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The Mechanics of Writing Your Family History, Part II

Once you know what information you want to include in a book, you have to face the task of formatting it. You can do this a number of ways:

  • use a genealogy database program which will generate a genealogy book for you
  • use a word processor or desktop publishing program to import data from a genealogy database program (most programs available today will allow you to export a Rich Text Format (RTF) file containing your genealogy data in one format or another)
  • use a word processor to type in the data yourself (not recommended! Think of the errors you might generate!)
  • use a combination of the options listed above.

This last entry is what most people choose; it offers the greatest amount of customization. For example, family historians can select unique reports or charts to be printed directly from their database program, export the main data in Register report format to be used in a word processor, and add their own comments or additional information and graphics directly into the word processor.

In addition, there are specific programs available which will read your database information and create a book for you. Programs such as GenBook and KinWrite Plus will take your inputted data (in the form of a GEDCOM or PAF file) and create a book. Most of these programs allow you to customize the results, add text, decide on appearance, etc. These programs usually allow you a greater level of interaction with the format and final appearance of the book than the genealogy database programs.

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