Review of Family Book Creator, Plugin for Family Tree Maker

I have put together many family history books for various clients. It has always been a tedious task done with Microsoft Word. I created chapters for the various lines of ancestors, annotating them with their family group, residences, occupations, census data and various photos or maps. When I was told about Book Creator for Family Tree Maker, I was intrigued but a bit put off by the price – $59.95. This Christmas though, I decided it give it a go and create a book for my sister.

I used my William J. Smith line; he is my Irish grandfather. My first attempt I just entered that starting person and hit create. The resulting book was very nice. It had a great title page, table of contents, and fascinating introduction which gave some overall facts about this line. However, it was an onerous 138 pages, a bit much for my sister. The length was primarily due to the citations. Knowing she wouldn’t care about them; I found the somewhat hidden option to not include citations. That brought the page total down to 38, much more manageable. That option is under the Preferences tab, in the general section. There is a pull-down menu with four options, one of which is “Do not insert Source Citations”.

To me, the best feature was the family charts. For the starting person, it showed two generations of their ancestors and their children. For subsequent generations, it showed the descendant and their spouse and two generations of their ancestors and their children. Optionally, you can include the thumbnail pictures in the charts.

Other features include a bibliography, an index of places, and an index of individuals.

. I followed the installation directions provided at https://www.familybookcreator.de/en/menu-support-en/menu-faq-en/156-faq-en-howtoinstall and had no problems with the install.

Overall, I liked Family Book Creator for a quick family book or to get a family book started. I would love to see saving the book in html as an option.

Finding my Irish Grandfather’s birthplace

I start my #52ancestors with the first “across the pond” ancestor that I found – my grandfather William J. Smith. He was born November 3, 1871 in Baltrasna, County Meath, Ireland. His parents were Nicholas and Mary (Gillespie/Glasby) Smith. He was my father’s father.

I found him on various census, but the most important find was his marriage to Margaret Carolan. The marriage certificate had critical information: his parents’ names and his birth location. The birth location helpfully had the Irish county, Meath, in which he was born.

Searching Griffith’s valuation on AskAbooutIreland.com for Gillespie or Glasby in County Meath, only 7 records were found. Searching for the Smith surname, 1110 records were found. So, the Gillespie surname was rare. Whi

When I was doing this research, the Irish birth and baptismal records were not available online, but I had bought a CD set with the “British Isles” BMD data. Using both Nicolas’ and Mary’s names, I was able to locate the birth record for William. I was able to obtain an “original” copy, that is with the stamp. The birth was not registered until 26 April 1872.

In 2003 I was able to visit the Townland of Baltrasna. Using an ordnance survey map I had bought, There were not many buildings, even though the acreage is 270 acres and as we drove up the indicated lane, we met the current owner of Baltrasna and he said to go on up to the house, his wife was there. We did and she was very friendly, told us how the house had changed over the years.

We toured the small town of Moynalty and it was very an amazing feeling knowing that I was walking on the same grounds as my ancestors had trod.

Memories of Twilight Park, NY

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Me (age 1) at Carolan Lodge, Twilight Park, NY

As I walked my dog this morning, I heard the wind rustling thru the trees. The sound reminded me of the summer home of my youth. I spent summers in the Catskill mountains at a “cottage” that my great aunt had bought in the 1920’s. It was the last of several cottages that had been in my father’s family in this summer enclave, Twilight Park. I loved this house, this “park”, as did my cousins. We had all spent considerable time there.

I loved to walk in the woods, finding old paths that had been established by an old walking club. Twilight, as it was known to us, had many amenities – a pool, tennis courts, a day camp for youngsters and a folksy newsletter. I loved to swim in the pool, even when it was the original, built from a quarry and fed by mountain streams (brr!). A more modern pool replaced that one and was much more comfortable to swim in.

There were two other “parks” in the area, Elka and Oneonta. We had yearly swimming and diving competitions between the parks. I had some of my worst and best experiences during those contests.

The community was small, less than a hundred residences, and was built on the side of a mountain. Because of the terrain, there were three levels in the park, and we lived in the upper level which started with a steep hill, Pebble Rock “road”. The roads were narrow, on most of them two cars could just get by each other. However, Pebble Rock could only accommodate one car at a time, and before proceeding up or down, care had to be taken to make sure that no one was coming the other way.

Our cottage, “Carolan Lodge”, was at the top of Pebble Rock and from our kitchen window we could watch as the upper level cottagers drove by. We would comment on who was going by as we knew most of the cottagers and their cars.

Aunt Bess at the family plots in Elka Park

This summer home and the surrounding villages, Haines Falls, Tannersville, Hunter, seemed more like my home town that anywhere else and my cousins told me they felt the same way. Apparently, the generations before us felt the same way as they bought and were laid in burial plots at the Elka Park Catholic cemetery.

Finally! More information on Marie Therese (Hilbert) Schwob 1862-1939

Marie Therese (Hilbert) Schwob was my maternal great grandmother. Growing up all I knew about her was that she spoke French and was Alsatian. Her husband was Swiss. I found that researching her was very difficult, even now. French records are not easy to research as most are not indexed and few are on the major genealogy database sites.

My research on her was limited to the U.S. Federal Census records, New Jersey state census records and the birth records of her children. After reaching out to another genealogist I was able to obtain her death certificate. From these records, I knew that her birth year was likely 1864 and she died on 24 March 1939. I found four children that she gave birth to in New Jersey: Emil, Mary, Emma, and Carrie. Mary (Schwob) Krause was my maternal grandmother. But I had no record showing Marie Therese’s birth place.

I have periodically joined Geneanet.org which seems to have more French records and searched for her there. FINALLY, I got a great result – the tree of another researcher on which she was a small branch. And he had sources! I am very grateful for Ken Regenos for his willingness to share his sources. Cousins helping cousins! I am doing the happy dance! Dance