never use the software again, I think it’s appropriate for those who know little or nothing about design.

Fortunately, I’m in the final proof stage.  Once I get that done, I’ll submit it. I can’t wait to see the final printed piece.