So you’ve researched your family history and want to share the fruits of your labour with family and friends, or perhaps even the world. Here we suggest how you could go about doing so. See also: Genealogy software explained: what to look for
Print a book of your family tree
Some methods are generic in the sense that you could use them for disseminating any information but it would be remiss of us not to mention them, nevertheless. Others, though, are aimed squarely are family history enthusiasts.
The simplest method is just to save your family history as a GEDCOM file (the standard for genealogical information). You can then upload it to specialist sites for sharing genealogical data or email it to your family and friends. See also: Using Media to Illustrate your Family History
However, unless you choose a site that will also draw your data as a family tree (see below) this will only appeal to other family history enthusiasts who will have the necessary software to interpret the data and draw a family tree.
Unless you’re a hardcore genealogy enthusiast, though, you’ll probably want to make your family history more accessible to people (typically your immediate family) who just want to see the information without any hassle.
Some of the online family history service providers offer a means of sharing your family tree on their site and this is often a free service.
If you want more control about how you present the information and would like to provide much more than just a family tree, you could consider using Facebook for disseminating your family history and this is also a good way of searching out more information about your family.
Better still, use a dedicated website or at least a few pages on your personal website. Some of the genealogy software packages can generate web pages on your family history but for most flexibility you’d need to design your own web pages.
Using a website you could host the family tree plus as much as you want in the way of additional text, photograph, movie clips and audio recordings. Even if you’re not experienced in building websites, some genealogy software (Family Historian for one) can automatically build websites from the information you’ve collected.
Publish your family tree: printing options
If you like the idea of publishing your family history in the traditional way on paper there’s no shortage of resources. My History, for example, can print your family tree, using the output from any genealogy software, from 17 to 42 inches wide and up to 150 feet long. In addition, it can provide small print-run printing services for a book of your family history. Some of the general online genealogical services sites also offer publishing facilities.
Along the same vein, there are companies which will print full-colour horizontal wall charts, framed charts and more.
Alternatively, if you can output your requirements as a PDF file, you needn’t use a specialist family history company and you’ll find plenty of online companies offering large-format printing and small print-runs of books. For designing the book in the first place, while you could certainly use standard software such as Word, some of the more advanced genealogy packages such as Family Historian can simplify this process.
This article is part of a larger feature on family history. Go to the introduction to tracing your ancestors.