FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH, boosted by computers and the Internet, has become one of our most popular hobbies. Thousands of Kiwis are afflicted by the bug researching their wider families; joining family history societies; digging around libraries, archives and museums; and spending countless hours in front of computers checking out ancestors, lives and times, from Bluff to Birmingham and beyond. 

For some people, research is the main point of it all. They publish very little, but enjoy many years of fascinating detective work and social interaction. For other people, research is the means to an end product: a book. Or at least a booklet or two.

John MacGibbon is a professional writer and publisher who produced one of New Zealands biggest-selling family history books: Going Abroad. Widely praised, it was described in one review by Otago University history professor Tom Brooking as "showing other family historians how it should be done."

Your Family's History passes on valuable tips and strategies gleaned from John’s personal research, writing and publishing journey, as well as his work with other authors. It is expanded from talks he gave at the National Library of New Zealand in 2009 and Otago University in 2011.

11,000 words, 40 pages, A5, price NZ$15 plus postage.


"The book is superb." Heather Bray, convenor, Dunedin Family History Group and regular presenter at genealogy courses.

"Well put together and very useful." Jim Sullivan, Sounds Historical, National Radio

"An excellent how-to in quick, easy summary style." Mrs Joy Green, Oamaru


Part one: doing the research

Your family and other people
New Zealand Society of Genealogists
Family history societies
Genealogy courses
Libraries and archives
Researching on the Web
Special interest internet groups
Books and journals
Genealogy software
Supporting acts: backing up, a blogsite and Evernote

Part two: writing the book and sorting out the graphics
Limit your horizons...really
What will confuse or bore your readers?
Footnotes and bibliographies
Plan your book content
Assemble and sort your research material and notes
Preparing your graphics
Getting down to writing
Do a family timeline
Do an index – please!
Publishing the separate family tree

Part three: publishing and promoting your book
Doing it yourself:
  General tips
  How many should you print?
  Legal deposit
  Bar codes and ISBNs
  What you need to give your printer
Using an established publisher
Promoting and selling your book



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October 2009