Posted by Ancestry Team on April 21, 2008 in Website

Last weekend I had the following conversation with my 5-year-old nephew, Alex.

Alex: “Where are you going?”

Me: “To the store.”

Alex: “Why?”

Me: “Because I want to buy some shoes.”

Alex: “Why?”

Me: “Because I’m a girl, and girls like shoes.”

Alex: “But you don’t need any shoes.”

Which, from an objective point of view, was certainly true. I had a whole closet full of shoes. I needed another pair of shoes like Alex needed another Buzz Lightyear action figure. But I didn’t feel like getting into a philosophical conversation about needs vs. wants with a preschool kid, especially if it meant forgoing a new pair of sandals in order to set an example of self-restraint.

With that in mind, I’d like to tell you about a few things we’re doing here at AncestryPress to address both your needs and your wants. I’d also love to hear more about what you need in a self-publishing application (e.g., “I really need to print a book with more than 100 pages”) and what you want (e.g., “It would be cool if I could create a custom cover with one of my family photos on the front”).

Several customers have written in to say that they love the book building tool, but they can’t do justice to their family history in 100 pages or less. If you share that sentiment, you’ll be glad to know that we’ve just raised the limit to 250 pages. The binding process for longer books is slightly different — books over 100 pages are not hand stitched — but you can still expect a very high-quality product.

Several weeks ago we also added a large-format book (14″x11″) to the product line. The new size is obviously great for near-sighted people who prefer bigger fonts. It also provides the look and heft of an heirloom-quality coffee table book.

If you’d like to make a large-format book, be sure to select the larger size when you start your project. At the moment, it isn’t possible to convert a book from the smaller size to the larger size or vice-versa, so please make a careful decision about which size you want when you start your project.

You don’t have to choose the type of cover you want until you place your order, so it’s OK to change your mind about that halfway through the project. You can even order three copies of the same book with three different covers. And, just to be clear, you don’t have to do anything special to create a book that’s longer than 100 pages. The only decision you really need to think through at the beginning of the process is the size of your book.

Finally, a quick word about the various cover options. Our basic book cover is “leatherette,” which is a paper-based material that simulates the texture of leather. People in the printing industry refer to it as nuba. The leatherette book was our first product offering because in our early market research, most customers told us that what they really needed was an affordable way to publish their family history research.

Last month we added a bonded leather cover that is available in black and burgundy. Bonded leather is real leather that’s been processed so that it can go through an imprint machine, which allows us to stamp a gold foil title on the front.

Our leatherette cover comes in charcoal gray. It actually has a very nice look and feel. The biggest downside is that it doesn’t wear very well if stuff gets spilled on it, whereas you can wipe peanut butter off the bonded leather and it still looks as good as new.

I’d love to hear what you think of our current product offerings. Are we meeting your needs when it comes to book size, length, format and cover choices? Are you happy with the manufacturing quality of the printed output? Are there other products that you don’t really need — like the strappy yellow sandals I bought on Saturday — that you’d like to create just for fun?

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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 For current information about products and features, please see my more recent blog posts.


  1. Anja

    I am excited to hear that i can add 250 pages to my book now. This comes just in time as i am hoping to order my book in the coming weeks and i was waiting for longer books.

    Thanks a lot of offering this!

  2. Cristina

    Thanks!!! This is perfect I have been working on my Mayflower families and to have it only 100 pages was too small.

  3. Lynn

    Great to hear that I can now include up to 250 pages in my family book, and love that there is now a larger book option. Do you think an option for converting a project that already has been started into the larger format will be available in the near future, as I am already 60 pages into my project and would hate to have to start again?

  4. Sue Adamson

    Please could you consider putting occupational background papers in the books. For example a coal mining background or agricultural background. I love the Scottish background which was very suitable to use for my Scottish sister in law, however my husband has coal mining ancestors and it would be great if there was a background paper which reflected his ancestor’s occupations.

    Meanwhile I’m really enjoying putting my family history reseach in book form.


  5. Hi, just wondering when you are taking down the old online family tree….I have been using this one for a while now….and I don’t like the look or feel of the 2008 one.
    I guess I need to print all the stories I can so I can make a book of my own….

  6. Any plans to allow me to input my work from “My Ancestry” to FTM? Including the pictures? Currently I have to put it in two places.

    The book feature is OK, but I don’t have enuf control over it.

  7. Nelvia Brady

    I am delighted to learn that the number of pages haqs been increased to 250. hat’s great news for me as I am already beyond 100 pages!!! I would, however, be interested in the larger pages. Like Lynn,I am wondering if you think you will eventually offer the possibility of conversion to the larger format so that I won’t have to begin again?

  8. Andrea

    I agree with Lynn as well, i am already so far into my book and would love the option to buy a bigger book, i would prefer it actually! And i like the idea of occupational pages, i could so use farming, coal miner, and shoesmith, and old restaurant type pages… the list goes on! As for the leather vs. leatherette, i definately would invest a few extra bucks for a longer lasting book, i mean, i have been trying to get this book done for a while now, i want to brag about it for years! With a two year old in the house, theres not much here that last longer than a week!Lol! But I love everything about ancestry press and the fact that things change and improve so often! And once again, please consider making the option to order the book bigger after starting it availible!

  9. Karen Cook

    Need to know how to convert a project to your new larger format without having to recreate the book from the beginning.

  10. Bonnie Myers

    I’m thrilled that you’ve increased the number of pages to 250. I have so much data I want to include and now I can. I’d like request France and Holland backgrounds as well as a Farming and Store (grocery or hardward – old time with wooden sidewalks) backgrounds. My family has been so excited to see the backgrounds that match our ancestors. I’m with Lynn & Andrea, I have over 80 pages in my book, I don’t want to start over to get a larger sized book but would really prefer that size. Also, I’d like to add Pedigree or Relationship charts to the larger sized book.

  11. Many thanks for increasing the book size to 250 pages.
    Now I just have to get to work to redo my book and get it ready to publish.
    I really appreciate all the improvements you continue to make for the book projects.

  12. Judy

    I love this product, but I would love it more if you had background for Korean War and maybe even the War of 1812.


  13. Steve

    Good news about the 250 page book option, which has come just at the right time, for my project.
    Consideration to enable transferring from a small over to a larger format book has to be the next sensible move, as so many others have commented. This is a no-brainer’ in terms of technology, so how about it, Ancestry?

  14. Nanette

    Are there any plans to allow for more than three generations to load into the publishing software? I’m just getting started but I have already notice that I’m spending a lot of time re-typing information.

  15. Deanna Ramirez

    Is there a possiblity of including some native american pages. I am muscogee creek from Florida. Would like to see some type of native american backgrounds.


  16. Delta Meizler

    I am so glad you are making the book longer and more pages,
    I still can not under stand why we put in a picture and type thing we want to have under it, and it will not come out with both as we are putting pictures in book. I have wasted my time in putting names dates and stories with the pictures.

  17. I was sorry, yet glad to learn that a 250 page book became availiable a few days after I summitted my book for printing. I do hope will offer a special price for book reprints.

  18. I am wondering if you are going to develop a way to transfer one book (100 pg) to the larger book (250 pg)? Do I have to stop my current project and recreate the whole thing if I want a larger book?

  19. Rose

    I would love to see a 7 or 9 generation chart that can be added as a page to my book. The 4 generation is nice, but it does not show as much as I would like. And adding multiple 4-gen charts is very confusing to the layout.

  20. Bob Wheatley

    My book, The Cossart Chronicles, is rapidly approaching 100 pages. My research continues on this family line, and as time goes on and I find more facts and stories to add it’s nice to know I’ll have the space to do so without splitting it into volumes. Also, I really like the bonded leather option for the cover. I’m having the book printed to carry the story of our family down to suceeding generations. Leather will certainly give it the look and feel of an heirloom and provide the durability required to last for many years.

  21. Clare Loppe

    I had previously printed one family tree in two books in order to get past the 100 page limit. So now I have a problem of merging Book I and Book II into one. I wonder if it can be done.

  22. I concur with all the comments – the added pages and larger size is great – but we need a way to convert current projects into both options just stated. Can we get a Wales background page? And backgrounds for occupations is a great idea. More than 4 generations view is valuable, along with relationship and pedigree views. You are doing a great job with this offering and there are lots of good comments – keep up the great work!

  23. Duncan Bowers

    I agree with some previous peoples comments; a way to choose the book size during or at the end of the process would be a real benefit. I would liked to have ordered one coffee table size for myself and the smaller size for more distant relatives…

  24. Nancy Zon

    What you have been telling me so far has been informative. Do you have verticalfamily tree postors? That will also be what I want. Nancy

  25. Anja

    I am currently deleting one page at a time and it takes veeery long. It would be great if you could add a quick-fix of being able to delete more pages at once.



  26. Joan

    I was interested in doing a cookbook of old family recipes accompanied with family photos. I know that there were backgrounds for this, but I cannot now find them. Are they still available?

  27. Karen

    I was trying to publish my already completed ancestrypress book somewhere else because it was longer than 100 pages, so longer suddenly makes your publishing option a possibility again. However, the last 150 pages is my anantafel. That’s all completed on my computer in landscape orientation with page numbers. Furthermore it’s all in black and white which I shouldn’t have to pay .49 per print for. Do you have a suggestion for adding a 150 page pdf file to my current project and a lower cost for b&w printing?

  28. Janice

    I concur with the comments here: Wales, coal-mining and agriculture are the three main themes in my family history so something in the way of backgrounds to reflect that would be extremely useful. Also it would be good to have more fonts to choose from.

  29. Melody

    I recently made a book from Family Tree maker 16 And had to send the book to a printer to be printed a bound. With all of the family group sheets that I include and the pictures of the family my book end up being 581 pages. This was right befor Ancestry started printing their books. I’m really glad to see that you’ve increased the size of your books.

  30. Suzanne

    I have been working on a family book for a long time, wishing it it would come in a larger size with additional pages.
    Now it is available, but I won’t be able to take advantage of it because you can’t transfer the smaller sized book into the larger sized one. I am very disappointed.

  31. Rachel Davis

    I have lots of pictures and info yet to put in my book but know I will have well over the original 100 pages I signed up for, so am very pleased that you now have 250 pages. However I agree with others I would like to transfer what I have to the 250 page format without having to start over. I also would like the new leather cover, but not larger type. Can this be done?

  32. Debby

    I like the book features, but I want to print it at home. The time it takes to upload and download with all the pictures is quite a long time. After waiting a hour to print just two pages to see what it looks like printed and to have the connection crash. Is just to much, I would like to print at home feature with all the look you have on the web site.

  33. William Pritchard

    I wish you had done this two months ago, my book was five pages over the 100 limit and I had to remove several pages. The upgrade to 250 pages will enable me to add another complete generation to my book and, I will be ordering another one when I have finished it. A new type of cover is good news and I will have to try it out. Well done Ancestry. One question though – why can’t we add our own themed backgrounds?

  34. John Moore

    I would like to see a book that opens from the other way and that has large text even in the small ones.

  35. Janet

    Thank you Lady’s for your hard dedicated work. you are happily improving the pages and back grounds . I do not even have to delete any pages if i go over the page limit. I would like to see more of the old west type back grounds and pictures to use in the books. This makes my third book that i am putting together, I am uploading my own photo’s to use as background. Thanks again.

  36. Gloria

    I am so glad to hear that we can now add 250 pages. I have already created a family book which I really liked. The only problem with the book was that I was limited at what I could put in there. Now, I am going to make another one with more information. Thanks for listening. Gloria

  37. john hassen

    Though clever, not at all helpful as I attempt to learn how to publish books and posters…

  38. Joyce Minard D'Amico

    My grandfather was Charles Warren
    Minard wife Lilly T Minard their son was Albert Henderson Minard born 1906, daughter Fern Minard died in
    child birth don’t know married name,
    daughter Betty Jean Minard

  39. Janet

    Hi, Lady’s Try enhancing your colors they are not that sharp after printing.
    They appear to be faded and dull. Lady’s and gentlemen do not understand that they do not have to delete they’re extra pages if they go over the page limit. I keep reading the same story that they need to get rid of pages when they go over . they can pay for extra pages. I do it is worth it to me . I am having a blast making my books and coming up with backgrounds to fit the pictures , and the stories that go with my family. I am able to do just about anything that i want to do with a few exceptions of course. And just think i still have two more books to make before i am done.
    Thanks Again Ladies have a good day.

  40. Joan

    How can I make a Book of my Family Tree. I read your blogs today but where is the info on creating the 250 page book and then getting “leatherette” cover? My tree is 385,888 KBs. Help

  41. I was wondering how I was going to fit the whole family tree in one book. I would have had to do 25 books seperately then multiply that by the copies. I know you are getting a headache too. Just say I am happy about the bigger book, kay?

  42. Chip

    Im glad to hear about these new options. I much prefer the real leather for a book like this, especially with the amount of time I’ve put into creating it. 250 pages is also great but I would like to see you be able to larger. 250 isn’t really enough for what I want to do with my project. Still though, great improvements, keep it up.

  43. Gail

    I am new to this I want to make a book ,but can I use my own background , embellishments and text.If so how?

  44. Mary Jane Bell

    I love everything you have done, but I have one suggestion. I have discovered that my hometown newspaper is now avaible on ancestry and I have been downloading various articles (208 hits) and using the new print options to create a page that may add a picture from 1935, some ads, and my comments. These pages seemed to be best suited for an 8 1/2 x 11 portrait lay-out. I am now trying to take all those pages and combine them into a book, but all the books use a landscape lay-out. I realize this is best for most of what you do, but it would be nice to have at least one option of a book in the portrait layout.

  45. Ed

    I really miss the “book” feature of Family Tree Maker 16, and can’t duplicate its capability in Family Tree Maker 2008

  46. Nancy Rogers

    Ed Think about it…The owners of and family tree maker want you to use this on line book creation called Ancestry Press. I did not get the latest version of FTM and after reading all the comments I am not even sure that I am going to get the next FTM version. If you create the book on line then they have your book. I have not used and do not ever anticipate using Ancestry Press to create a book, if I want one I will find a program that will let me do it off line. I have begun to look at some other genealogy programs and the real irony here is that I have been an FTM user since some time in the mid 90’s. So now ancestry and ftm have two broken items…and if you add the new search engine make it three…lets see I think I may jump ship next year when my ancestry. com comes up for renewal.

  47. FX

    I have completed two books on two separate sides of my family. I would love to combine both books. How do I do that?

  48. Lisa

    Please make books avalible in 12 x 12 sizes. And Please make the custom backgrounds from family trees avalible so we can type in the family data, not just from a database where some people don’t have a family tree online. They also make nice writing pens that we could write in the information we want manually.
    Thank You

  49. Joyce OConnor

    Stefanie: I was on the webinar tonight and registered prior but didn’t get a confirmation. How can I get the 25% discount on MyCanvas next purchase???? Please reply, Thanks, Joyce OConnor

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