Maintaining the Balance: Budgeting for Success

I don’t know anyone who has an endless supply of funds to spend on family history, but like most pursuits, searching for your ancestors costs money. Whether it be in the form of office supplies, subscriptions, books, copies, documents, travel expenses (a major consideration with gas prices where they are!) or technology, we have to budget available funds and pick and choose what will take us furthest. Here are some ideas to help you get the most from your genealogical dollar. Continue reading

Maintaining the Balance: Finding Time

clock.bmpOver the past few months, I’ve felt completely off balance. I’m not talking in a physical sense.  It’s more a statement of life in general.  There have been quite a few changes going on, some temporary and some permanent, and my usual routine has gone out the window. With things settling down a bit and a new routine slowly falling into place, I’m seeking to regain that balance, and as I do so, I’m looking for ways to fit my family history research back into my life.

There are several ways that we need to balance our lives and family history. There are considerations of time and money spent, as well as space considerations for the documentation that accumulates. Over the course of the next week, I thought I’d examine some ways I try to achieve balance when it comes to time, expense and space.

Finding time is probably the biggest problems I face these days. My workload has increased both at home and in my office. In addition, with the end of the school year approaching, my PTA work has picked up significantly with end of the year events and planning for next year. Here are some ways I hope to squeeze some extra time in for my family history. Continue reading

Photo Corner: Michael Sullivan, possibly in Troy, New York

Michael Sullivan, possibly in Troy, NYSo far we’ve had one successful connection through the Photo Corner.  Let’s hope someone out there recognizes this one too!  

This pic is signed, Michael Sullivan. Possibly taken in Troy, NY. I am not able to trace my grandmother, Annia E. Sullivan in Troy or Ireland. This Michael may be a nephew of hers. She left Troy about 1890, came to Butte, MT.

Bette Larsen 

(Click on the image to enlarge it to full size.)

Book and Movie Club: Went to Kansas

Today’s book review:

I suggest Went To Kansas.  As the title page suggests, it is “a thrilling account of an ill-fated expedition” to Kansas.  It illustrates some of the scams and resulting frustrations and hardships pioneer families experienced in a search for a better life.
The work is by Mrs. Miriam Davis Colt and describes her family’s move to Kansas from New York in the 1850′s.  Incidentally, the book was published by the Laura Ingalls publishing company in 1862.
The book is available on-line at:

Jack Coffee

The Third Edition of “The Source” has Gone to Press!

The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy, third edition, was sent to press on 7 April. Originally published in 1984 (as Ancestry’s first product), The Source won the prestigious ALA Best Reference Award and was revised last in 1997. It is the foundation that all other, Inc. properties have built upon. This new edition comes in at a whopping 992 pages, will sell for $79.95, and will debut at the National Genealogical Conference in June.

The Source, it is the ultimate guidebook for family historians, offering detailed instruction and tips on topics like census research, court records, military records, immigration records and much, much more. Loretto “Lou” Szucs (, Inc VP, Community Relations) and Sandra Luebking once again co-edited the massive project, and thirty-one genealogical experts contributed text in 20 chapters and 6 appendices.  Following is a list of the chapters and contributors to the publication.

Congratulations to all the authors and the editorial staff at who labored to produce this world-class publication! Continue reading

Is Your Filing Up-to-Date? by George G. Morgan

Aha! SeminarsI ask this question at every genealogy seminar I present and, without exception, only one or perhaps two people respond that they have filed all the genealogical evidence they have acquired. It’s easy to locate information, enter it into our genealogy databases, and simply set the materials aside to file later. In my case, I maintain two file folders in a file cabinet. One is labeled “Genealogy Data to Be Reviewed and Entered” and that contains the materials to be scrutinized and, if appropriate, added into the database, complete with source citations, of course. The other folder is labeled “Genealogy Materials to Be Filed.” These are the materials already entered into the database. Needless to say, if these files are out of sight, they are easily forgotten.

It is essential to get caught up on your filing and to maintain a regular schedule for doing this task. Otherwise, when you want to locate a source document it can become a frustrating game of “hide and seek.” Continue reading

1841 UK Census Now Available at

The 1841 UK Census has arrived, creating a complete England and Wales Census Collection at For the first time ever, you can find information on your British ancestors living between 1841 and 1901–all in one convenient place on the web.

This new addition allows you to search 16 million names in the earliest standardized England and Wales census–the first census in British history that includes more than just a statistical count. It includes details about your British ancestors’ birthplaces, homes, immediate family members, occupations and more.

The every-name index is linked to more than images of the actual census with information about people in your family line. Information collected in this enumeration includes:

  • Location (county, city/town, street name)
  • Name of each Person who abode therein the preceding Night.
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Profession, Trade, Employment, or of Independent Means
  • Whether Born in same County
  • Whether born in Scotland, Ireland, or Foreigh Parts

Start searching the following collections now:

1841 England Census

1841 Wales Census

1841 Channel Islands Census

1841 Isle of Man Census

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Weekly Planner: Create a Search “Cheat Sheet”

When we’re searching databases for those hard-to-find ancestors, we often find ourselves rotating in any number of variations for that surname, and it’s easy to lose track. Create a list of surname variations, along with the Soundex codes for each. Keep the list handy by your computer and then just go down the list to get a more complete search than just entering names at random. It serves as a reminder so you don’t miss anything and also makes it easier to log what names and variations you’ve searched for.