Monday, September 18, 2006

GEDCOM & Book Printing

From: Bernard Frink
We at our Mother County Genealogy Society in Bladen County, N. C. make up books of different families. We export the book from Family Tree Maker, version 11 and put it on a CD and then print the book. Some of the books have about 600 pages and I am having trouble with the Index and Genealogy Report matching. When we make up the genealogy report and compare it with the index separately they match.

When we preview the book it skips about 15 pages between the report and the index.

My friend exported and reimported the whole file back in GEDCOM format, as that was supposed to cure all evils. I have a Dell computer, E310, almost new and version 11 Family Tree Maker. I try to create the book in GEDCOM form but so far have flunked. The only choice on Export Book on my computer has only PDF which goes into Version 6 of Acrobat Reader.

I am 80 years old and not as sharp as some of the younger generation on computers. I have tried to send an Email to [the website for Family Tree Maker] but so far have not received any reply and am not sure my e-mails went through. If you have any suggestions I would appreciate them or if not, could you suggest how I might get some help.

First, CONGRATS on working so hard to get these genealogies published. SECONDLY, the problem with Family Tree Maker support has been around since before Ancestry purchased the program & website, so it isn't you, hon.

Creating .pdf documents in multiples of (usually) 4 pages allows for a POD (print on demand) service to do the printing for you. They don't think in terms of 8.5" by 11" but print on larger pages and trim to fit as required. This means that sometimes there will be a few extra pages at the end to make the pages fit.

Printing to .PDF file format is also a logical choice, because of the need to generate an accurate (read that as "not editable" by our human hands?) table of contents and index.

Although other programs like RootsMagic allow you to save to an .rtf or text file, I do not recommend it. You'd lose pictures and formatting like BOLD or italics. It would be interesting to take the file and try it with Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic, The Master Genealogist or some other genealogy management software to find out it their transfer to .pdf includes so many blank pages.

Rex Clements makes a program called GenBook which can take your GEDCOM file and produce a file to work with WordPerfect or Word. From his website we read "GEN-BOOK can extract the information and format it into a WordPerfect [or Word] file. Your family history information is put into readable book format along with a Title Page, Table of Contents, Chapter Headings, event notes, sources, and a two- or three-column Index of Names. You can generate a book of the descendants or ancestors of any person in your database. This program allows beginners to prepare a completely indexed and organized book from their genealogy data by only answering a few personal choice questions such as the starting person and the number of generations to be included. For the advanced users, the capabilities of WordPerfect or MS Word offers unlimited manipulation and design of text to create the masterpiece you have always wanted to create." See:

Ol' Myrt here thinks it would be just fine to live with the 15 blank pages to allow space for people to make notations about additional generations as readers pour through the book in the future. That is really only 7 pieces of paper and probably not worth all the fuss.

As it is, I believe that folks will want to use the .pdf file on their computers since the file is "every word" searchable. Such digital versions of books is becoming the norm.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
227 Bellevue Way NE PMB 544
Bellevue, WA 98004

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