Out on a Limb

By David A. Fryxell Premium

Creating magazines is a lot like doing genealogy — only in reverse. In the magazine-publishing world you’re always looking forward. So, for example, it’s right before Thanksgiving and the premiere issue of Family Tree Magazine has been on newsstands for only a few weeks as I write this. But you’ll be reading this in the future, after the first week in February, when the new millennium has already arrived (mathematical and historical nitpickers notwithstanding) and we’ve survived the dawn of Y2K (or not, in which case perhaps you’re reading this by candlelight).

In genealogy, by contrast, we’re always imagining ourselves into the past: What was it like for Great-Grandpa to come over from Italy? Who is the missing link in the chart who must have been born sometime between 1810 and 1815? What could have become of those courthouse records after 1867?

So look backward with me, genealogy-style, from where you stand in 2000 to the first weeks of November, way back in 1999. Here’s some of the “history” you’d uncover:

• The interest in our premiere issue was overwhelming. Many bookstores and newsstands sold out, and our staff fielded calls and e-mails from would-be readers who’d scoured their cities for a copy. Newspapers from Atlanta to Milwaukee to Denver wrote about Family Tree Magazine‘s debut.

• Our Web site <>, which launched a month before the print magazine, was also an instant hit. Yahoo! selected it as a “Daily Pick,” and users came back again and again to tap the site’s powerful SuperSearch, check out the constantly updated content and use the free Web-based e-mail (

• Readers loved the new magazine. One reader who picked up Family Tree Magazine at the Los Angeles airport was so enthusiastic he e-mailed his praises right from the gate via wireless phone.

• Almost everyone who wrote wanted to know: How often will Family Tree Magazine be published? And how can you subscribe?

The good news for those of you who are already in the year 2000 is that answers to both of those questions are at hand. Beginning with the next issue, Family Tree Magazine will be published every other month; watch for the May/June issue on newsstands April 11. And the charter subscription offer for Family Tree Magazine is inside this very issue — look for the “blow-in” card or for the cards bound into the magazine. You can also subscribe online at our Web site.

The future for Family Tree Magazine, at least as it looks from my vantage point back here in the past, is bright and exciting. We’re looking forward to helping you discover, preserve and celebrate your family’s history — and to looking backward, together, to how our families all got here and now from there and then.

In the meantime, please save me a candle — just in case.

From the April 2000 issue of Family Tree Magazine