For Day 11 of Family History Month 2017, look at what MyCanvas has to offer. MyCanvas has photobooks, calendars, and poster printables but they also partner with Ancestry.com to create Family History books.
If you have a family tree at Ancestry (it can be a free tree or a subscription tree), MyCanvas allows you to upload information from your tree, specifying which person you want to start with, and build an ancestral book or a descendancy book.
I chose to create a descendancy book for my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday. (I’m not showing pages with many family photos, but we have them for every family.)
First, you upload your family tree from Ancestry.com. You can create a free account and build a small tree or use a subscription account but only upload a limited number of generations.
Next, you’ll upload photos from your computer, add titles and headings and voila! You have a beautiful, professional looking book, ready to print.
Things I learned as I assembled this book:
Get the information and formatting correct in your tree before you upload to the book. It’s easier to change this information one time in your online tree, than multiple times in the book. I had to change the spelling of the months of the year from the three letter “Sep” or three letter all caps “SEP” to “September,” to make it conform to current standards and look the way I wanted it to in the book.
Get all your names and dates imported correctly first, then add photos. The names and dates are the foundation for the book and it’s important to get this correct before you accessorize your book with family photos (even though photos are fun).
Friend all your family on Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox and any other online site where they might share photos. As important as this project was to me, it obviously didn’t make everyone else’s priority list. I sent requests for names, birthdates, marriage info, and photos. Photos were the last to arrive if they arrived at all. Enter Facebook, Instagram, and Dropbox. I downloaded photos from their accounts on all these sites (slightly freaky to think this is possible).
When you send requests to your family for information be sure you know ALL the information you’re going to need. I realized I also needed parents’ names for the grandchildren’s spouses and felt badly sending a second and third request for additional information.
Even with my novice missteps the process was easy, and we had a 92 page finished product in under 6 weeks with 6 children, 22 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren, and pages for each–no small feat.
You could easily use one of these books to create a professional personal history or family history and there’s an option for professionals to have the “MyCanvas” logo information removed from the book. It’s only on the last page so if you print a couple additional blank white pages you could easily cut out the last page after you receive it, but it doesn’t bother me.
MyCanvas gives you the option of using 4 or 5 generations for a book. There are style options, additional pages you can add or remove, and you see the price of the book change as you make changes. They store your drafts on their site and you can edit at your convenience. And, you can send previews to others (including the option to order one for themselves.) Best in your research! #FamilyHistoryMonth