This morning my walking buddy and I took our regular trek around the neighborhood. As we wandered past houses decorated for Halloween, our feet crunched through fallen leaves and I could feel the bite of the wind on my cheeks.
Iâ€™ve always liked autumn. I love the fact that we donâ€™t really need the heat or the air conditioning on, making for a little extra cash in our tight budget. (These days a little wiggle-room in the budget is a big deal!) The colors of the leaves, the smell of chili in the crock pot, and snuggling up in a warm sweatshirt with my fuzzy socks all make autumn a comfy, cozy time of year for me.
Beyond all of these fall features, the celebration of Family History Month in October gives me that extra push to put some extra focus on my family history.
In a blink, Halloween will be past and the holidays will once again be upon us. I begin every year setting goals to have completed a big grandiose family history project to share with my family as a holiday gift. Too often they have failed because of the size of the projects, so over the years the goals have been downsized to be more practical. Iâ€™ve come to terms with the fact that the complete multi-volume, multi-generational published family history is probably not going to happen this year. Letâ€™s be real. Iâ€™m a mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and caretaker to five loving animals. Throw in work, friends, school community, church community . . . well, you get the picture. We have a few balls in the air here.
So I need to focus on something â€œdoable.â€ And I have to start now. Last week Ancestry relaunched its publishing platform, AncestryPress as MyCanvas.Â When it comes to using AncestryPressâ€”oops, I mean MyCanvas (this is going to take some getting used to!), the first thing that comes to mind is a family history book. Over the holidays last year, I wrote an article about a smaller scale project I was working on that covered my grandmotherâ€™s family. When it comes to editing your project, most of those tools and the editing techniques remain the same, so this article is a good â€œget startedâ€ look at creating a family book if youâ€™re not already familiar with it.
There are a few things that are different. First, and most noticeably, the Publish tab on Ancestry is now the Print and Share tab. Donâ€™t worry though, it will still bring you to your projects. After you click that tab, you can choose to start a new project (and there are several new options weâ€™ll get into later), or you can click on the navigation list and access â€œMy Projects.â€ From there, youâ€™ll see what looks kind of like the record selections on an old jukebox. Each page represents one of your projects. You can page through them one at a time using the arrows at the top, or jump ahead by clicking on a page. If youâ€™re in a position to pick up on a project that youâ€™ve already begun, this is where youâ€™ll begin.
However, I am not in that position this year and in todayâ€™s column, I thought weâ€™d take a look at some of the other MyCanvas options that are a little more â€œdoableâ€ when it comes to completing and ordering them in time for the holidays. Here are some that are worth contemplating:
Choose a theme, whether itâ€™s a special event (a trip, summer vacation, birthday, wedding, anniversary, a tribute to a special family member, a holiday, family reunionâ€”the possibilities are endless), or just a collection of random photographs and memories that will make someone smile. Youâ€™re the artist and your photograph book is your canvas. (Pun intended!)
If youâ€™ve got the names and dates, but are still working on filling in the family story and arenâ€™t quite ready to publish that book, a poster-size pedigree chart is a quick and easy project you can create in literally under an hour if you already have your data entered into an Ancestry Online Tree or some other genealogical software. If you already have an Ancestry tree, you just need to select a size, format, and which tree to upload into your project. Then give your project a name. Once your pedigree poster is automatically generated for you, it’s time to have fun with it. Add photographs, embellishments, text, quotes, or whatever you like. Continue reading