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Interview – Kati Hanimagi of Oddball Press

[Editor’s Note: recently I had the opportunity to review the Oddball Family Tree chart by Oddball Press here at GeneaBloggers. Here is an interview with the founder of Oddball Press, Kati Hanimagi, where we discuss Kati’s work and her interest in genealogy and family history.

Look for more of these “review and interview” combos here at GeneaBloggers in the future. I think as the genealogy industry evolves, many of our readers want to learn about the process of developing a genealogy product and bringing it to market.]

What inspired you to create such a fantastic family tree chart? Does it have a title?

I was searching online for a simple family tree to give as a baby shower gift to a close friend. Although there were many options, I wasn’t able to find “the right one.” With this fruitless search in mind, I decided to create my own and then produce it for the Oddball Press Printed Matter line. Although I wanted it to be fresh and quirky, it has an unoriginal title, “Oddball Family Tree.”

Do you print all your work directly in your home or studio or is it outsourced to a professional printer?
What technique was used to create the print?

Although I do have a small tabletop press, I send my work out to be printed. The quantities and sizes are too large for my press to handle. The design is comprised of hand-drawn components (like the tree) and available clip art (the silhouettes). It is letterpress printed, in which ink is applied to a raised surface and then embossed into the paper. Because this Family Tree is two colors (black and green), each print went through the press twice. It is an age-old process which has been tweaked to work effectively in the modern world. The final product is both pleasing to the eye and touch. I love it!

How has the response been for the family tree chart? And do you think there is a market for similar items? Do you find folks want family history related products?

We have had a great response to this item! I do think there is a demand for similar products. I think folks are getting more and more interested in their family histories. I think our tree is successful because it is “simple.” It only charts back to great-grandparents, and this is “doable” for people on the go and for children. This small step could lead to further interest in personal genealogy, and then these folks could pursue the more involved charts.

Do you have an interest in genealogy and family history? If so, tell us how you got started and where your ancestors are from.

I do indeed have an interest in my family history, but I have delegated the research portion to my parents. I presented them with an intense family tree chart last year to work on together. Now that they have both retired, they have begun to research their pasts. My father is from the Baltic country, Estonia, and he is speaking with distant relatives still there to work out the family line. My mother is just getting started, so she is still a mystery.

Do you have a favorite ancestor?

Based on who I know so far, my mother’s father, William. He was an inventor. I always took great pride in declaring, “my grandfather is an inventor.” I recall that he worked on a cigar wrapping machine-and something else involving military planes. As a child, I remember creeping around his garage workshop. There were drawers and boxes full of gears, screws, and tools, from floor to ceiling. He was always wanting to share his ideas and show how things worked. He was always very concerned with my penmanship, and he made it his personal mission to ensure my handwriting was legible and precise. I have fond memories of wonder and exploration-all linked to him.

©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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