We like to produce monographs of our research. According to Merriam-Webster, a monograph is, “a learned treatise on a small area of learning.” In other words, take one family line, follow it, include photos, social, cultural, religious, geographic information about that particular family, and write up that research in a way that makes interesting reading.
It is not as hard as you might think, and it is a perfect way to share your research to date. Everyone knows genealogy research is never done. So publish now what you have!
As I ready my next monograph for publication, I came across a handout I received from Patricia Law Hatcher, CG, FASG in 2004 titled, Monographs: Reviving a Respected Publishing Format.
In a nutshell, she advises to keep the topic focused. Not easy when you have lots of branches on that family tree. But your monograph could be: “extended biographies, documentary transcriptions of diaries, limited pedigrees, family that turn out to not be attached to your family tree, and research-in-progress.”
There is a number of genealogical self-publishing printing companies sprouting up. If you decide to go this route, research these carefully. We like to print an original ourselves on 28 or 30 pound paper. We then take it to the local PostNet or Staples, and give them our 28 or 30 pound paper on which to run the copies. We usually run any pages with color photos ourselves since sometimes copy centers don’t have the best color cartridges installed. Another option is we remove the pages with the color photos and pay to have them run separately. But we always supply our own paper. After checking each set one page at a time, we then have the copy center bind them.
Check the pages: When I was producing Voices of our Past, the oral history project for the Ulysses Historical Society, I had Staples make the copies. I brought the six sets of 334 pages each home and proceeded to look at every page. On the third set, a quarter the way through, something had gotten onto the drum, and the bottom half of all the pages were blank. I had to go back over and have those copies rerun. Not a fun time.
The title: If you want researchers to find your family, don’t title it something like, The Branches on my Family Tree. A better title includes the family name and geographic place. One of my monographs has the title: The Tuckers of Enfield, New York. Include all major surnames on the title page.
The Devil is in the Details: Develop a table of contents and an index. When developing your index think like a researcher. If your family had a business, or you talked about a number of farms, index those. Geographic areas in your monograph should also be indexed.
How Many? Before going to print think about the number of copies you will need. How many family members will want a copy of your research? Is there an historical society or library that would want one or more copies? And there is the Family History Library, the Library of Congress and the DAR Library. Do check their submission guidelines. Some accept only unbound works.
Once the finished product is in your hands, you will have such a feeling of accomplishment. And it is rewarding to receive all those heartfelt thank you notes from the repositories to which you sent your finished product.
Would love to hear success stories!!