Update on Apex

Apex in a little red wagon

Yesterday we got a fun email from Sue and Apex. It was these two photos of Apex. It makes my day anytime we get good news or photos about our pups. This week has been National Volunteer Week so I think of these photos as a way to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism.

Apex in his sunglasses

How To: Martin’s Cove Journal

After getting an idea of what I wanted to do with the Martin’s Cove Journal, I was ready to get started. One of the things that I have found that it works best when using InDesign on a project like this is to start with a master page. Since this is a simple book I only did one master page (2 page spread) but on more complex projects there will be more master pages. Since I knew that I wanted a side bar on the left for a time line I first put a guide at 2 inches. Next I put a second guide at 2.25 inches to help me with spacing for the second text box on this page. On the right hand page of the master I made a series of lines as journaling guides. These line are just .25 points think and to make them even more subtle the stroke is a tint of 30% black.

left-hand page - Martin's Cove Journal

From here I applied the master page to most of the pages of the journal. Next I decided to pick the fonts for the project. I wanted a font that would help to create the mood of old pioneer and 1856 so I did a google search and found Fontscape’s typeface directory. They have fonts by period, so I looked at Victorian (1850 to 1890) but they didn’t seem right. Then I looked at Wild West (1850-1900). I decided on Birch which I liked plus I had on my computer too. I used Birch to do the time line but felt that the text of excerpt from Mary Taylor’s history would be better in something more like handwriting. We don’t have any journals from Mary Taylor but I wanted these entries to give that more intimate impression. After searching though my script fonts I settled on Rage Italic.

right-hand page - Martin's Cove Journal

When I got text placed into the time line and the excerpt I thought that the left page needed something to separate these two text boxes. So I went back to the master pages and added a line and adjusted the guides to accommodate the change. At this point I also added lines across the top of both pages and one across the bottom of the right hand page. While I was on the master pages I put in page numbers. At this point the journal is really started to take shape but it seems too sterile.

black swirl


I wanted it to have more of an old-fashioned feel so I went to the internet to find some clip art to enhance the pages. First I found a swirl at clker.com then a splotch at openclipart.com. I created another layer on the master page for these images. It took awhile playing around with placement and transparency to get the look I wanted. For the cover I placed the only photo I have of Mary Taylor and adjusted the swirls and the splotches to make the cover work.

The Handcart Song - Martin's Cove Journal

Another thing I wanted was a spot to put some information about what was happening in the rest of the world. So I adjusted the right hand page and added a text box on the bottom of the right page with room for a couple of events with dates. After I let the project sit for a day or two I decided to add the lyrics to “The Handcart Song” on the back. This was a favorite song of my great-great grandmother. Besides singing it as she traveled to Utah in 1856, she sang it her whole life.

pedigree chart - Martin's Cove Journal

The last thing I wanted in the journal was a pedigree chart. I made one using the pen tool to make straight lines. There is probably an easier way but I made a vertical line and a horizontal line and made copies of them to build the chart. After I got everything arranged I zoomed in to make sure the intersections of the lines was precise. Then I made text boxes for all the names. Note that I put these on another layer so that I wouldn’t accidentally mess up the pedigree chart while playing with the names. I also used Rage Italic to put relationship labels on the pedigree chart. I used the 30% black tint to make sure these didn’t compete with the names.

I showed my mom a proof copy yesterday and she is very excited. She said it would be worth going to Martin’s Cove just to get the journal. She is 89 years old so going to Martin’s Cove isn’t easy. My parents have decided to stay in a hotel. They don’t feel up to camping.

I haven’t figured out how to put the template here to download so if you would like an InDesign template for this project send an email to raelyn@tellingfamilytales.com. Did you find this post helpful? I’ve never tried to explain how I put together a book before and I’m not sure if what I wrote is the kind of information that is meaningful, so I’d love some feedback.

Do Your Own Generations Project

Last week I talked about the BYUtv series called The Generations Project. Now I want to go into a little more depth in how to “Do your own Generations Project”. If you haven’t seen this episode yet, take time to watch it. It is worth your time.

Step One – Finding Your Why:

Think about what your biggest challenge is and what you would like to change in your life. Be willing to let this be a process. Your “why” might change as you journey through your generations project. Here are the questions that The Generations Projects asks those who want to appear on The Generations Project

  • What do you spend a lot of time thinking about?
  • What do you hope will happen to you in the next year or two?
  • Tell us a story about a life changing experience.
  • What is the biggest challenge you’re facing in your life now?

Step Two – Populate Your Tree:

Start close to home by checking with family members first to find information for your pedigree chart. The go to vital records to fill in the holes. This is the part where genealogist are experts. Think of it as a treasure hunt to find your ancestors.

Step Three – Mix It With History:

In this step you find the stories about your family member and then find out about the social history of the time. By doing this you really flesh out who that person was, they become real. One of the fun ways to mix it with history is to find a reenactment place. One that we went to several years ago was Plimoth Plantation. It is a working pilgrim village. For my generations project we are going to Martin’s Cove in Wyoming and doing a short handcart experience.

Step Four – Walk In Their Shoes:

Now you find a way to connect with your ancestor by doing something they did. It could be as extravagant as going to another country where they lived or as simple as eating the kinds of food that they ate. This step is about connecting with your family member.

Step Five – Share It & Watch It Ripple:

Last of all you want to share your experience with others. This often starts with writing down what happened to you on your generations project. Then it could be just sitting down and telling your family about what you learned and how you felt. It could be making a book, or painting a picture or writing a song. This is a very personal step and there is no wrong way to share your experience. After you share, you get to see how sharing your experience changes other people’s lives too.

My main purpose in doing this blog is to gather ways to share things like generations projects. I’m just getting started on this new focus for my blog so I’m still working through how to make this happen. If you have ways that you have shared a generations project I’d love to hear about it.

Martin’s Cove Journal – Finishing up

I’m really excited about how this came together. I was hoping it wouldn’t take too much time and I really tried to keep it simple. But at the same time I wanted it to have some personality, to help draw people into the experience at Martin’s Cove. When I did this cover with the only photo I’ve ever seen of Mary Taylor, I noticed how much she reminds me of my Grandmother. I don’t know why I haven’t seen the resemblance before.

credit page & find your why page - Martin's Cove Journal

This first spread is a place to give credit where I got my information and to give space for family members to journal about why they came to Martin’s Cove and what they hope to learn from the experience. My hope here is to help each person take the this opportunity to do their own generation project.

Our Family Tree - Martin's Cove Journal

This next spread is for the second step of a generations project – populate your tree. I filled in the basics of the information that is common for everyone who is coming to the reunion. They will each have to fill in the left side of the tree depending on who they are. This was a little tricky to figure out how to lay it out. I hope that it is clear on how each family member connects back to Mary Taylor.

content pages - Martin's Cove Journal

The rest of the pages up to the last page look like the page above. On the left had side there is a simple timeline of events along with excerpt from “Some Must Push and Some Must Pull; Mary Taylor, handcart Pioneer And Her Descendants”  by a distant cousin Kenneth L. Rasmussen. The right hand page of each spread is for journaling. At the bottom of the journaling pages is a date from history. The purpose of these pages are to help each person to “mix it with history” and “walk in their shoes” as suggested by The Generations Project.

The Handcart Song - Martin's Cove Journal

The last page of the book is the words to a favorite song of my great-great-grandmother, “The Handcart Song”. She sang this song not just while she was crossing the plans but all her life. I want to learn all the verses and help my family to learn it too.

I’ll do another post later in the week on the “how to” of putting this journal together and if I figure out how, I’ll have an InDesign template that you can download and adapt to your needs.

My Current Projects: goals and progress

So it is Monday, the day to report my progress last week and my goals for the coming week.

In the Navy – Key West Chapter: project about my dad’s 20 years in the U.S. Navy. The priority is the chapter on Key West so he can pass it on to the Under Water Swimmer School website to include in their history page.

Due Date: asap

  • Listen to audio tape & transcribe
  • Gather photos and documents

I still didn’t get anything done on this last week, but I did think about getting to it, if that counts for anything.

Journal for Martin’s Cove Reunion: a half sheet size journal to help make the trek experience at Martin’s Cove more meaningful. Have time line of handcart company with info about Mary Taylor and her family along with space for journaling and possible adding photos or sketches.

Due Date: July 2012

  • Template and master pages – done
  • Time Line – done
  • Quotes from Journals etc. – done
  • Decide on Binding – in process
  • Logo for Reunion

I made great progress on this last week. It needs checking over for mistakes and I’m still contemplating the binding. I’m really happy with how it came together. I’ll post on the details tomorrow. I haven’t done a logo for the Reunion and now I’m not sure if it is necessary. Maybe I’ll put that to the back burner and revisit it in a month or two.

Mary: a small (7×7) book about Mary Taylor’s childhood and her journey to the Salt Lake Valley with the Martin Handcart Company for children under 12 to learn about their pioneer ancestor.

Due Date: flexible – would love to have at least a draft for July Reunion

  • Decide on number of pages – done
  • Flesh out outline – done

I’m really happy with what I got done on this too. After doing the timeline for the Martin’s Cove Journal I had a clearer idea of what should happen in this book. I took the outline that Eric did and consolidated a few things to one illustration and added a few thing. I sent a list to Kim of the illustrations we need and the basics of what the text will cover for each illustration. It a 40 page book, which is a very cost-effective number for Blurb where we plan to have it printed.

Goals for this week:

So this week I’m going to dig into the Key West project and give it my focus.

  1. Start transcribing “Key West”
  2. Give “Martin’s Cove Journal” to my mom to proof read
  3. Explore more binding options for “Martin’s Cove Journal”
  4. Check with Kim on “Mary”

I really liked having this post to check back on during the week to help me be more focused in what I’m doing. I have a tendency to get sidetracked on projects other than what I should work on. How do you keep yourself focused on a particular task? Or do you just go with the flow? What works for you?

50 for 50 #16 – Granite Mountain Records Vault

me with my two older sisters at Granite Mountain Records Vault

One summer, when I was growing up in Ogden, Utah, we drove up Little Cottonwood Canyon and visited the Archives there. I wanted to do that again to celebrate my 50th year but for security reasons they no longer have tours. So I had to settle for a virtual tour through a couple of videos I found on-line.

Granite Mountain Records Vault, Part 1 – FamilySearch Genealogy Records

Granite Mountain Records Vault, Part 2 – FamilySearch Genealogy Records

I don’t remember much from my visit as a child, just vague images of a cool place deep inside the mountain and the photos we took. Can you believe that I wore such short dresses back then. Or even that I chose to wear a dress when I didn’t have to.

We took a drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon to see if we could get a photo of the entrance similar to the one above from my childhood but it wasn’t possible. The road to the parking lot was blocked by a security gate and the entrance is part way up the side of the canyon so you can only see a bit of one of the tunnels from the road. I wasn’t surprised but I hoped for a better outcome.

me with my family looking up Little Cottonwood Canyon

Have you ever been to the archives? My husband grew up in the Salt Lake Valley and he has never been to the vault.

Clifford and Yakira

Yakira and Clifford

On Sunday, before Pierre’s family picked him up we had another lab join us for a few days. Clifford was here with us until Wednesday night. Then my parents picked him up and took him back to my sister’s house. They got home from Disneyland late Thursday night. Yakira had so much fun and Clifford was even easier than Pierre, mostly because he is older and has a more laid back temperament. I didn’t have to spend as much time preventing too much playtime between Clifford and Yakira.

On Monday we took Clifford with us to puppy class because we were going outside. Plus Clifford’s raiser, Karen was there, so she got to hang out with Clifford for a little while.

On Tuesday I took both pups for a walk. I don’t usually take two dogs at a time but these two did great together. The only challenge was that Clifford’s pace was slower than Yakira’s. So several times I ended up with Yakira out in front with her retractable fully extended while Clifford,s taking his time smelling, was behind me with his retractable at its max. After the walk they shared a bowl of ice cubes to cool them off. The weather had been perfect for several days.

Wednesday Clifford had to stay home while Yakira and I went to the local elementary to read with some kids. Then my parents came and my Mom, Yakira and I went to the last NAMI “Family to Family” class. My Dad said that Clifford didn’t seem to know what to do with himself while we were gone. Yakira was tired so she didn’t mind Clifford being gone on Wednesday night.

Thursday morning was quiet but we took a walk before lunch. By 3:00 p.m. Yakira got restless. She had almost two weeks with a playmate and I just didn’t cut it. She drove me a little crazy but we made it through the day and I took her with me to Round Table for Cub Scouting last night.

Today she is off at work with Bill and the house is extra quiet as it always is when Yakira isn’t around. It has been a good week and Yakira will be 8 months old on Monday! We don’t have any big plans for tomorrow so it will be a quiet weekend getting things done around the house. We probably better get out and do some errands so Yakira doesn’t get to bored.

Do you prefer to have one dog in your household or do you like it better when there are more?

Martin’s Cove Journal – getting started

One of the things I’m working to improve in my projects is my workflow. So I’m experimenting on new ways to approach the process. To start with I am going to try to follow Nancy Barnes’ method of

  1. imagine
  2. plan
  3. create
  4. edit
  5. design
  6. publish

and see how that works for me. In the past I have jumped to the design stage too fast and it ends up taking more time than necessary. Part of the journey of this blog is for me to learn and improve as I share what I find with others. So I took some time this week to imagine what I want the end product.

  • compact
  • rustic
  • durable
  • timeline of events
  • excerpts from journals & stories
  • space to journal, draw, add photos
  • historical info
  • pedigree chart

I’ve decided to make it simple to self publish with my printer and a copier, I’ll make it 8.5″ x 5.5″ (half sheet of letter size paper). Don’t know how I’m going to bind it yet. If I can’t figure anything else out I’ll use wire binding because I can do that myself. I think I’ll have a bit of rustic/grunge on the pages that will help add an old feel to the journal.

I started working on the timeline of events and journal excerpts from sources on the internet and a book recently published by a distant cousin, Kenneth L. Rasmussen “Some Must Push and Some Must Pull: Mary Taylor, handcart pioneer And Her Descendants.” I found a great timeline for the Willie company but I found out that much of the documentation for the Martin handcart company was lost. There is some conflicting information that I’m going to have to decide how to resolve. Plus I need to decide how much is enough. I don’t want a big long comprehensive journal, just enough to give my family some background and a sense of what happened to Mary.

The general plan of the layout of the journal is to have the timeline in a side bar down the left side, with excerpts from journals on the rest of the left hand page. Then I’ll keep the right hand page on each spread open for thoughts, sketches etc.

What kind of approach do you use when you start a new project and as you progress through? I’d love to hear and learn from your experiences.



The Generations Project

Earlier this year I discovered “The Generations Project” on BYUtv. We don’t watch broadcast TV but I found it one day when I went the BYUtv website. They have all three seasons episodes available and I’ve now seen all of them. I love the concept of exploring your family history with a purpose in mind and the impact that makes on people’s lives. They even have an episode called “Do Your Own Generations Project” that helps in figuring out how to take the principles they use on the show and apply it to your own genealogy. I’ve decided to do my own generations project this summer and I’ll post about it along the way. Actually I think I’ll start tomorrow with a journal I’m working on as part of this generations project.

In each show they start with helping the person to find out why they want to learn about their ancestors, then they fill out their family tree, learn about the history of that time period and finally walk in that ancestors shoes. The last step is to share what you have learned with others and watch how it affects their lives. Most of the shows are about 30 minutes long so if you haven’t seen it, hop on over to BYUtv.

I’m sold on the concepts they teach in the show and dedicated to helping other share what they know about their families. What do you think about “The Generations Project”?

How to: Workflow for Publishing with Adobe Creative Suite

I attended RootsTech this past February at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. There were lots of wonderful classes but I think my favorite was by Nancy Barnes “Use Adobe Creative Suite to Self Publish Your Family History Book”. I use InDesign, a page layout program that is part of Adobe Creative Suite all the time, so I wasn’t sure if I would learn anything in this class. But Nancy had lots of good information about developing an efficient workflow when putting together a book for publishing. I’ve learned some of her suggestions already and recognize the value of others from my own struggles. Nancy’s book “Stories To Tell: An easy guide to self publishing family history books & memoirs”, looks like it goes it to lots of details on how to get the book written and I’ll have to take time to read it. Here are some of the high lights of what I learned from her class.

  • Clean-up the manuscript (in MS Word or other word processor)
  • Mark places for images (with special characters such as ########)
  • Choose and scan images
  • Prepare images (in Adobe Photoshop)
  • Set up book in InDesign (get exact specs from your printer)
  • Layout master pages
  • Import text from word processor
  • Create and apply consistent styles
  • Place images (using Adobe Bridge)
  • Cover design (she uses Adobe Illustrator, I’ve always used InDesign)
  • Final proof before sending to printer

Nancy taught us some tricks on how to use Adobe Bridge and meta files to put in captions. I haven’t tried this yet but it sounds slick. I’ll tell you about it and other more detail instructions on the step in other posts. Check out Nancy’s website www.StoriesToTellBooks.com. They offer lots of services from editing to book printing along with great information on putting together a family history.

Do you have a workflow plan that works for you? What software have you used?