Genealogy software is very nice to keep things organized and efficient, and a full filing cabinet of paperwork is a good way to store all your data, but neither have the same satisfaction as looking through a professionally bound and printed book filled with your family tree. Not only does it look and feel better, it make it very simple to share what you have with others. So have you thought about getting your own genealogy book published?
I’m not talking about approaching a publisher and seeing if they want your family tree. Typical publishers just don’t offer these types of books. But you can pay a small printing company to produce your own family tree book at a very reasonable cost. Many just need your GEDCOM file and can go from there. Now a basic GEDCOM file may not produce a “pretty” manuscript with narrative and photos, but it is a very good foundation to build on. See what the publisher offers by way of layout options. The more information and media that you have included in your files to start with, the more elaborate your final book will be.
Before you get started, decide which portions of your family tree you want included and double-check that your data is complete and free or errors. It would makes sense to only have “finished” sections in your book, but that decision is really up to you.
Here are a few choices for small-scale genealogy publishers that specialize in family tree books:
Family Heritage Publishers – This company offers archival quality books and you can publish even just a single copy.
Modern Memoirs – They specialize in many forms of published memoirs, including short-run genealogy publishing. They’ll create a lovely book for your family tree.
Creative Continuum – CreCon prints all sorts of books but they do specialize in family history projects. Not sure if they take GEDCOM or not though.
These days, there are a large number of more general print-on-demand companies that can produce copies of your book but they probably can’t handle GEDCOM files. That means you would have to produce the whole manuscript on your own. Many software programs can help you convert your database into a printable format, but that will depend on what you are using. Check out the features and do a few test runs to see what the output is like.
In either case, take your time to see what services your chosen company offers. Some simply take your files and print them, and others will offer all sorts of editing or design layout assistance. You will probably pay more for the added help though, so keep that in mind.
A professionally bound book with all your genealogy research can be a wonderful gift for other family members, or to leave as a legacy for your own future generations. Or if your tree includes enough notable people, you might even make a little money selling copies to other people who share your relatives. Places like Amazon would be a good option for that approach.