Friday, August 01, 2008

How To Get Your Family History Printed For Free

Did you know that you can get a bound copy of your family history printed for free? It's true. A little bird (of the Waleria variety) told me that the Allen County Public Library will print submitted family histories for free in exchange for a copy for their collection. They have over 55,000 in their collection already. Since I'm hoping to publish a family history later this year and will be looking into publication options I thought this one was worth considering. I mean, how can you not like "free"?

I checked the Allen County Library web site first but couldn't find any information about such a program. So I sent an email to the librarian and quickly received a reply to the affirmative. Here's the information from my email.
If you send us a completed family history (in loose pages, notebook or disk) we will make two bound photocopies, one for our collection, and one for you to keep. The process takes about 3 months, but can go longer. Just bring your manuscript or send to:

Copy Exchange Program
Genealogy Center
Allen County Public Library
PO Box 2270
900 Library Plaza
Fort Wayne, IN 46801
Pretty neat, eh? I went back to the ACPL web site and entered "copy exchange program" into the search box and came up with a newsletter article about it from back in 2004. I guess it's a long standing program, one I'd never heard of. What about you? Were you aware of this program? Have you participated in it and if so what did the finished copies look like?

Thanks for the tip Waleria!


  1. This is very, very cool! I needed to hear some good news tonight!

  2. You are most welcome, Jasia.

  3. Jasia, my local genealogy society has done this several times and been quite satisfied. There were several small, interesting old ledgers that they copied, on acid free paper, for the society. They returned the original along with the hardbound copy.

    For your family history, it is an inexpensive way to get a bound copy of your book and the results are very good. Of course, a copy can only be as good as the original... One member of our society did this then donated her copy to the society's library.

    It's a good deal. The only investment you have is the postage to get it to the library. And of course, the years it took you to gather and compile the book!

    They will also accept bound (hard or soft) books for their collection. Bound books aren't part of this program but they will gladly accept them.

  4. Jasia - this is great information! Thanks!

  5. Jasia:

    I have seen the hard bound copy and it is very well done.

    Here is the information we gave to our Genealogy and Family History Alumni Association at the beginning of last year:
    You may send a hard copy to the library or a CD Rom with your project in PDF format. It takes twelve weeks to produce the bound family history. The library makes a copy of the history to retain while the original is sent to the Heckman Bindery. It takes the bindery eight weeks to bind your document. One bound copy is sent to you free of charge and the library keeps one copy.

    If you want extra copies you must order them at the time you submit your family history. The cost is $12.50 each.

    Here is the address for sending your finished product:

    Allen County Public Library
    Genealogy Department
    Attn: Steve Myers
    200 East Berry Street
    Fort Wayne, IN 46801-2270
    Phone: (260) 421-1200

    Their only tip is that you include a title page with your name and address. The Library said they would love to have all our family histories submitted to them.
    I would check on the cost of extra copies to see if it is the same.


  6. Thanks for the great info, fM! I'm happy to hear they will print extra copies :-)

  7. justine dombkowski10:09 PM, June 15, 2009

    I wrote a version of my family history in 1995. We have 210 people in my family on my mother's side including 22 deceased. She had 6 sisters and 4 brothers. I am in touch with all but 15 of them today. This is a great opportunity and I am going to take complete advantage of it. I am so glad I found your site.

    Justine Dombkowski