Out on a Limb: Party of Five

By Allison Dolan Premium

Family legend has it that my great-great-grandmother was a medium. Apparently, I didn’t inherit her gift of vision: When I joined the editorial staff of a brand-new magazine five years ago, I couldn’t have envisioned the success story I’d be telling today. We conceived this magazine to fulfill an unmet need. Although genealogy was a hugely popular hobby, enthusiasts didn’t have a how-to publication written and edited according to the magazine industry’s highest standards. We felt that if every special-interest group from beer brewers to birders had its own stylish-yet-substantive publication, genealogists deserved one, too. So we set out to produce an attractive, informative, beginner-friendly magazine: one that would make the hobby accessible-and enjoyable-to anyone interested in discovering, preserving and celebrating the past.

Genealogists resoundingly agreed-even we were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm for Family Tree Magazine. “I have got to tell you that your magazine is the only one that I have ever read cover to cover!” raved Michelle Strang. “I can’t think of a more valuable tool available to novice genealogists such as myself, or for the far more experienced, than your magazine.” In particular, people liked our all-encompassing content. “The scope of subjects you tackle is stunning: journal writing, photo preservation, computer use,” noted Kevin Barton. “It made me want to read every word, as every word was skill-oriented and useful.” Readers also praised the magazine’s look, content and tone (“not stuffy!!” applauded Suzie Whiteside).

So for the past half-decade, we’ve stayed true to our original mission. In this fifth-anniversary edition – just as in our premier issue – you’ll find help on a “stunning” array of topics, from photo identification and Web sites to genetic genealogy and classic research. We’re still committed to being the most objective voice in the genealogy industry, with honest product reviews and news that gives you more than one side of the story.
That’s not to say we’re satisfied with the status quo. We already have big plans to make this magazine an even better resource in the next five years – beginning with this issue. Readers asked for a tool to look up past articles, and we’ve answered: You’ll find a complete index to the contents of every Family Tree Magazine published to date.

We’re especially excited to introduce a brand-new State Research Guide series. In every issue, we’ll publish a special pullout section featuring genealogy guides for two US states. Each will contain a how-to article with state-specific sources and strategies, plus a handy resource sheet of key facts, Web sites, books, organizations and historic destinations, along with a map and timeline.

These guides are designed so you can easily whip them out in your genealogy workspace, or take them with you on research trips. The series kicks off with Delaware and Oregon; eventually, you’ll have a collection of tips and tools to trace your roots anywhere in the United States.

We’re eager to learn how else we can help you in your genealogy endeavors. What topics would you like us to cover? What other research tools could we provide? Please write and tell us. After all, we developed this magazine for you – and we need your input to make its next five years as successful as the first.

Looking back to this magazine’s inaugural days, it should have been easier to see its destiny. From the beginning, we knew the secret to success: you. Your research breakthroughs make publishing this magazine a memorable, rewarding experience – and inspire us to keep earning your accolades.

From everyone at Family Tree Magazine, thank you for five fabulous years. We look forward to helping you discover, preserve and celebrate your family history for many more.
From the February 2005 Family Tree Magazine