Need a Bit of Inspiration?

Julie Wakeling

In this article, I wanted to give budding memoir, local history or family history writers a little bit of inspiration by showing what the finished product can look like.  It might give you a few ideas for a project you’ve already started, or give you a bit of a push to get going if you haven’t!

The Wakeling Family Tree

Now this is a lovely document that my mother in law put together for my late husband many years ago.  I’ve added a few details to the tree over the years – after we got married, and when our two children were born.

There isn’t room for lots of detail on a family tree like this, but it’s a great snapshot, and a beautiful thing in itself

These pre-printed templates are very attractive, and you can still get them if you want a hand-written tree like this one. But the disadvantage is that you don’t necessarily end up with the right number of books, scrolls or whatever the design is for the number of people in your family.

A good alternative is to design your own family tree on a computer, and print it out (or have it printed professionally, just like a digital photograph).

You might want to try an online service like Canva, which is free and has lots of templates to help you design your family tree.  This is an example of one of their templates.

The built-in Canva templates are generally quite small, but you can buy big multi-generational templates like this one from Etsy – most of them are about £5 each.

Biography of a Sapper (by John Newton)

This book was written by one of my husband’s relatives, telling the story of his years in the Royal Engineers. He entered the Army Technical Training college as a boy in 1939 (and very smart he looked in his uniform, too).

A lovely little hand-bound book by a member of the family.

The book follows him through training and out into the field – during the war, and after. He served until the end of 1949, and he had some fascinating stories to tell. There are some wonderful old photos in here, too.

The Windle Family Tree

Another family tree example, this one is a real labour of love. I’m not sure the photos can do it justice, but this huge, hand-drawn family tree covers three full branches of Claire’s family going all the way back to 1636!

As I say, I’m not sure the photos really do this justice!

A Professionally Printed Book

If you want to go the whole hog and get your book professionally printed, there are two different routes you can go down.

If you’re confident that you can lay out your book the way you want it to look and get a finished thing ready to print, you can just get in touch with a local (or online) printer.

But if you want a bit more help, there are “self-publishing” services out there that can turn a simple Word document into a finished book and get it printed for you.  It’s a more expensive way to get your book printed, but the results can be really impressive.  Here are a few examples of books that my friend Russell has produced through his company, Pixel Tweaks.

I hope those examples have got you suitably fired up and ready to get stuck into your own project!

Everyone has a story to tell, and telling yours might be easier than you think!

Click here to find out all about our book Don’t Lose Your Story… including why we’ve decided to give away some of the secrets of our trade…

We’ll take your hand and guide you through the process. Everything from coming up with the ideas and planning your project, to sharing the finished article with your friends and family.

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