Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Exemplar: A Compelling Family History Book

Like most creative projects, creating a family history book is immensely satisfying, and the result needn't be dull or boring. Remember Me by Lesley Graham just blew me away. Because it's so stunning, today's post is the first of a new series here at Before My Time, in which I'll feature family history books I've happened upon which may inspire you with new ideas for your own book project.

Described as "a thesis design book that focuses on memory loss and the journey one might face," Remember Me is utterly compelling. I am a big fan of "grunge" style, but like any design element, it has to serve the project it lives in first and foremost, or it's just visual clutter. In Remember Me grunge serves to perfection, carrying the message of the book in a way that words simply can't.

I encourage you to view the book at full-screen. Just click the little square box next to the Blurb logo. You may have to squint a bit to read the text, but it's worth doing!

  • All the elements of a book--photos, fonts, background, text, colors, everything--combine to make the whole. Understanding the theme of your book helps you choose design elements accordingly. The better you stick to your theme, the more cohesive your book will be in the end.
  • Snapshots! What a mixed blessing they are! The overwhelming majority are terrible, but sometimes they're all we've got to work with. Treatment is everything. In Remember Me, Graham uses what are essentially a bunch of bad snapshots as a metaphor for memory, advancing the theme of the book and thus turning bad photos into great ones. 
Reader, what ideas do you get from this book?


Barbara Poole said...

I keep saying, I've got to do one. It is so creative, and color pops. Now, if I need ideas, I'll com to your blog to check out the new books. Thank you for highlighting this.

Heather Rojo said...

I was just looking at Cheryl Palmer's two recent posts about Blog2Book, and I was considering trying it out. However, after seeing this Blurb example, I'm definitely sticking with Blurb. It may be a bit harder to edit, but I love the creativity. This example gives me lots of new ideas! Thanks for posting today, I almost went ahead with the other publisher!

T.K. said...

Heather and Barbara, thanks for your comments. I'm glad to know there's some interest in this topic, since it has my complete attention these days!

BTW, at the moment I'm inspired to do a post like this every Friday, and in prepping the next post, I decided to add a few lines to remind myself what stood out for me in the exemplar, so I've added a few lines to this post since you read it.

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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