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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Content at Before My Time is protected by copyright and may not be copied for publication elsewhere without permission. © T. K. Sand.

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Ruminations

I haven't ruminated all month... why would I start now?


March Accomplishments
  • I've almost completed three books, thus maxing out my mental capacities. Deadline: April 3.
And in the other column . . .
  • Um . . . so where is that Phillips driver, anyway? No, don't tell me. I don't want to know.

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Exemplar: A Colorful Family History Book

    Color can be tricky in a book of family pictures. Too many color pictures on a page can make for a wearying experience for the reader. Norma Strube Rue reined it in quite nicely in The Family Strube. She used two techniques to make color work successfully in her book. They are today's Ideas:
    • When using more than one color photo on a page or a spread, choose photos whose colors are similar and harmonious together. Clashing colors don't look any better together on a page than they do in the mirror when you dress yourself badly. There's not much chance that an orange polka-dotted shirt will look good with your red plaid pants, is there? Well, they don't want to spend eternity on the same page with each other either, even in separate pictures!
    • Norma carried a color theme through her book even on pages which had only neutral photos. She did so by using a two-tone scheme for her text, keeping the main body of text black, but using a dark reddish color for titles, captions and such. This creates a strong unity throughout her book no matter what kind of pictures are on any particular page-spread. And it looks terrific!
    Having said that, I should hasten to point out that I love the cover art as well, despite the flurry of activity therein. Norma brought a great sense of balance and harmony to it, along with a sense of fun, and that restful white spot in the middle where the title sits quietly, hinting that it's about to bring order to the flurry. Nice!
      Reader, what ideas do you get from this book?

      Saturday, March 19, 2011

      Blurb Software Upgrade Available Now

      I currently have several books in progress and, as you probably know, my POD publisher of choice is Blurb. (And in case you're wondering, I am not affiliated with Blurb in any way except as a customer, and I do not benefit in any way by writing about my Blurb experiences, positive or negative.) This week I received notice that they've released a new software upgrade, Booksmart 3.0. There are some interesting new features that customers have requested, and I'm looking forward to checking them out.

      You'll find more information about the upgrade here, including some advice about any works you may have in progress.

      Friday, March 18, 2011

      Exemplar: Memoir of a Special Place

      What makes a house your home? If you home could say, "This is what I want you to remember about me," what things would it point to? When your grandchildren come to visit, what do they see that's different from their own home?

      My father remembers a candy jar up on a shelf at his grandmother's house. My mother remembered the dark at the top of the stairs in her childhood home. I remember the carved lions that were the feet of my grandma's sofa. If I could go back in time, I'd photograph them all.

      Will a time machine ever be invented? Maybe, but I don't think we can count on it, and a photographic house memoir might be the next best thing.

      My house, I fear, will not be saying, "Look what a good housekeeper T.K. was."

      • Charge up the camera and plan a photo shoot to motivate spring cleaning efforts.
      • The absence of text allows the viewer to fill in his own memories associated with the photos. Even though this was not my grandma's house, the images brought up memories for me.
      Reader, what ideas do you get from this book?

      Thursday, March 17, 2011

      The Mysterious "J" -- Who Was It?

      My grandmother celebrated her 20th birthday on April 1, 1914. She was single and working at the Palace Roller Rink in Detroit when she received these four postcards signed only "J."

      I haven't a clue who "J" was!

      Friday, March 11, 2011

      Exemplar: A Sketchbook of Childhood Memories

      Update: Sorry, reader, the preview of this exemplar has been disabled by the author. I'm leaving the post here though, as the creative idea is worth knowing.

      "Stuff I Remember" is truly delightful. Blurbarian Stuart Scolnik describes it thus:
      Our Dad sketched his childhood memories on a sketch pad. The images were sorted, printed and presented on his 80th birthday, with love from his family. The illustrations artistically tell the story of a simpler time and a boy's intimate relationship with a world around him called the Bronx. Dad's attention to detail helps us revisit the objects, experiences and emotions of his happy youth. We hope you enjoy his journey.
      I did! I enjoyed Willard's sense of humor too. You don't have to know Willard to enjoy this book, but by the time you finish it, you'll probably wish you did.

      • Learn to sketch! I'll never be an artist, but art doesn't have to be fine to be fun. 
      • When there's no photo to illustrate a story you want to tell, creating a simple drawing could really personalize a page of text. Consider whether such a drawing would fit with the mood of your book--is your book formal/scholarly/research-oriented or informal/warm & fuzzy/personal?
      Reader, what ideas do you get from this book?

      Friday, March 04, 2011

      Exemplar: A Family History and Genealogy Book

      If you're thinking of putting all your research, or just all your research for one particular surname, into a big, comprehensive genealogy/family history book, you've probably spent some time considering how to lay out your book. There are plenty of ways to do it, and you can refine your own ideas by studying the approaches others have taken. If you visit the Blurb Bookstore and type in the search term genealogy, you'll find lots of examples to look at. Browse several. See what you like and what you don't like.

      In From New York to Indiana, author James P. Barber chose to include charts in a separate section, after a textual family history. If your readers are not consumed by genealogy (like us!), the odds are pretty good that they won't be inclined to sit around reading charts. An interesting text will have more appeal to that audience, as will pictures.

      • If you're creating a book for family members who are, for the most part, not genealogically inclined, you might want to keep charts in a separate section toward the back of the book, where the hard-core genealogist among your readers will find them more easily anyway.
      • If you're using Blurb as your POD publisher, you may find yourself with extra pages available due to Blurb's pricing structure. Consider using them to add some blank family group sheets at the end of your book, as Barber has done here, so generations can be added as the book is handed down.
      Reader, what ideas do you get from this book?

      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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