18 October 2010

More about Illustrating Your Story

I like to have something to draw the eye or "break up" the page on every 2 page spread. Sometimes it is just indented quotes or dated diary entries. If I have nothing else, I have used text boxes with catch phrases from the text inside. This worked particularly well for my father-in-law's history. His text was taken from interviews and he is a master of the one-liner. The text boxes in his history serve as a quick summary of his story as a person leafs through the book as well as the means to draw a reader who is just taking a quick look into a story.

Using double columns is also easier on the eyes when the text is not broken into by illustration. What are some other illustration ideas? Here are a few:
  • Photographs, engravings and maps in city and county histories.
  • Histories of churches or schools attended--old yearbooks.
  • If you find something in a book, you can look to see where the author obtained it and then contact the owner for permission. Their copy will be better than a published copy and they may have other photos in their collection that would be good.
  • City directories with maps where you could pinpoint their address.
  • Advertisements of family businesses in the directory. 
  • Public buildings or residences still standing from the time. Check obituary for an address.
  • Local genealogical and historical societies for historical photographs may show the same area or activity that you have written about.
  • Take pictures in a museum.
  • Nearby universities and colleges often have collections of photographs.
  • Internet query for what you want--sometimes someone will take a photo of a certain location for you.
  • Check local public libraries and newspapers. Old newspaper articles are excellent illustrations and add spice to the history. Librarians are often very helpful and will check for obituaries and copy them for a small fee. 
  • Look for typical home, school or farm photos of the day--in magazines, newspapers, catalogues, etc. (Many ideas adapted from Loretta Evans, AG, in 2010 BYU Family History Conference)
My great-grandfather's home as it looks today

Pressed pansies found in a letter from Great-grandma to Great-grandpa (from 1900)
What have you found to illustrate your stories?

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