About Thomas MacEntee

What happens when a “tech guy” with a love for history gets laid off during The Great Recession of 2008? You get Thomas MacEntee, a genealogy professional who’s also a blogger, educator, author, social media connector, online community builder and more. Thomas was laid off after a 25-year career in the information technology field, so he started his own genealogy-related business called High Definition Genealogy. He also created an online community of over 3,000 family history bloggers known as GeneaBloggers. His most recent endeavor, Hack Genealogy, is an attempt to “re-purpose today’s technology for tomorrow’s genealogy.” Thomas describes himself as a lifelong learner with a background in a multitude of topics who has finally figured out what he does best: teach, inspire, instigate, and serve as a curator and go-to-guy for concept nurturing and inspiration. Thomas is a big believer in success, and that we all succeed when we help each other find success.

Genealogy Blogging Beat – Wednesday, 28 January 2015

On 28 January 1986 at 11: 39 AM, EST, the space shuttle Challenger STS51L exploded, 74 seconds into its flight and about 10 miles above the earth. Hundreds of millions around the world watched television replays of the horrifying event that killed seven people. The billion-dollar craft was destroyed, all shuttle flights suspended and much of the US manned space flight program temporarily halted. Killed were teacher Christa McAuliffe (who was to have been the first ordinary citizen in space) and six crew members: Francis R. Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnik, Ellison S. Onizuka, Ronald E. McNair and Gregory B. Jarvis.
Today is Wednesday, 28 January 2015, and here is what’s available in terms of Daily Blogging Prompts and other related events in the genealogy blogosphere:

Items of Note

  • Today: Challenger Space Shuttle Explosion – Anniversary, Data Privacy Day, and Jackson Pollack’s Birthday – Anniversary.

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Review: On Your Own – How to Design And Construct A Family History Book to Inform And Captivate Readers

On Your Own - How to Design And Construct A Family History Book to Inform And Captivate Readers offers useful and practical advice, with extensive illustrated examples, of how to create your own family history book.

I’ll admit that as someone who has self-published both print and e-books, I have an advantage and can employ all the “tricks” and “inside information” when producing a book. But what if you wanted to take years of genealogical research and present it in printed book format to share with family and friends? How would you get started? Do you know the steps to be completed and the pitfalls of the self-publishing process?

With On Your Own – How to Design And Construct A Family History Book to Inform And Captivate Readers by Elayne and Stephen Denker you’ll learn the ins and outs of creating a well-formatted and enjoyable family history book that your family will cherish for generations.

Highlights – An Abundance of Ideas and Formats

At 77 pages, you might think that this guide is “light” or doesn’t cover many self-publishing and formatting options. Not true! Inside you’ll find valuable information:

  • Page Layout – a review of how to select fonts, set margins, add images and more.
  • Page Design Examples – a gallery of different types of sections to include in your family history book such as pages with maps and data, cemeteries, family trees, etc.
  • Software Tools – a review of basic concepts and how to use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Photo Editor as well as how to scan images and text.
  • Enhancing Documents – tips on the best methods of working with both digital photos and text.
  • Large Format Records – the problem with large census sheets and other documents can be vexing even for experts; lots of good advice on how to include these items in your book.

The only issue I found in working with On Your Own: the Software Tools section needs to be updated and made current. I’d love to see an updated version of this guide that covers photo tools such as Picasa, GIMP and others. In addition, rather than covering just Microsoft Word, branch out to include Google Docs as well.


On Your Own – How to Design And Construct A Family History Book to Inform And Captivate Readers by Elayne and Stephen Denker is more than just a handy “how to” guide for the DIY family history self-publisher. The authors show you their own publishing journey, complete with extensive illustrations. As you read, you’ll want to have a pen and paper handy to jot down ideas for your own family history book!

On Your Own – How to Design And Construct A Family History Book to Inform And Captivate Readers is available in softcover format via Amazon and Maia’s Books.

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Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statements.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Do-Over: Last Day to View FREE Webinar Recording

Watch Thomas MacEntee present his plan to "redo" years worth of genealogy research - Genealogy Do-Over webinar at Legacy Family Tree.

Today, Tuesday, January 27th is the LAST DAY to view the recording of My Genealogy DO-Over – A Year of Learning from Research Mistakes – my latest webinar at Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

If you’ve been wondering about the “Genealogy Do-Over” and how it works – and why we’ve attracted over 3,200 people to the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group, then spend some time and watch this webinar.

Click here for more information on the Genealogy Do-Over and how you can participate!

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.