Friday, February 6, 2015

Distribution - Getting the Data Out

So in an ideal world you have your computer filled with thousands of ancestors.  You are known as the family genealogist and everyone has returned the family group sheet you sent them.  If all of the data is sitting on your computer in your den how does anyone know it is there?  This is the perpetual problem of genealogy distribution.  How do we get our data in the hands of the relatives that the data is about.  There are pro and cons to all of this which cause us to keep waiting, but if we wait forever no one will ever see our efforts.

Incompleteness factor
When dealing with genealogy there is always an incompleteness factor.  The oldest ancestor we have on our chart had two parents and the youngest descendants are starting a new generation so we live in this perpetual state of not wanting to put out an incomplete product.  On solution to this is to put out a dated document such as "The Clark Family 1843-2014".  The other solution is to have a published date on the pages so the family knows that baby Emily is missing because she wasn't born yet.

Curious but not interest
Most family members will treat your book as encyclopedia.  In that they will keep it on a shelf and reference it when they have a question but not look at it regularly.  An example, "Suzie's baby is due on March 29th, wasn't that Aunt Betty's birthday?  Let's look it up." So they appreciate your research but it really doesn't effect them daily.  It is something "nice" to pass down for them.

Getting the data out in book form
One option is to print out a "book" so that people can have it on their shelf.  The best solution would be to print it once from your software and then get copy made at the office store.  If you want to get fancy and expensive you could publish a book.  Self publishing is becoming cheaper with options like Create Space by Amazon to publish books on demand.

Use the web
Creating a family genealogy website to to have all information on the web is an interesting concept.  There are two avenues to go down if you want a genealogy of the past or a family gather space of the present.  There are factors such as information, privacy concerns or access controls.  We will cover a family webpage in detail in a future post.   A website allows for easy update and distribution. 

Data on a computer in your house no matter how complete is no good unless you can get it to the people it is about.  Finding ways to creatively get out the data can be quite challenging.  In coming posts we will explore family websites as well as family calendars that list key events in the family history.  Distribution will always be a necessary and your data will always be "in progress", so get it out in the way that works best for you and your family.