Resolution Check-Up–Making Them Stick, by Juliana Smith

I imagine that many of you are probably asking yourself, “Why is she asking me about my resolutions already? I just made them two weeks ago.” Well, as several articles pointed out, a majority of New Year’s resolutions fail by month’s end. The statistics vary from article to article, but as someone who has failed many a resolution, I have to say they’re probably right. So while the year is still young, let’s take a closer look at ways we can make this year’s resolutions stick!

Break It Down
In my January 1 column, I mentioned writing down your resolutions and posting it on your calendar with a reminder to check in every so often. By recording your goals, you can hold yourself to them and are more likely to succeed.

As I looked over my list, I noticed that they were a bit vague. “Overhaul office.” When I looked around my office, my first thought was, “Overhaul office? OK, where should I place the dynamite?” (Yep, it was that bad!) Continue reading

It was a Digital Holiday! by Maureen Taylor

I don’t know about you, but I thought I heard the sorrowful sound of “Taps” being played for film cameras during this holiday season. I recently did a lot of seasonal visiting and everyone I saw had a new digital camera. My neighbor is perplexed by the options on hers, but a friend’s teen began snapping pictures as soon as she took the device out of the box. There’s a bit of a generation gap when it comes to these new-fangled gadgets.

If you didn’t find a camera under your tree or in your stocking, it’s time to think about joining the digital photo revolution. I’ve owned a digital camera for years and enjoy every second of it. Now I’m considering upgrading to a better model due to affordable pricing and extra incentives like free printers. Here’s some New Year’s advice, based on my own experiences, for anyone overwhelmed by digital photography. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Start the New Year Right! from Maureen Taylor

Do you have an up-to-date listing of all your relatives and friends? Whether you use an electronic contact program or an old fashion address book, the beginning of the year is a great time to update those addresses and phone numbers. It’s easy to lose someone. All it takes is a single move and a busy life. Set aside an hour to go through your holiday cards and double-check the return addresses with the ones on your list. Next time you have a family history inquiry you’ll know exactly where to find your relatives.

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Your Quick Tips, 15 January 2007

Location, Location, Location
I have noticed from several message boards that people researching their ancestry often get confused over locations and the relationships between them. I have used the following strategies with great effect in my research.

A very useful map site is which, as well as allowing you to see an old and modern map of a place (plus an aerial view, but not in Scotland!) has the added benefit of giving you the modern postcode.

You can then use the postcodes of two locations to use a facility such as that provided by the AA to establish geographical links between places. This is particularly useful for those overseas because getting a sense of scale for the British Isles is not always easy.

One other tip is NOT to trust the spelling of place names even when looking at the original census returns from Scotland as these were completed by English ‘speakers’ ignorant of the Gaelic spelling of many place names.

However, if you search for a place name within a census it will provide you with an indication of the size of the settlement, and scrolling through the inhabitants can save time as other relations can often be located with ease.

That’s three quick tips for the price of one!

Peter Kerr Continue reading

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The Year Was 1837

The year was 1837 and upon the death of William IV, at the young age of eighteen, the daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent, fourth son of George III, was crowned Queen of England. Queen Victoria would go on to rule until her death in 1901, a reign of nearly sixty-four years–the longest in British history.

There was unrest in Canada as struggles between ruling parties, which were typically wealthy businessmen, and farmers seeking a voice in the government. The 1837 Rebellion in Lower Canada was led by French assembly leader, Louis-Joseph Papineau. Another rebellion in Upper Canada was promoted by William Lyon Mackenzie, a newspaperman seeking reform. Both were ultimately defeated, but they led the British government to make reforms in colonial rule.

In the U.S., Martin Van Buren was sworn in as Andrew Jackson’s successor as president. Following a period of growth, the financial policies of the previous administration were about to explode into one of the worst depressions in U.S. history. As banks called in loans, panic set in and unemployment went up. For an interesting look at the financial situation as told in a lecture from 1876, see this excerpt from Reminiscences of Early Chicago.  Continue reading

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Photo Corner

 Nellie Reynolds Stanley, Tecumseh, Michigan (1865-1899).Contributed by Hedy Weston
This is a photo of my great-great-grandmother, Nellie Reynolds Stanley, Tecumseh, Michigan (1865-1899).

Click on the image to enlarge it. 

Elizabeth (Matier) Wilson, and her mother-in-law, Josephine (Murray) Wilson, ca. 1890

Contributed by Roger W. Wilson
The attached image is from a tintype taken circa 1890. The two ladies are my grandmother, Elizabeth (Matier) Wilson, and her mother-in-law, Josephine (Murray) Wilson, probably at one of the camping areas along the Hudson River near Montgomery, N.Y. 

Indiana Historical Society Teaches Techniques for Preserving Original Family Documents

Members of the community interested in learning how to take care of their original family documents at an upcoming preservation workshop presented by the Indiana Historical Society. How to Preserve Original Family Documents will be offered twice on Friday, Feb. 2, with sessions available at times of 9 a.m.-Noon and 1-4 p.m. The workshops will take place at the Indiana History Center, located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis. Continue reading

Descendant of John Rolfe and Pocahantas to Speak at NGS Conference in the States & Family History Fair


Arlington, VA.  9 January, 2007.  Richard (Dick) Cheatham, a descendant of John Rolfe and Pocahantas, will provide a “Welcome to the Virginia Colony”  to attendees at the National Genealogical Society banquet at the NGS Conference in the States & Family History Fair on Friday 18th May 2007 at the Richmond Marriott Hotel.

Appearing in the character and dress of John Rolfe, Cheatham, a 14th generation descendant of John Rolfe and Pocahontas, will provide the same welcome that John Rolfe would have given to new arrivals to Jamestown. Rolfe will talk about many of the important events that preceded their arrival and about many of the important individuals who played a part in the founding of Jamestown in 1607 and during the next several years. At the end of his presentation, he will answer questions that John Rolfe would not have been able to answer. Continue reading

Ancestry Press Release: Ancestry Adds German Census and Port Records

Rhineland-Palatinate, GermanyAncestry has released new data for those seeking their German roots. Click here to browse all of the German content (available to Ancestry World Deluxe and members).



New Collection Opens the Door for Largest Ethnic Group in the U.S. to Discover Their Family Stories Online; Fifteen Percent of Americans Claim German Descent

PROVO, UTAH – January 9, 2007 –, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced the addition of more than six million names from German port and census records to its historical records collection, making the central online source for German family history. The German records launched simultaneously on,’s first foreign-language, international sister-site.

With more than 42 million Americans claiming German heritage, the launch of German historical records and creates an unprecedented networking opportunity for Germans and German-Americans to collaborate, upload and share family trees, photos, stories and other historical content from their personal accounts on both and  Continue reading