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I am writing this post to talk myself through a project I need to finish before December 12 (today is the 4th), but it takes several steps and needs a careful proofreading by my aunt. I made a book as a Christmas gift for my aunt last year. It was kind of a surprise, although I did need to gather information and photos from her family and she knew I was doing it. (She’s married to my mom’s brother) My book for her was a combination of a family history for her branch of the family and ours, and included photos of her kids, and many of our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.  She loved it so much she said she wanted to hire me to make books for her family for Christmas ’08. We started talking about it in the spring, so well prepared.  We were going to get it done well before the holidays, of course…

This week she finally came down with photos. I have to give her a lot of credit.  She knew what I could make, and she knew what she wanted to include and she was soooo thorough in preparing for it.  I have our full family tree in my computer, but had to hand update many lines in my Ancestry.com family tree to fill in important information.  Ancestry will organize all the facts, faces and info very nicely, but you have to put it in there first.

Book Contents

  1. Dedication
  2. 2 Page spread of Family Tree (two 5 generation pedigrees for each of her parents that meet in the middle where the 7 kids will be shown.)
  3. 2 pages of Kane ancestry
  4. 2 pages of Reynolds ancestry & photos
  5. Family Group pages for each of her 7 siblings including wedding photos & 3 family photos
  6. Christmas Page
  7. Vacation Page
  8. Our Faith Page
  9. Brother in Laws Page
  10. Random Favorite Pictures 2 pages
  11. The Next Generation 1 page

My plan of attack:

  1. Enter all of the names and dates given to me for ancestors, siblings & kids in ancestry tree online. (save for later addition to my Reunion tree)
  2. Scan all of the photographs
  3. Minor editing and color correction on photos in Photoshop
  4. Duplicate and break up the photos into head shots where indicated
  5. Upload all to Ancestry.com (save for later addition to Reunion)
  6. Link all photos to their respective people in Ancestry.
  7. Create the book using the automated feature on My Canvas
  8. Delete additional pages (extra timelines, census pages, etc. – we can’t afford to include these)
  9. Add extra pages & photographs as indicated.
  10. Share book with my aunt online so she can proof read it – she will send me a list of changes)
  11. Make the changes required
  12. Read through one more time
  13. Deadline for publishing (before paying for expedited orders) by Dec 11 for Delivery to her house Dec 23.

Wish me luck!

4 Responses to “Making a Family History Book – Ancestry's My Canvas”

  1. on 03 Feb 2009 at 11:51 pm Eric Kaplan

    Hi Sasha,

    I came across your blog after doing a search on your dad. (I’m also sending this to your sasharoots address.) I met him a couple of times through a mutual friend, Bernie Adams. He was a warm guy and a wonderful talent. You might already have them, but I have a few recordings of your father that I transferred from dat to cd years ago… I still probably have the originals somewhere. Bernie recorded him from time to time. Some are live with Marc and some are studio recordings from a rehearsal and from the Hit Factory. Additionally, and maybe more importantly, I have equipment that used to belong to him. During a financial rough patch, he sold Bernie a guitar & amp (an Ibanez Roadstar II, and a solid state Kustom). Bernie, subsequently fell on hard times and sold them to me. I am NOT looking for any money. They belonged to your dad, and therefore to you if you want them. You can contact me at this address. Take care. – Eric

  2. on 04 Mar 2009 at 5:33 pm Mary Edsall

    I need to hire someone to clean up and then make a book of my husband’s Ancestry.com family tree. It is about 30+ generations and I am way over my head. Do you know anyone I could hire?

    Mary Edsall

  3. on 21 Oct 2009 at 3:32 pm Maryann

    Hi Sasha:

    Do you have any tips for me. I have all the information ready to put together a book through my canvas. I’ve done other books using family tree maker which seemed easier to do.

    Any suggestions on how to included all of the information would be greatly appreciated.

    I wish there were sample pages to look at on how to expand the family group sheet pages and timeline pages.



  4. on 29 Oct 2010 at 7:02 pm Gwen Chaffin

    Dear Sasha;

    It is funny how I was just bored tonight and I decided to do some research on my family. I am a Chaffin and my family originated in Wytheville, Va. My cousin’s are the Crockett’s. Your article was so helpful and I am wondering what else you may found in your search. In the meantime I am going to reread your article. Are you related to the Chaffin’s in Wytheville?

    Thank you,


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