Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Making an Ancestral Scrapbook Style Photo Book/ Living DNA

I finally have the Living DNA family networks. I've been waiting to see possible DNA matches for months. This feature was first offered to a few testers who were beta testing it. Disappointingly I have no matches yet. Living DNA is based in the Britain. Most of their testers live in the UK. I'm American with a mixed heritage and would not have any close matches in the UK. I'll keep fishing and checking as they've stated. I haven't gotten anywhere with my other kits lately either. Few matches are choosing to upload to GEDmatch, and few matches have good family trees. I'm relying more on documents now. Hoping Christmas gift kits produce some better results!

Scrapbook Style Photo Book

Photo books are a good way to share your family history. It's especially good when you don't have enough information for a full size family history book. With the holidays coming a photo book is a great gift option. 

You can make a book with as few as 20 pages, and up to a little over 100 pages, and sometimes more. The sizes of the books range from 8x8 inches (which is too small for multiple pictures on a page) 12x12, 8x11 is the best seller size, or the size closest to the old style scrap books 11x14. Most companies offer a landscaped print book. Some are now offering portrait style for books like the 8x11 size. Most offer a variety of cover options also, such as leather. You can have the books printed as a standard book. This type of book can cause pictures printed near the middle seam between the pages to be difficult to see. A lay-flat book solves this problem because it doesn't have a middle seam; the books pages open flat. This is the best option when printing a book, but it's more expensive. 

There are often sales on photo books. Watch out for sales in the 50% to 70% range with coupons, because these books can quickly add up in price as you add pages and other custom features. 

I've been using Snapfish, and their affiliated Walgreens Drugstore sites to create my books. If you order your book from a drug store site, or a big box store, you can often pick up your finished book from the store in as little as one hour. The quickly printed books are not as high quality as the books you order by mail, but it's a convenient quick way to create a book. 

I use Snapfish and Walgreens mainly based on price and the ease of using their book creation features. I found that the other sites took more time to learn to use. 

Snapfish doesn't have the nice designs Mixbook and Shutterfly have for a family history book. 

Shutterfly and Mixbook have some nice book designs relating to family history. You can start out with a basic book and build the pages yourself. 

Here are some nice vintage backgrounds for an ancestral family history photo book. 

If you go with the blank book you can add custom themed pages. Here is a family history theme page you can add. 

You can choose a theme book instead of a basic book which would contain custom themed pages. Here are some pages from the Remembrance and Modern Memories books at Mixbook

To make the book look more like a scrapbook you can add stickers/embellishments as seen in the photo at them top of the page. 

Shutterfly has a family history themed book. 

You can add text boxes to your photo books too.

Most of the photo book sites have books with family theme pages. Search sites for family, memories, remembrance etc. for themed pages, and books that would be suitable for family history. 

I wondered if my document images would be clear enough to read in these photo books. In the example below you can see that the print is legible. Sometimes I had to use the program Paint to enlarge an image so it would look clearer. Increasing the pixels will make the image acceptable.  

Caution: Be sure to choose the correct size book before creating your book. The standard size at Mixbook, for instance, is 8x8, which is too small for most projects. 

Also I would not have these sites automatically place pictures for a family history photo book. If you are making a travel book with hundreds of pictures it is economical and fast to have them place the photos for you. When it comes to a family history books automatic placement wouldn't work because the chronological order wouldn't be correct, and the family groups wouldn't either. 

There are many ways to customize these books. You can move things around, and add as many photos as you'd like to a page by dragging them over. You can overlay pictures to use a photo as a background. It takes a little time to learn about all the different themes, embellishments, frames, and fonts etc., but it's worth it when you see the finished product. 

Here is a video of my lay-flat Snapfish family history book. I didn't use embellishments, but as I said before you can do so in order to create a book that looks like a scrapbook. I included my trip pictures along with documents I've collected and a picture of my grandfather Rudolph Kapple.