Rules For Writing A Genealogy Book

Build-up process:
  • Use FTM 2005-6 to start constructing the book.
  • Write the book in “Word”.   Could use Office Star for a free download of a Word program.
  • Can use any Photoshop program that can crop a photo.


  • Put all genealogy data into a genealogy program (i.e. FTM or Legacy etc.)
  • Combine all families in the one FTM Tree
  • Put any stories about an individual in the “Notes” file for that person.   Put them in chronological order.   
  • Put Husband and Wife stories under the marriage notes.
  • Write to relations and ask them to write stories about their life, their children etc.   Always write in the 3rd person
  • Make prompting notes on how to start paragraphs – hobbies, sports, eye colour and anything personal about a person
  • Ship arrival dates.
  • Birth, Marriage and Death certificates
  • Census data.
  • Scan all written material, photos etc. and put in a separate folder in “Documents”.    Can use a camera for this.   Put items in a 3-sided box, to avoid shadows.   (Erect camera on a tripod, or similar).

  • Create a surname folder (say, Kendall) then sub-folders for each individual.
  • Store photos in the hard-drive in your computer.
  • put the person you are descending from at the top of the Children list.   (Need to put back in correct order before printing trees).
  • Do not put title – Dr. Sir, Prof. etc. in the name area – this goes in the “aka” section.
  • Put nickname in round brackets in name space, e.g. Margaret (Myra)
  • Do not use “unknown” – better to use question mark - ?
  • There is a “gedcaps” program to convert surnames from caps to small case.   (Make your own choice on whether to have surnames written in capital or lower case.

  • Scan photos at 300 to 400 dpi in colour and crop the photos.
  • Download “easy thumbnails – Go to Fookes Software 2.8 :-
  • This program creates each photo at 800 x 800 pixels = 2 inches wide – put all thumb size photos on a separate memory stick or own file in the computer.
  • Images, data and stories should all be filed in a separate place.

  • In FTM decide if surnames are to be written in upper or lower case and then be consistent.
  • Use ? rather than “unknown”.
  • Use Times New Roman, 12pt.
  • Write interesting stories in Times New Roman, 10pt.
  • Put 1pt. black line around all images
  • Type title under image in Times New Roman, Italic, red, 9pt.
  • Type the name and year the person was born in the box under their image.
  • Use a lot of white space – balance photos that are colour and B & W – alternate all pages.
  • Type major titles in Times New Roman, bold, 16pt. (use Italic if wanted but be consistent).
  • Sub-titles – 14pt. bold.

Page Numbering:
  • Put page number in the centre at the bottom of the page.

  • Justify all text left and right.
  • Poems – centre on the page.
  • Type major headings of each family group in the centre.
  • Type major Chapter 18pt., bold, “Descendant of John Smith”.
  • Put Family Crest for each family at the beginning.
  • Place portrait of person heading the family at the top of first page.
  • Surname etymology – surname meaning.
  • Put chart of your direct line at the beginning of the book.  Sort children.
  • Put direct descendancy chart immediately after the Crest, then go into the story.   Include origins of town, history for that period, etc.   Use maps.
  • Look here for website links to surnames and meanings, Family Crests,

  • Use one font only per book.   Times New Roman is the best.

  • Use only 3 colours – Black to type text.
  • Red for images (Italics if liked).
  • Blue if writing a story not directly related to main story – could use Italics in blue.

Process of creating a Book:
  • Write the paternal line down, then paternal to female line down (but you can set your own rules here).

  • Include Genealogy report – click on how many generations you want – say 1, 2 or 3.
  • Click on Edit – copy genealogy report – go to Word, set 25% - add pages by holding down control and hitting enter several times.   
  • Start at page 4, click on top of page, Control V to paste.
  • Click Edit, Select all, justify left and right, percentage page width to bring up each page.
  • Centre Title.

  • Insert picture from file.   Go to folder already set up for thumbnails.
  • Put black line around each photo.
  • Wrap each photo “square”.
  • Resize image and position on page.
  • Bring up text box and type whatever in box – resize box and move under image – use red, Italics, 9pt. upper or lower case, centre inside box, tick “no line” around box, square.

Use Internet to Google images.   Click on basic version at bottom of page then drag the image down to an open Word document in bottom bar which opens the document and still holding the mouse down move up to the document and let go.
Or, you could click on large size image and copy and paste – or, use Save as and save to, say, desk top.

A method to bring in an image from the Internet:-
  • Open a Word document and minimize.
  • Bring image up in “Google Images” and click on “full size”.  To get a full size image, right key with mouse, Copy, Control C, go back to Word and press Control V to paste into Word.
  • Drag image down to the Word icon at bottom which opens the document and still holding the mouse down, drag up to document and let go.
  • Tap image with left key to put a text around the picture.
  • Tap with the right key and “format picture” comes up.   Square wrap – click on colours and lines, tick “no line” around text box.   Choose black 2pt. line around photo.
  • In FTM family view, direct line from, say, Joseph to you, click charts – descendant chart.
  • Click contents, individuals to include, change secondary individual, click on person, OK.
  • Format, chart format, make text the same size.   Edit, copy descendants tree, go to Word and paste it on page.

Put Trees across the page – never put them in the vertical view.

Break charts to fit on the one page

  • To fit history in its own space at the bottom of the page, click on Headers and Footers and push margin up at the bottom.
  • Bring image down of timeline from “Through the Generations”, “History of key events, “People through the ages” and “History through the ages”.

Special thanks to Beryl Parker for recording these notes and preparing them for publishing to this website.



Vertical Selection Of Text

Normally, we select a character, a word, a sentence or a paragraph. All these selections are horizontal selections. Sometimes you may need to select vertically. For example, if your text has numbers in the beginning, you may want to select only the numbers to delete them at one go. To select text horizontally, press ALT and click to drag and make a selection. Remember to release ALT key before releasing mouse else it will open the Research dialog.

Quickly Adding Borders to Paragraphs

If you wish to add borders to some paragraph, you can use the Borders and Shading dialog box. However, if your need is just to add bottom border to text/paragraph, you can do it by adding three special characters and hitting Enter.

  • Press – (hyphen) three times and press Enter to draw an underline border of 3/4 points
  • Press _ (underscore) three times and press Enter to draw an underline border of 1.5 points
  • Press ~ (tilde) three times and press Enter to draw a zigzag underline border
  • Press * (asterisk) three times and press Enter to draw a dotted underline border
  • Press = (equal to) three times and press Enter to draw a double underline border

Copy Only Formatting

Sometimes you may want to apply an already existing formatting from one part of your document to another part. You have the Format Painter for the purpose. Using the Format Painter can be irritating when dealing with long documents.  Here is another method that is easier to use.

  • Press CTRL+SHIFT+C instead of CTRL+C. This will copy only the formatting and leave the text.
  • Move to the destination where the formatting is to be applied. Select the text to which formatting is to be applied. Press CTRL+SHIFT+V to paste the formatting to the selection.

Editing Shortcuts

Shift + F5 (Returns to the last edit point)

Very useful when you have to copy some text from other parts of the document and you want to return to where you were in order to paste it.

Shift + F3 (Changes the case of any selected text)

This word shortcut is very useful when you want to toggles through the capitalisation options. If you have a few lines of text in all uppercase and you want it to be in lowercase then this shortcut should make your life heaps easier.

Ctrl + Enter (Inserts automatic page break)

It’s amazing how many people use manual page break (Press enter key repeatedly to bring some chapter/line to the next page)! Manual page break is a maintenance nightmare cause as soon as you enter a line in the document you will have to manually fix all the other pages again. Use page break and make your word editing life easier.

Ctrl + Shift + N (Applies the Normal style)

This removes the formatting of the selected text. Very handy when copying stuff from the web which has different formatting applied to the text than your document. This shortcut will remove all those formatting and make it consistent with the formatting of your document.

F4 (Repeats your most recent command)

Word remembers the last action you performed and pressing this shortcut will repeat that action. This is very handy when you have to apply some action repeatedly.

Ctrl + F6 (Cycles through all open Word documents)

When you have multiple word documents open (pretty much all the time in my case) this shortcut allows you to cycle through them. Use ‘Ctrl + Shift + F6′ to cycle back.

Double click and Triple Click (Select word or paragraph)

Double-click on a word to select it, triple-click to select the paragraph. Ctrl+Click to select a sentence.

The F8 key

Another great selection tip is incremental use of the F8 key. Move to the beginning of the text you wish to highlight and press F8. This will enter Extended Selection Mode. Press it again and you’ll notice the first word is highlighted. Press it again and you’ll find the whole first sentence is selected. You can highlight the whole first paragraph with another push and then the entire document after that. Just remember to press ESC when you’ve finished editing to exit the Extended Selection Mode.

Fitting more text on a single page

In addition to the file backups you create yourself, Word keeps backups of the files you've opened recently by default. Still, there may be times when you want to print an archival copy of a lengthy Word document. Save paper by reformatting the document to fit more text per page.

Start by pressing Ctrl-A to select the entire file, and then in Word 2003, click Format>Font. In Word 2007, click the small arrow in the bottom-right corner of the Font section under the Home tab. Choose a smaller font size, though keep in mind that anything smaller than 6 points will be difficult to read without a magnifying glass.

Next, make the margins smaller by clicking File>Page Setup in Word 2003, or Page Layout>Margins>Custom Margins in Word 2007. Change the Top, Bottom, Left, and Right settings in Word 2007 to .16", and in Word 2003, set Outside to 0.07", Inside to 0.5", Left to 0.25", and Right to 0.25". These are the smallest you can have while fitting all text on the printout.

Numbering Lines in a Word Document

If you have ever needed to proof-read an important Word document you would probably find the task to be much easier if each printed copy included line numbers. By following the steps below you can get numbered lines.

  • Open the target Word document.
  • On the File menu, go to Page Setup.
  • Click on the Layout tab.
  • In the bottom section, tell Word where to apply the line numbers (whole document, this point forward or if you selected some text before you began, selected section) and click the Line Numbers button.
  • If you start with selected text and choose to number just that portion, Word will automatically put a page break both before and after the selected text. If you choose to number lines from this point forward, Word will then insert a page break before the numbers begin.
  • When the Line Numbers window opens, you need to check the "Add line numbering" option. This choice will activate the rest of the window. Here you can make decisions regarding how to number (every line, every two lines, every five lines, etc.), what number to start with and how far to place numbers from the text. Don't forget to make a choice at the bottom regarding continuous numbering throughout the document or restarting (at page or section break).
  • When you've made all your choices, click OK.
  • Click OK again to exit the Page Set-up window. (The page displayed on the monitor will not show the numbered lines. When a hard copy is made of the document, however, the numbered lines will appear.)
  • Go to File and then select Print Preview. You will note that each line is numbered for easy reference.
  • Warning: If you wish to print the document without the numbered lines, you should reverse the process to turn off line numbering.

Move table rows up or down

This tip is probably most useful when you're working in a table, although you can use it to reorder paragraphs outside a table, too. Let's say you decide you want the third row of a table to be the top row. Just click within the third row, hold down [Alt][Shift] and press the up arrow key twice. Each time you press the arrow key, Word will move the row up one. You can select multiple rows to move them as a block, and you can use the down arrow key if you want to move text down instead of up.

Using this shortcut gets a little tricky if you're moving big pieces of text outside a table. It's easy to lose track of what's being relocated where, and you might find it easier to take a standard cut-and-paste approach in those situations. But when the text is small and manageable, the shortcut is fairly handy. For example, if you need to move an item up or down within a bulleted or numbered list, you can just click in the item's paragraph and use the [Alt][Shift] and arrow key combo to move the item to the desired spot.

Duplicating selected text or objects using the mouse

Click on the item you want to copy (it can be a selection of text or an object in a document) and hold down [Ctrl] so that the mouse pointer turns into a plus sign. Then drag the item - it will become a copy of the item to the spot where you want it to go.


A Word macro is a series of commands that is recorded so it can be played back, or executed, later.  There are over 950 commands in Word, most of which are on menus and toolbars and have shortcut keys assigned to them. Some of these commands, however, are not assigned to menus or toolbars by default. 

The most important step in creating effective Word macros is careful planning. While it might seem a bit obvious, you should have a clear idea of what you want the Word macro to perform, how it will make your future work easier, and the circumstances under which you intend to use it. Otherwise, you may end up spending time creating an ineffective macro that you won’t use.

Once you have these things in mind, it is time to plan the actual steps. This is important because the recorder will literally remember everything you do and include it in the macro – if you type something and then delete it, every time you run the macro Word will make the same entry and then delete it. You can see how this will make for a cumbersome, inefficient macro. When you are planning, here are some things to help you along:

  • Plan the commands and order in which you want the macro to perform them.
  • Know the shortcut keys for the commands you plan to use. This is particularly important for navigation: You will not be able to use the mouse for navigation within the document area when you are running the recorder. Further, you will create a leaner macro if you use a shortcut key rather than the arrow keys, as each keystroke will be included.
  • Plan for messages that Word might display and that will stop the macro.
  • Use as few steps as possible to keep the macro lean.
  • Do at least one test run before you start recording.

After you’ve planned your Word macro and done a run through, you are ready to record it.

The first step is to open the Record Macro dialog box by selecting Record New Macro… from the Tools menu. The Record Macro dialog box will appear.

In the box beneath the Macro name: box, type a unique name. Names can contain up to 80 letters or numbers (no symbols or spaces) and must begin with a letter. It is advisable to enter a description of the actions the macro performs in the Description dialog box, but the name you assign the macro should be unique enough that you remember what it does without having to refer to the description.

Once you have named your macro and entered a description, you should select whether you want the macro to be available in all documents or only in the current document. By default, Word makes the macro available to all your documents, and you will probably find that this makes the most sense. Should you choose to limit the availability of the command, however, simply highlight the document name in the drop down box below the Store Macro option.

When you have entered the information for the macro, click OK. The Record Macro Toolbar will appear in the upper left corner of the screen.

The mouse pointer will now have a small icon that looks like a cassette tape beside it, indicating that Word is recording your actions. You can now follow the steps you laid out in the planning stage; once you are done, press the Stop button (it is the blue square on the left). If, for any reason, you need to pause the recording, simply press the Pause Recording/Resume Recorder button (it is the one on the right). To resume recording, press it again.

Once you press the Stop button, your Word macro is ready to use. To run it, use the Alt + F8 shortcut key to bring up the Macros dialog box; highlight your macro in the list and then click Run. If you don’t see your macro, make sure the correct location is in the box beside the Macros option.

The purpose behind creating macros in Word is to speed up your work by putting repetitive tasks and complex sequences of commands at your fingertips. What could take literally hours to do manually only takes a few seconds with the click of a button. 

Of course, if you’ve created a lot of macros, searching through the Macros dialog box will eat up a lot of the time you save. If you assign your macros a shortcut key, however, you can bypass the dialog box and access your macro directly from the keyboard – the same way you can use shortcut keys to access other commands in Word.

  • From the Tools menu, select Customise … In the Customise dialog box, click Keyboard
  • The Customise Keyboard dialog box will open
  • In the scroll box beneath the Categories label, select Macros
  • In the Macros scroll box, find the name of the macro to which you would like to assign the shortcut key
  •  If the macro currently has a keystroke assigned to it, the keystroke will appear in the box below the Current keys label
  • If no shortcut key has been assigned to the macro or if you would like to create a second shortcut key for your macro, click in the box below the label Press new shortcut key.
  • Enter the keystroke you would like to use to access your macro. (If the shortcut key is already assigned to a command, a message will appear beneath the Current keys: box that says Currently assigned to: followed by the name of the command. You can reassign the keystroke by continuing, or you can select a new keystroke)
  • In the drop down box beside the label Save changes in: select Normal to apply the change to all documents created in Word. To use the shortcut key only in the current document, select the document name from the list
  • Click Assign
  • Click Close
  • Click Close on the Customise dialog box