Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Creative Genealogy

Creative Genealogy

Like many family researchers I searched out others who were possibly part of my family tree. Originally I started out with conventional mail correspondence and in more recent years found more distant cousins through the internet. I started to discover numerous cousins previously unknown to me. Over many years I found a precious few who shared my passion for genealogy and discovering our family history.
I soon made contact with a number of cousins who lived within my province. My wife and I visited many of these cousins and on each occasion we took pictures. Later we met a few of my cousins outside the province and added their pictures to my genealogy files. I shared these photos with my other cousins interested in our family searches. Although not a huge collection I had discovered over a dozen new cousins and my wife took photos of these cousins and I each time we had a chance to meet. We had coffee with many and a few dinners with others. I think perhaps this is the most thrilling and satisfying part about my genealogy hobby.
One of my distant cousins who I shared these photos with over the years decided to try and put them together is a surprise book for me. In the preface of the book she wrote the following:
“Since he proposed the idea of using an internet printing service, I have been wondering if I could make my own book—from start to finish. With my little word program that came with the computer, would I be able to organize the pages and keep them in order? Could I sew the segments together and glue them to a hard cover? What could I use as a test project whose result would let me know if this process would be feasible?”

What my cousin produced and sent to me is a wonderful keepsake. She managed to put together a hardcover book, complete with dust jacket, of 46 pages. On individual pages she included a photo of me meeting a new cousin with a short area for notes under the photo. On the opposite side of the page is a chart of the ancestral line of the cousin I met. Near the end she included a ‘Gallery of Ancestors’ made up of several old family portraits photos and painting we have discovered. She even included an index that covered all the names found in the ancestral charts. She gave the book a title on the cover called “Caverly Meets Caverly” and included a photo of my lovely wife and me taken at my wife’s retirement dinner a few years ago. What a fantastic surprise gift she has sent me.
After I sent her a personal thank you note she sent me an email with some more comments about her project.
“The Personal Notes areas are for you to record things you recall from your conversations with that person, perhaps their employment, something about their ancestors or children, their personality, where they live, and whatever. It took me about 3 weeks all total--but that included making a test one. I rather enjoyed the process and when I finished the test one, I said “that wasn’t bad at all.”--must have been beginner’s luck! Naturally when I did yours, it didn’t go quite as easily but it wasn’t bad. The gluing needs to be quick and can be tricky. Actually the PVC glue was the only thing I bought and that was only $3.00. Everything else I had on hand. The cardboard for the hardback cover was recycled from a previous book and I had the fabric and paper on hand. I wouldn’t mind doing some other books but I am limited by the size of paper my printer can handle.”

Thanks for your hard work and creativity Karen.



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