Angela, I just figured out how to highlight Census records myself, and it was pretty easy. The page below shows a 1920 Census record that includes my great-grandparents and their children. I selected the Census record, which made the image editing toolbar appear, and then clicked the copy icon to create a copy of the record. I used the zoom icon (the little white cross) to zoom in on my relatives’ names until they were large enough to read, and then I used the drag icon (the pointy cross next to the zoom icon) to drag that section of the page up to the top of the window. Then I cropped out the rest of the names and changed the color of the new record to sepia (using the color menu on the toolbar). Finally, I put an embellishment right next to my grandpa’s name.
To access the historical maps, select Photos & Maps on the Ancestry Search. You might also want to check out the Maps tab on the Ancestry Store. Many of the maps in this collection are also available through the Ancestry Search, but they’re a little easier to browse in the store. (The maps are in the store because we sell high-quality framed prints, but if you just need a small version, you can download the image from the store website for free — the resolution should be good enough to use in your book.) We recently added a collection of historical land ownership maps, which are available through the Ancestry Search.
In response to Jocelyn Miller’s comment, you can’t wrap text from page to page in AncestryPress, but you can create individual pages that include large blocks of text as well as images. The example below is a page from my family history book. It includes three separate text boxes: the text on the right side of the photo, the caption below the photo and the text on the bottom part of the page. AncestryPress isn’t really designed to accommodate lengthy narratives, but if you have the patience to build the pages one at a time, you can use it to publish a very professional looking memoir.
Regarding cost, you can build and edit your book and print pages at home for free. You can currently order a printed and bound copy of your book for a special introductory price of $29.95 (that’s the base price for a 24-page book — each additional page costs 39 cents).
I like Laurie Gilliard’s idea of making books dedicated to specific people in your family tree. You can actually do this already by designating your granddaughter — or anyone else in your tree — as the home person for the book. The timeline page automatically uses third person language (“Jane Doe was born on…”), but you can use the text editing tool to change it to first person and tweak the wording however you want. And you can create pages from scratch, so don’t limit yourself to the templates that are currently available. We don’t have a dedication page template yet, but you can easily create your own, as I did in the example below:
We’ll cover many more tips and tricks in the webinar on November 1. In the meantime, please continue to post your questions and ideas. I plan to post a new column to this blog about once a week, and I’ll try to respond to as many comments as I can.
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NOTE: AncestryPress is now MyCanvas
In October 2008, AncestryPress was relaunched under the name MyCanvas. It is still a free, online software program provided by Ancestry.com. For current information about products and features, please see my more recent blog posts.