Finish What You’ve Started

June 6, 2017 / no comments

Teresa Olsen has spent much of her adult life researching her family history. She grew up several states away from most of her relatives, and her parents rarely talked about their past. But Teresa wanted to know everything she could about her family, so for the past 25 years, she’s written letters; interviewed relatives; found birth, marriage, and death dates; and gathered memorabilia.=

The journey has been fun and rewarding. Reconnecting with living family members and finding out as much as possible about where she came from has provided a sense of belonging and connection that Teresa wants to pass on to her children. Along the way, however, Teresa discovered what many family history enthusiasts come to realize: she enjoyed the challenge of the research and the thrill of discovery. But her end goal was sharing what she found in a book—and that was more daunting. 

Teresa’s not alone. In today’s Internet world, where dates, locations, and even legal documents can be found with the click of a mouse, research is easier than it’s ever been. But ultimately, sharing that information is what it’s all about. Inspiring stories, heartwarming pictures, informative documentation—none of that does any good when it’s tucked away in a box or saved in the cloud. That incredible feeling of belonging comes when we turn pages, read words, laugh at memories.

Don’t let the magnitude of organizing and sharing your family history stop you from finishing what you’ve started. Here are four quick tips to help you turn all your invaluable family history research and information into something that your loved ones can read and treasure for generations to come.

1—Identify Your Pedigree

Start with our pedigree charts. You can fill it in by yourself, or use online family history sites to help you get started. MyHeritage.com, Ancestry.com, and FamilySearch.com are just a few of the options available that can make this first step easy and fun. Some people choose to hire a pro to help them research their family tree and ensure accuracy. If you’re interested in this option, we recommend Legacy Tree Researchers.

2—Identify Your Resources

Figure out what you’ve gathered. Using your pedigree chart as your guide, identify who you have important dates and information for. Have you found stories and supplemental information to add to the facts? What about photos and documents? Putting a face with a name makes our ancestors come alive and reinforces that sense of belonging that is one of the most important reasons for doing family research.

3—Identify What’s Missing

Once you’ve identified what you have, you can also identify what you don’t have. Holes in your pedigree chart make it easy to see missing dates and locations. But you might have other missing pieces of information as well. Are your stories written down or recorded in some way, are have they simply been passed down from generation to generation? Are your photos and documents organized and digitized?

4—Don’t Wait until You’re Finished

Once you start your family history, you’ll quickly realize that you’ll never be done. If you wait to preserve your history in a book until you have all the pieces, you’ll never have that book.

Three years ago, Teresa realized she could wait no longer—it was time. Initially she tried to do it on her own, but ultimately the task proved daunting enough that she turned to Legacy Books for help. Teresa’s book is now on its way to the printer, and soon her family will have a gorgeous family history volume that they will treasure for a lifetime.

Preserving family history is a labor of love. Whether you do it alone—or with the help of professionals who can guide and assist you along the way—you’re creating a precious family resource that will bind your loved ones together for generations to come.

A Vital Truth—Your Company’s Past Can Shape Its Future

May 15, 2017 / no comments

Looking back might sound counterproductive to a corporate executive. After all, the mark of a good leader is to lead an organization into the future, right? Actually, it turns out that a company’s past can be as important to its future in creating a sense of belonging and unity, as well as instilling purpose in its organization. And we’re not just saying that because we’re advocates of preserving your corporate history. The experts agree.

“Leaders with no patience for history are missing a vital truth,” states an article in Harvard Business Review. “A sophisticated understanding of the past is one of the most powerful tools we have for shaping the future.”

In fact, the article points out, “as a leader strives to get people working together productively, communicating the history of the enterprise can instill a sense of identity and purpose and suggest the goals that will resonate. In its most familiar form, as a narrative about the past, history is a rich explanatory tool with which executives can make a case for change and motivate people to overcome challenges. Taken to a higher level, it also serves as a potent problem-solving tool, one that offers pragmatic insights, valid generalizations, and meaningful perspectives—a way through management fads and the noise of the moment to what really matters.”

It makes sense. As one of the most popular hobbies in the United States[1], family history has captured our attention because of the sense of belonging we feel as we learn about the generations of family who have gone before. We dig deep to discover when and where our ancestors lived and died, as well as all the fascinating things that happened to them in between those two major life events. The more we learn, the more connected and inspired we feel, often looking back at their life experiences as we forge ahead on our own life’s journey.

That same sense of belonging takes place on a corporate level. When an organization captures its history—whether that history spans a couple of decades or a century or more—its employees feel connected to something bigger than themselves. They catch the vision of the company’s mission, they are inspired by stories and people from the past, and they develop a deeper sense of dedication to what they are doing.

A shared history unites us together into a community, reinforces a sense of identity, and creates a framework for growth and success moving forward. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and Harvard Business School professor Alfred D. Chander Jr. often asked his students a single questions: “How can you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been?”

Creating your organization’s history is the perfect answer to that question.

Custom Family History Books You Want To Open

March 17, 2017 / no comments

One of Legacy Books’ beautiful family productions.

“These books draw you to open their pages.”

 

“These are the nicest books I’ve ever seen.”

 

“This design is amazing . . . it’s just beautiful.”

 

These were just a few of the comments we heard this February at RootsTech, a family history and technology trade show held each year in Salt Lake City. The care and craft that goes into our work at Legacy Books is evident to those who see our work. We’re passionate about bringing your stories to life—and the end product shows it.

 

A client in Virginia was so impressed at our ability to make her research visually appealing that she included this note in her book, which is scheduled to be published this coming summer:

“Exhaustive research, good writing and an extensive document and photograph collection do not a book make. To John Catron and his team at Legacy Books go my praise and thankfulness. They took my manuscript and, using their layout and design magic, turned it into this family treasure.”

What’s our secret? Individual care and attention. We don’t try to force your unique resources and stories into a premade template. Instead, we design your book to showcase the specific files and resources you give us—your family photos, documents, memories, memorabilia, and lore.

Your history is unlike anyone else’s, and our design for your book shows that. Our team of designers and writers pores through your files to discover the precise color combinations, fonts, layouts, and book size and shape that will most effectively frame your story. All along the way, we work closely with you to ensure that the designs reflect your vision, sharing proofs and drafts to get your approval and feedback.

This same ethos continues through the publishing phase. These books are not made simply to sit on a shelf, but rather to be read, shared, and enjoyed. Cover materials and paper types are chosen purposefully for each project. We bind your books with a library binding that is built to last hundreds of years—and hold up under actual usage. Our Legacy Books open wide and lie flat so the pictures, stories, and memories on each page can be examined and treasured again and again. The legacy in each book is not just the precious content, but the book itself—a volume that can be passed down from generation to generation.

We are so grateful to all of you who have let us be a part of sharing your family story. And for those of you whose story has yet to be told, we can’t wait to help you create your own Legacy Book.