Your Quick Tips, 14 January 2008

Using Google Maps for GPS Coordinates
There was a recent article on “Researching the Landscape” where photos were taken of the surrounding landscape where some family grew up or came from in the area (
I have been looking up places where there were villages or small towns on Google Maps and recording them as a website link. This actually gives the GPS coordinates for small plots of ground and even graveyards you can see. Many people are using GPS today in travel and other endeavors, and with these links, shared by blog or e-mail, they can travel to within a few yards of any given location. These can also be stored on the site for each family name in a “collection.”
Dr. Cohagan
Bentonville, AR

Getting More Mileage from Christmas “Brag Letters”
I like the idea of using information from Christmas brag letters in your family history notes, but here’s another idea. What should I do with all those Christmas letters? Store them in a book along with your own Christmas letters, and that collection becomes a yearly journal. Use plastic top-loading pockets in a three-ring binder and slip all letters and pictures inside for each family. Affix a white label to the pocket with the family name and alphabetize the pockets. During the year, add additional letters and school pictures.

You can collect for years, and when one of the children graduates (perhaps the youngest), present him with a collection of pictures or letters about his family, or even make the child a scrapbook as a gift. Most people throw these things away or don’t keep them in an organized place.

Sylvia Hott Sonneborn
York, Pennsylvania

Scan Census Entries by Age or Birthplace
If you have an index entry for someone in the census, and the entry lists his age, you may find him most quickly by looking down the “age” column. If you look for him in the “name” column, you will have to decipher the names of up to 100 people. But if you look in the “age” column, you probably will find only a few matches, and can then check the names to find the right individual. The same is true if you know that the man for whom you are searching was born in a state or country that most people in his neighborhood were not–for example, a man born in Minnesota but living in Iowa. You may be able to find him fastest by looking at the “Place of birth” column to find him. This is also a useful tactic if you have no option but to go through an entire county looking for someone.

Elsie Kay

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One thought on “Your Quick Tips, 14 January 2008

  1. Great Ideas. I have lots of my grandparents cards and letters yet to go thru–so this idea of placing the letters etc in plastic pouches in a binder will make the task less daunting and much easier for research. Thanks for the research tips.

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