Thursday, December 30, 2010

Footnotes or Endnotes

As you prepare you family history, you may find that you would like to include some valuable source material but find that it bogs down the flow of your book. This is a good use for footnotes or endnotes. Most word processors can automatically number and track your footnotes or endnotes for you. I have found that footnotes in personal and family histories are distractive and detract from your book. Use endnotes instead. These can appear at the end of each chapter if you have a lot of them, or at the end of your book (just before your index) if you have just a few. Not only do endnotes look better, but they are easier than footnotes to format and control.

Chris Stevenson

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Time

I love being with family at Christmas time and on other holidays. We have several parties with different sides of the family and it reminded me that sharing family stories is a fun and important part of these family gatherings. I would suggest that you bring a digital recorder and turn it on when these stories are being told so they can be preserved and shared.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Chris Stevenson

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pictures and Captions in Word 2007, take 2

Last April I posted an article about connecting pictures to captions in Word 2007 (see April 14 post). Occasionally (I have no idea why) the captions and the pictures will not group together. So there is another step that needs to be taken when this occurs. Here are some detailed instructions that I found on

1 Insert a picture or shape by clicking the “Insert” tab at the top and making an image selection.

2 Insert text by clicking “Insert” and “Text Box” from the top menu, then typing new text into the text box.

3 Insert a new drawing canvas by selecting “Insert,” “Shapes,” “New Drawing Canvas” and resizing it to fit your objects using the sizing tabs.

4 Cut and paste your picture and text box or boxes, one by one, into the new drawing canvas. Select the items you want to group by clicking and holding the “Ctrl” key. Right-click in the canvas and select “Grouping” and “Group.”

5 Drag and drop your new group outside the boundaries of the drawing canvas. They can now be moved simultaneously anywhere on the document.

6 Select the drawing canvas and delete it, as you don't need it to hold the picture and text grouping.

(Here is the link on

This is a good way to attach captions to pictures or group pictures together if the regular way doesn’t work.

Chris Stevenson

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Deadlines #2

This is a repeat of a post I did last December. It is so important that I feel like I should repeat it.

This time of year, I am reminded of the importance of deadlines as well as the lack of importance of deadlines. That my sound a little funny, so let me explain. First, I think that it is common knowledge that we need deadlines to push us over the top to finish projects. A couple of examples that I can think of is how many sports teams really push hard to get ahead in the last two minutes of a game. And how students study extra hard and long just before a final test. We definitely need deadlines to help us.
But there is another side of deadlines when it comes to publishing a family history. Every year I have some people ask me when is the last date that they can finish writing it and have it published for Christmas. We discuss the different deadlines and then I usually say something like this, "I just want to remind you that it is wonderful to have you book completed for Christmas, but your book will be around for a hundred years and so it is more important to have it just right than to meet a deadline." This is wisdom that I learned from my father. He used deadlines to help propel him forward, but he never cut corners. Maybe that is the perfectionist in him.
Keeping deadlines in their proper perspective is so important as we do these very large projects, like writing and publishing a family history. Use Christmas, a family reunion, or other occasion as a deadline to work towards, but remember that your book will be treasured for years to come. Make it a legacy that you will be happy with and not one full of regrets.
Chris Stevenson