Publishing a Book – A Look at “Blurb”

I became involved with Blurb.Com a few years ago because they work with Blogs. There are numerous printers out there to create your photo book or textbook or whatever your needs, but Blurb can “slurp” your blog right in to their book (meaning they take your year of babbles on your blog and convert it directly to book format). This was ideal for me and my personal blog because while I’d had the hope in the first year of my son’s life to manually scrapbook all my blogs, complete with photos and intricate scrapbooking decals… seriously, who has the time for that. Blurb saved me. A few hours of tweaks here and there, adding a few extra pictures, I was able to take my mommy-blog from Blog-format, to printed… and $40 later, I had something hardbound for my shelf.

Update to this year, and a genealogical need.. It’s Time to print something out for the family. And in my case most personally because we do a gift-exchange, and I was given my father, the man with everything. This year I’m going beyond just the report of his ancestry, I created a Book. Oh thank you Blurb.

Let me break down what I learned, where I’m coming from, and some notes here & there.

1 – the Blurb application is FREE. It will take some time to download, but not too much space on your computer. (you pay for the printing/shipping, but the application is free)

2 – Decide on your audience – It will help you decide what documents/reports you might need.
I’m printing an Entertainment Book. I am not printing a detailed history of the family, neither ancestral nor descendant report. I knew from the get-go the “reports” I could export from my genealogy software would be of little use to this. I wanted all the bazillion photos I have stored (many my family has not seen) and a brief listing of families, lines, and history. I knew going in to this that if I wanted a brief ancestral report, I would have to write it out.

* Just to note that if you’re going with something different, Blurb can import any and all files. So if you want to print out that 28page of Descendant Listing from your genealogy software, it can import it. then, you can tweak it and reformat as needed.

3 – Organize Your “stuff”
I started last night, importing photos to my new “book” and quickly realized none of my photos were in order, and I had scans from this last summer that I’d never renamed nor put in their correct spot. And I’m insanely organized on my computer, yet I still needed to stop my project for a good hour and re-organize.

I tend to organize my files something like this….
Loops – Jr – Charles – Melba and Charles at Fontana 1940

Everything is labeled first with surname, then because I have III, Jr, and Sr., I need that first. Then what personal name. Then description of the photo.  (this way you can find all the Charles Jr photos in one lump)

4 – Format, Crop and Fix your photos
Regardless of what program you use, Always keep an Originals folder, as well as a “cropped” folder. In my case I have scanned images of 8.5×11 that are beautiful but 40% of the photo is the edge. I crop those edges off for the purposes of something like this book. Do Not Ever alter the original! Import your scans/photos to an Originals folder; copy all the images to a secondary folder and then crop and modify your pictures from there.

5 – Get to building your book. I write books and manuals all the time and I tend to just import everything I can find (because you can move and alter later) – your process is up to you. If you need to start with page 1 and move forward as you go, that’s fine. But with Blurb you can insert/delete pages as needed, so if you just want to start importing photos to pages… you can fix later.


as you get going, you should see something like this… a running list of all your pages down below, and the selected page in the big View window at the top.

6 – At any point you can change the format of your page, whether it’s a Text page or Photo Page (note that Text pages also have images, just LESS images than a Photo-page)

7 – Preview your book.

8 – Order your book

And You.Are.Done.
I mean it. Whatever time it takes for you to create your book (mine took me about 10hrs between last night and tonight, and yes it’s almost 2am my time also blogging about the results), you can be done so quickly. It depends on what materials you already have, such as photos and reports; and depends on the tweaks you want to make.

Ancestry of Charles Loops

Genealogy books can be difficult – but you first have to consider your audience. In my family I am the keeper of it all. When my gUncle died a few years ago, his children just packed it all up and sent it to me. They’re interested, of course, but they don’t care about the details. I have learned in my 20yrs of research that my family does not want a report. But they would like to look at a photo album for 20 minutes. And if I can give all the photos and also answer “but where did HE come from” in the same sentence, without it looking like a report… BONUS!

But there in lies #9 – Disclaim whatever you have to offer about your research. Because you are printing a book that will likely be skimmed for a few minutes, and then put on a shelf… give as much information as you can. For this process tonight, I gave my website; I stated where my information came from and where they can find more information; and of course the disclaimer that “All genealogy research is a work in progress; any and all persons listed here are only listed because they are sourced and proven, that I will not list any persons without proper documentation”, blah blah.

If someone picks this up from a shelf in 20yrs, you need to have given what you can; and more information for WHERE the information came from, so they hunt from then on. Do not leave people hanging even if it is immediate family.


2hrs of clean-up between my computer/scans/various drives I maintain
6hrs of book compilation
1hr contemplating more wine, tears at happiness, emails to people trying NOT to tell them what I’d created

Free installation of Blurb product
10 minutes of upload of my 42 page book
30 seconds to enter my credit card
$53 to have the single product shipped to me, at an increased rate to arrive before Xmas. (they have great deals if you’re printing multiple copies, which I will do once I see what the final product looks like).

Blurb Rocks for me.
I’m sure there are other comparable products out there. But this just made it So Easy on me. Insert photo; insert text. Build a page. Go from there.

And hey, if you are of my Loops family, Contact me because you can buy this! Blurb offers the printed version or just a PDF download, but trust me, you want the printed version for your shelf. Let me make a few tweaks off this initial draft and I’ll be printing a number of copies for everyone in the family.

originally posted 12/13 on


Ancestor Approved

Tonight I must share my humble thanks at being “Ancestor Approved”! Yay!

I was awarded this from Susan Edminster of Echo Hill Ancestors, a blog I have been following for some time and greatly enjoy! The award was created by Leslie Ann Ballou of Ancestors Live Here to recognize “blogs full of tips and tricks as well as funny and heartwarming stories…”

I know that Sue at Echo Hill fulfills this, and I am slowly attempting to myself, in this blog, not only showcase my own family history, but some stumbles and leaps I’ve encountered along the way.

To participate you must list 10 things that surprised, humbled or enlightened you about your ancestors.
And of course, to pass along to 10 other bloggers out there. I am working on this part and will have a “Part II” updated soon.

For tonight, my 10 surprises, humbling and enlightening experiences (phew, where to start?!):

1. The LOOPS family, as is my surname and for most of us, where our research begins, started as a “you and your brothers are the only Loops out there” statement. And how even in the beginning’s of the internet (way before Rootsweb and the LDS websites) proved nearly instantly that this was not the case. Surprise! There is family out there!

2. That our LOOPS came from a family who died on the ship’s crossing from Germany, leaving two young boys who DID NOT KNOW THEIR NAME, and were separated when arriving. It was assumed by all current generations that they never found each other.

3. My recent (gulp) discovery, when finding the First and Only known picture of my ggGrandfather Frederick Loops, has the “Loops, Milwaukee Wisconsin” logo on his picture. Meaning it was taken at his BROTHER’s, Charles Loops, photography studio in Milwaukee. Not only did they find each other, but they met….and Frederick, his son Charles (Charles the first) and Charles’ daughter Georgebelle all ventured from North Carolina to visit this “other” Loops family in Wisconsin.
How sad that this information gets lost in just a generation. And how wonderful to finally discover! (tears)

4. I am consistently humbled and fascinated by researching the LOVEALL family, and that, to date, I have yet to find a LOVEALL that is not descended from Henry Loveall, 1694-1786. We are all connected. This is an amazing family to research.

5. In a sappy, sentimental nod, I LOVE that my family has endowed me “Family Historian”, not just in that I’m the only who really Does this research and knows all the lines, but that they have enlisted me to be the physical keeper of the family photographs and sentiments. Boxes just keep arriving. And each new box brings a new set of adventures and explorations – and a whole new set of tears.

6. My sons’ family is a new and I foresee, lasting research project into OLD AMERICANA. It seems that each new name into Dean, Haskell, Hathway, White, Hammond, etc., leads me down another path to American generations of Salem and Plymouth. These make me want to read every historical novel and watch old movies to get a visual glimpse into the garb, the language, the religion, the life that these original American settlers had.

7. Humbling that there are still so many road-blocks. I still do not know the heritage of my YOUNG family, or the correct origins of the WEBBs. I love the challenge of still having something to “research”, but that it makes you want to pull your hair out.

8. Not a surprise, but I am continually impressed with my Great-Uncle Art Young, and the name that he has provided to Bow-Hunting in America. If you are a bow-hunter, you know Pope-Young. That’s Art! He led an amazing life. You can read more about his adventures here.

9. As I dive more into my North Carolina roots, even though I no longer live in North Carolina, I feel more and more connected to the families of Kinston, Lenoir County, where Frederick LOOPS settled; who’s daughter Lelia married a MEWBORN; who’s son Charles married a WEBB, who’s mother was a PITTMAN. The history books of the area tell of these families, families of whom I am all a part of. And it makes me want to return, visit, learn, and give a few hugs.

10. Impending surprise of DNA research out there, and a lil lady who believes she might be a descendant of our Frederick LOOPS and we shall have the DNA results soon to show whether or not this possibility. That DNA research is even possible in calculating genealogical history is certainly the newest of all research out there. What will this possibly mean in the future, I wonder?

There you have it, for tonight. 10 wonderments that have crossed my path in this wonderful adventure. Thank you again, Sue, for the honor. I shall pass it along!

~happy huntings,

Friday’s Family Photos (Webb)

These are a few wonderful Webb Family photos. Enjoy!

Rev. James Barney WEBB, 6 Dec. 1823 – 2 Aug 1901

Emma Webb Noland, abt 1868 – 1954

George Bell Webb, 8 Jul 1855 – 21 Aug 1914

Agnes Pittman Webb, 17 Feb 1856 – 16 Oct 1883

Guy Webb, 24 Jul 1877 – 5 Oct 1939

Frank Webb, 5 Sept 1879 – 4 Oct 1912

Eva Bell Webb Loops, 28 April 1882 – 15 Sept 1966

And Who is this? Looks like George Bell Webb there in the center… and the boys in the top-hats? Anyone know?

Calling Webb Family Researchers

My ggGrandfather was George Bell Webb of Kinston, NC.
He was first married to Agnes Pittman, dau of Francis Marion Pittman and Louisa Mewborn, and had three children: Guy, James Francis “Frank” , and Eva Bell (my gGrandmother).

Agnes died in 1883 and he later married her sister Emma, and had two daughters: Agnes Webb Stacy and Carrie Lulu Bernard.

My gGrandmother Eva Bell Webb Loops saved so much; so much from the Webb family. And apparently her daughter Georgebelle Loops Smith also did a bit of research and was in communication with the Webb family.

I have pictures.
I have crazy tons of pictures.
I have pictures that I know no one in them, except that they are this WEBB family.

Agnes as a child; Carrie Lulu as a child, on and on and on. But these are the two evident from the writings on the photos.

I need help. I need someone to tell me who these are – and I can send you the photos too!

I’ll get around to scanning and posting online. But if you are of this family, please contact me, because I need help. I’ve been given an amazing gift, and I know this needs to be shared with other researchers.

Contact me:
And please stay posted here on the site, because I’ll be posting photos as soon as I start scanning.

They’re Just People

I am a bit overwhelmed at the moment, but I have to share my adventures tonight into the world of the Loops family. I had mentioned my Uncle Frank’s passing a few months ago, the end of his generation of Loops, and the rememberall of our family. He was also the youngest son of Charles I and Eva Webb Loops, and lived near his sister Georgebell who’d passed 15yrs prior. Which means, he had all her “stuff”.

Today arrived all of their combined “stuff”.

As the Historian of the family, as my father described it, it just made sense to send everything to me. Everyone else would enjoy a few moments of nostalgia and awe (and confusion and great overwhelmed feelings), and then it’d go into the closet.

I feel overwhelmed with the 30lbs of “stuff” that arrived at my house tonight, but I also feel very honored. Eva Bell Webb Loops, my gGrandmother saved; her daughter Georgebelle saved that and continued on with her own genealogy research and more. It is evident in these boxes that I now hold 100+years of pictures, bibles, letters, research, history…. that is our Loops family, and also our Webb family.

I get to keep this! And I will. I will scan and digitize; save and save and save. I need more fire-proof boxes, but I will get them. I will put in special folders and files and help document the mix-matched findings that are stored in these two boxes. And I will help create something that can be passed on further. (oh, my dear son, I wonder if you’ll even want it… you will have little choice, you know? it’s you or your uncles).

I haven’t digested fully yet what is included in these boxes. I will have much more to say as I dig deeper. Tonight was simply a 3hr look over everything, and then back in your box you go.

But it’s overwhelming. So long to research a family and to now have faces to that family. Here you are, George B. Webb, in photo. Photo after photo, there you are. You were as alive as I am today, with emotions and love of your children and interest in your wife and political ambitions or whatever… you were alive. You are not simply a date in a book… you were a man.

Love letters from Charles E. Loops “the first”, to Eva, 1901-1903, when they were both young and separated, yet in love and soon to be married. They were both beautiful – I know this now… I have pictures. And their handwriting is beautiful and learned. They were young people in love, and to read the letters between them is beautiful and heart-warming, and confirming that…. they were people. Just… people. Alive and in love, as much I have had romantic feelings in my life.

I think sometimes I get caught up in the names and dates. I try to remember the stories, the realities that are our ancestors, that they lived and breathed just the same. But to finally see pictures of their then fashion and hair-styles, read their style of writing, to really see what their day was focused on…. it becomes real. I don’t know how I can do this with people hundred’s of years back, aside from watching movies that place me in that time, but for now…. at least I have a visual face on my ggGrandparents. It’s amazing.

SO MUCH more to share as I digest.

For now, I’m in awe.