Sunday, March 13, 2011

Status of the Bost book

This past fall at the Bost reunion, my dad's first cousin, W.R. Lutz, presented the gathering with a large cardboard box containing the Bost History Book that he had recovered from a non family member.  Three of us (myself included) volunteered to be custodians of the Book and to see to getting it published so that the rest of the family can enjoy it.

The box contained a set of computer disks that contain the typed portion of the book in Microsoft WORD format.  The three of us each have a copy of it on our computers now.  The box also contains the photos, drawings, maps, etc. that will be part of the book when it is published.  (I am collecting additional photos, particularly around 1900 or before, to also include in the book - so if you have some, please contact me).

Recently I have had a few opportunities to "use" the book to help friends find out how they were related to the Bosts.  So far, I have been able to help everyone who has asked for my help.  So the book appears to be very comprehensive in its coverage of the family.

Using the book has given me some ideas about how to possibly make it better, such as by adding an index of all of the names in the book.  Even though I have the book on a computer disk, it is still difficult to find an ancestor's name.  For example, if you do a search for "Charles Bost" you may not find him if he is listed as "Charles Clyde Criddle Bost."  If you only search for Charles, you will find hundreds of people with other last names too.  I have found ways to work around these problems, but it would be simpler for most people if there were an index with surnames first, such as "Bost, Charles Clyde Criddle".

There may also some formatting tricks that could be used to make it easier to follow the family trees in the book.  This might be by indenting a little more for each subsequent generation, or by using colors to differentiate generations, or by improving the numbering system used in the outline.  This is just a thought.  The more that I "use" the book, it may be that the existing numbering system will be easier to follow.

Even if we publish the book without any of the above-mentioned enhancements, there is still quite a bit of work to get it ready to publish, such as adding page numbers, references to page numbers, page numbers where drawings will be placed, etc.  However, the vast majority of the work is already done, thanks to the monumental typing effort by cousin Jim Watkins.  Without his endless hours of work, the book would still be in its handwritten form.  Thanks a million Jim!