Preparing a family history book for publication.

Today, is the first chance I have had to sit down for at least four hours and work on a few things I need to do in regards to furthering my family history book. I have just finished work and the little one is still at Day Care and so here I am writing on my blog, catching up with posts from bloggers I follow and preparing a few letters for archive centers.

For those of you who don’t know, I am currently writing a biography/book in regards to my Great Grand Uncle ‘John George Woods’ who fell during the second Battle of Ypres, on the 26th April 1915. It’s not going to be a huge in depth book about the Battle or World War One, but simply key moments in his life leading up to that fateful day and a little about the days that followed. I also have a keen interest in his comrades who fell on the same day as him, so I have compiled a list for these and preparing a mini biography for each of them. These were his friends, he ate with these people, trained with these people, slept in the same barracks, shared jokes and tears, so for me they are just as important to his story as his own personal experience was. Their names appear alongside his on panel 36 – 38 at Menin Gate, Ypres.

John’s name also appears on his town’s WW1 Memorial, ‘Leadgate Cross’, and I a plan to list these names too as many lived in the same street, but I won’t be including a biography for these people, only regiment details, day of death, brief family details if known, These men are much harder to research, because I only have a name and many were born else where and belong to many different regiments and surprisingly I have discovered that many Leadgate men were not included on this memorial, often this is due to family wishing not to have his name included, or they appear else where, these men will also be remembered in my book.

I am still busy writing his story and at the same time sourcing material from various archive centers, In doing so I have learnt much more about his life then I previously knew. I have a personal diary written by one of his comrades about their experience, of which includes all the important dates and places and the actual bombardment that occurred on the 26th April, scary stuff really especially as the 26th April was sadly his first day of conflict.

Sourcing material to use in the book is my biggest challenge, here in England anything before 1923 is out of copyright, photographs etc… Although if your borrowing images (as I will be) from various record centers, then they own the intellectual rights for these and I need their permission before I reproduce the material. They do charge a fee £26 an image, if it will be used for non-profit publishing and I still don’t know how much they charge if I decide to publish the book for profit and reach a larger audience.

I may decide to produce two editions, the first will be non-profit and solely for family and archive centers, library’s and future archiving, the second (If I decide to publish for profit) will be produced as an e-book.

I have also bought images that pre-date 1923 and associated directly with the 6th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry and the Battle of Ypres, these as far as I can tell are not held in any record centers and have not been previously published, so I guess I own the intellectual rights to these as I do my own personal family photographs that date from this period.

Still lots to do, and slowly getting there.