Free church directories
Morris Cookbooks has a Keepsake feature that could be adaptable for a
directory, or yearbook, combined with a cookbook fundraiser.
<<Families and organizations can make a keepsake cookbook to
commemorate a reunion, anniversary, or special event. You will
treasure the prized recipes, history, and traditions preserved in a
keepsake cookbook. Your cookbook can contain poems, history, photos,
and any other information you wish to include.>>
Do a google search on how to collect oral histories, and you'll get
lots of tips and leads on interiewing, collecting ... taping an
interview is better for oldsters and children, and you can keep these
in the church library, but use the material to write copy for your
directory, yearbook, or other projects.
The best time to collect church founding histories, and the histories
of founding families is right now -- no matter how much time has gone
by and how few are left:
Preserving Your Family History > Photographs
Make Photographs of Photographs!
Are there some old photographs that your Great-Uncle Jim just won´t
let out of his sight for duplication? If so, take a camera with you
and take pictures of those pictures! You´ll get the best results using
a basic single lens reflex 35 mm camera - not the auto focus type. The
basic lens on your camera, usually not less than a 50mm lens, will
usually focus close enough to copy the old photos.
Click to Print - Rate - Email a Friend - Save
Preserve Your Photo Heritage!
If you find yourself with a large collection of old family
photographs, make sure that you´re taking all the necessary steps to
preserve them properly.
The following sites can give you the information you need to make sure
that future generations will be able to enjoy this aspect of their
Guidelines For Preserving Your Photographic Heritage by Ralph G. McKnight
TIPS FOR PRESERVING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS AND DOCUMENTS by "JUST BLACK &
Black & White
Did you know that black and white photographs last longer than color
photographs? It´s true! The color images are chemically instable -
especially Polaroid pictures.
So, in order to preserve your memories as long as possible, make sure
you take some black and white photos of any memorable family or
historical events along with the color photos. Your
great-grandchildren will be glad you did!
The best way to protect your scrapbook for future generations is to
use an archival quality storage box. Place your scrapbooks spine down
or flat in the box, depending on box design and scrapbook size.
Check Your Equipment!
Before you go to your interview, test your equipment to make sure it
is in good working order and that you know how to use all the features.
Here is a list of items you should take with you:
Address of interview location
Map to interview location
Photographs or other items you want to ask about
If an audio interview:
Audio tape recorder
If a video interview:
It is a good idea to remove any wrappings from the tapes and label the
tapes ahead of time. This will cut down on interuptions during the
interview which may break up the flow.
If you keep losing trace of where you are in the process of obtaining
and organizing your family history interviews, here´s a nifty little
"Interview Tracking" form that can help you out:
Interview Tracking Form
Before you begin interviewing members of your family, you need to sit
down and make a few plans! Here are some things you need to consider:
1) If you´re looking strictly for family history information - names,
dates, places, etc. - start with your oldest relatives first. As we
all know, but hate to think about, these loved ones won´t always be
around to share their knowledge with us.
2) Set an objective for your interview. Decide exactly what
information you want to gain from the interview. Are you looking for
names? Information about a certain event? Family stories?
3) Make a list of those people who will be most likely to fulfill your
research objective, and contact them to see if they are open to
talking with you.
4) Ask your interview subject to collect old documents or photos that
will help trigger their memories and provide good fodder for interview
Preparing Interview Questions
Once you´ve decided to do an interview, you need to prepare your
To get the fullest (and most interesting!) answers from your interview
subject, you should avoid using close-ended questions - those that
require only "yes" or "no" answers. Use open-ended questions that will
encourage your interviewee to talk, such as "Tell me what you remember
about your family´s first home."
Once you have determined what questions you will ask, place each
question on an index card for easy use during the interview.
The following sites have lists of some great interview questions for
Prevent Tape Disaster!
If you are recording family interviews or oral histories, don´t forget
to punch out the "tabs" on the cassette immediately after you finish
This ensures that what you have recorded cannot be erased.
Safeguard Your Tapes!
After you´ve finished taping an oral history interview, make sure to
create back-up copies of the tapes and store the originals in a safe
place - like a safety deposit box. These tapes are now important
Pictorial Directory: It's a Snap!
The fast, easy way to produce a directory that stays current
by John R. Throop
Blur is the title of a recent book on today's pace of living. Many
churches are affected by blur, and their photo directories show it.
It's not that the photos are unfocused. The technical quality of
images in these directories continues to be excellent. The problem is
that, for most congregations, a directory is outdated within a few
months of its publication.
Families grow or shrink. People move. Seekers come and go. Church
leaders thus fret about the effort and expense of putting together a
church directory with such a short shelf life that it's outdated
before it even comes out in print. Yet with people coming and going so
quickly, a photo directory has become more necessary than ever. Church
members want to connect names and faces quickly, and the most
efficient, least embarrassing way of doing that is to reach for the
Quick Turnaround Time
One way to keep a church directory more current is to shorten its
production time. "Speed really is a major concern of most churches,"
says Renee Belina of Lifetouch, a church directory company. Church
leaders want to know how fast they can get pictorial directories into
the hands of members. And church members want to know how quickly they
can see portrait proofs so they can order pictures for family and friends.
With high-quality digital photographic equipment, professional
photographers can seat family members and take pictures in minutes.
Seconds later, family members can view images on a video screen and
decide which pose they want for the directory and what photos they'd
like to order. If pictures must be retaken, that can be done on the
spot. Immediate selection of images to go in the church directory
means a quicker turnaround time for compiling the directory.
"Getting leaders to make decisions is always the challenge in working
with churches," says Rich Restiano of Olan Mills Studio. "If they can
give us a diskette of an accurate roster and some candid shots via
e-mail or a diskette of church activities and groups, we can have a
final proof of the directory at the church within 30 days. With a
quick turnaround, we can have directories to distribute in an other
Lifetouch's new 20/15 program could allow a church's proof to be
produced in 20 working days and its printed book in 15 working days.
Though many churches shrink from the thought of compiling their own
pictorial directories, some possess the database and imaging
technologies to create them. How ever, even with advances in
digital-camera technology, illustration software, and Web-site
hosting, few people have the knowledge or the time to do a great job
of getting a church family together for pictures.
Producing a quality church directory poses significant challenges:
1. Time. The process of running photos on a color printer, making
color copies, and binding books for hundreds of individuals and
families is time-consuming, frightfully expensive, and demands a very
large computer memory.
2. Image quality. It's difficult to get consistent image quality from
people who are not professional photographers, Belina says.
Considerable training and practice are needed to solve two distinct
problems: First, the background and the lighting have to be just right
to consistently highlight people. Second, the placement of individuals
and families within a photo must be similar to achieve a uniform,
professional look that reflects well on the church.
3. Cost. Typically, churches pay little for professionally produced
directories since portrait purchases by members fund the directory
expense. If the church decides to produce its own pictorial directory,
however, it must budget all of the expenses or find ways to pay for
the project, either by charging for each directory or by selling
advertising (another time-consuming job). Thus, many churches opt for
the traditional, professional directory with church in formation and
scenes from church life in the front, portraits in the middle, and a
roster in the back.
According to church directory producers, most midsize churches produce
a directory every three to four years, while larger churches put one
out every five to six years. In response to specific requests from
churches, however, some companies are offering products that will flex
to stay more current. Here is what they are suggesting:
A new package. "We're seeing a lot more churches interested in a
three-ring binder or spiral-bound directory instead of a traditional
soft-cover book," Belina says. With a binder, photos of new staff
members or church members can be printed anytime and inserted into the
binder rather than kept on hold till an entirely new directory is
published. A trained church member with a good digital camera could
produce these insert photos. Or Lifetouch offers an update program in
which new members are professionally photographed and a high-quality
inset is produced to up date directories.
Smaller size. For convenience, church directory producers now offer a
pocket-size version for people to carry with them. This small edition
comes in handy when church members meet someone informally, then want
to immediately look up their pictures to connect names and faces.
Another trend is putting church directories in a CD-ROM format. As
technology permits, that format can be adapted to put directories into
a palm-size computer.
Web directory. Another option is to put church photos on a secure
section of a church Web site so that portraits, names, and addresses
can be changed with just a few mouse clicks. This is convenient, but
problems can arise: First, photos and graphics require significant
download time, even with faster home computers. Who wants to wait for
even a portion of a church directory?
Second, there's the host-server problem. Does the church or its
Web-site host have enough storage for the significant memory demands
of a church directory? Third, how could churches guarantee the privacy
and protection of member information? Many people do not want to re
lease telephone numbers or addresses on the Internet. There's also a
major concern about connecting names with photos. Ultimately, no
system on the Internet is tamper-proof.
Whether churches use a traditional or a pioneering approach to their
directory, the finished product continues to be the result of a
partnership between the local church and the directory service. That
means the church must do its best to schedule portrait sittings for
all its members, to get all pictures of staff pictures and church
activities done, and to proof directory copy in as short a time as
possible. "We want to develop the best presentation possible,
something a church can be proud of," says Restiano. "So the church
must see itself as a partner and not hold the directory service at
The payoff for all that hard work is the day that the new directories
are passed out to church members. This is one book that will be
readand rereadmany times in the days to come.
John R. Throop (jthroop@...
) is a management consultant. He
pastors Christ Church Limestone near Peoria, Illinois.
This is the Library of Congress' Veteran's History Project. You can
ask for a kit (click the main page)
If you and a friend take the time to collect from the veterans in
your church, you will have a valuable experience in doing the same
for the church history project and yearbook contributions.
And you will have preserved local history for the National Library.
Many of the tips and ideas are adaptable to a founding family
history, or in general to teaching and learning to ask people about
themselves. In many ways, we've lost the art of 'getting to know
you' and asking people about themselves. How many times have we
done or been subject to an entire conversation about nothing
personal, or even a predominantly one sided conversation about only
one thing, one person, etc. Sometimes, people have acquired such a
fear that revealing anything about themselves (or asking another who
they are or what they do or what's important to them) is misread as
intrusive, a come on, or harboring some 'agenda'.
A church project might be a good way to break that social ice in a
And the various release forms and tips in this kit are very
Most yearbook minimums are 100, if you go to a professional yearbook
Black and white is least expensive, and can be quite beautiful and
If in your mind's eye you can see what is needed to record a year in
the life of your church, use the disposable camera to get shots of
feast day celebrations
pilgrim out of town visitors to the church
alumni members and reunions
festivals and fundraisers
ordinary days (priest at the church, visiting, etc.; fellowship
hour, cooking, talking, etc.)
workers in action
special events -- weddings, funerals, baptisms
classes -- church school, adult, catechism, marriage preps
If you want to have recipes and other stuff, or if you want to
feature founding families in special areas. or if you want to put in
the annual report or demographics on growth of the parish, those are
easily put in a page.
Remember to label everything about the photos you take (date, place,
each person in there), for later indexing. When people get a
yearbook, they will always look to the index to see who is in there
and on what page, and visitors will want to see these, too.
Remember, too, that your yearbook is also a history project and time
capsule. Metrical records, weddings, baptisms, chrismations,
funerals, etc., are all important to the year. Festal greetings
from the bishops, photos from delegates attending missions and
diocesan and clergy-laity conferences. Big diocesan events and
struggles may be mentioned in dispassionate terms, even if your
church has struggled with internal problems ... to ignore these
histories may be worse than lying about it. Year by year, people
(and alumni) will want to have one.