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Putting family tree on paper

GENEALOGY Book traces ancestry

Mike Arndt researched his family history through books, photos and relatives' stories.

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Spotsylvania County resident compiles impressive family history

Date published: 2/18/2007


Lots of people compile family histories, but few produce a book that looks like an encyclopedia.

But Mike Arndt decided it would be pointless to stuff six years of research into a shoe box.

He'd asked countless relatives to share their lives in words and pictures. He'd visited five states to look at documents, yearbooks and journals. He'd assembled almost 500 pages of stories and more than 700 photos.

He spent $2,500 to have his work printed and bound with a dark-blue hardback cover. The title, "Our Family By Ourselves," is inscribed in thick, gold-leaf type.

"I kicked around the thought of printing it myself," said the Spotsylvania County resident and computer specialist. "But the printer told me, 'You're probably only going to do this once, so you might as well do it right.'"

That could be his motto--if the 51-year-old didn't already have one.

In the introduction, Arndt wrote about wanting to recognize his grandfather's service during World War II. But time slipped away and his grandfather died.

"Since then, I have lived by one credo: regret what you did, not what you didn't do," Arndt wrote. "If I hadn't done this book now, I would have regretted it until my dying day."

'A wonderful book'

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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