Out on a Limb: Year One

By David A. Fryxell Premium

This issue marks the first year of publication for Family Tree Magazine. I want to thank you, our readers, for making Family Tree Magazine far and away America’s most popular family history magazine.

As we developed this new magazine, we became convinced that genealogists deserved a magazine as good as any other “special interest” publication. Why should skin divers, teddy-bear collectors and hot rodders all have handsome, four-color magazines with photos and illustrations by the best in the business — but not genealogists? The family history field had many fine research-oriented journals, but no magazine with how-to information written and edited to the standards of, say, National Geographic or American Heritage.

That was our vision. Not to be immodest, but we believed we were uniquely suited to make it a reality. We had more than 80 years of experience creating how-to magazines such as Writer’s Digest and The Artist’s Magazine. We already had the best authors in the genealogy field in our Betterway Books imprint. Among the Betterway authors you’ve already seen are Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, Emily Anne Croom, Kathleen Hinckley, Maureen Taylor, Chris Anderson, Ernie Thode, Paul Milner, Linda Jonas, Paula and James Warren, and Marcia Yannizze Melnyk. In this issue, Carmack gets you started tracing your immigrant and ethnic roots, Croom shows how to tap the resources of the US government, and Taylor keeps your scrapbooking safe.

We also reached beyond the genealogy field to recruit some of America’s finest authors and most famous faces to share their family history: Angela’s Ashes author Frank McCourt, former astronaut and US Sen. John Glenn, October Sky author Homer Hickam Jr., The Color of Water author James McBride, New Yorker writer Bobbie Ann Mason, Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene and his sister and co-author, D.G. Fulford. In this issue, Richard Paul Evans reveals the family history behind his best-selling The Christmas Box.

So, one year later, did it all work as we’d hoped? Well, Samir Husni — aka “Mr. Magazine” — picked Family Tree Magazine as one of the year’s most notable new magazines. Newsstands sold out of issue after issue. When we started offering magazine subscriptions online, we got more orders in the first month than we’d expected in the first year.

But the best evidence that we’re doing something right comes from you, the readers. Your letters and e-mails tell us we’re on target, that every issue helps put you in touch with your past. We appreciate your support, and will endeavor to continue to deserve it.

Not that we’re resting on our laurels. In fact, a brand-new spinoff publication — Family Tree Yearbook 2001 — will soon be hitting newsstands. This annual special edition is a fact-packed compendium of all the essential resources you need to find your roots and celebrate your heritage. Think of it as the yellow pages of the genealogy world.

Look for Family Tree Yearbook 2001 on newsstands nationwide Nov. 14. (Subscribers, please note that this special publication is not included in your subscription for six bimonthly issues.) You’ll also be able to order it on our Web site or by calling toll-free (800) 289-0963. We hope you’ll agree that it’s a great way to kick off our second year of helping you discover, preserve and celebrate your family history.

From the December 2000 issue of Family Tree Magazine