Your Quick Tips

Google Earth Before a Cemetery Trip
Although its fun to play with on its own, I’ve recently discovered how useful Google Earth ( can be in cemetery research, and in preparing for visits. Aside from just finding how to get to a cemetery, the satellite photos are great for zooming in to maximum detail. Images can be printed to bring with and use as a guide map when traversing confusing cemetery grounds. I mark the locations of found ancestors and make notes of locations where I’ve seen related surnames that need more investigation later. It’s the next best thing to a plot layout when the cemetery doesn’t have one available.

Joe Mann

Initial Searches
In using censuses, although rare, you can sometimes find people using initials in place of given names, especially if the person is an apprentice, patient, or prisoner.

Leaving out all names and using place names also works. I found a Smallpage family quite by chance as the index listed them as Sinallfoge, and only the correct place name with nothing else, turned up this family.

It is trickier in the 1841 census, where my Greathead family continue to have amazing variations in interpretation, “Ger*” and “Cre*” being two search alternatives under which I found them.

Ann Shuttleworth

Screen Photography Tips
Niki Moore provided a good tip when suggesting that a library monitor screen can be photographed to save the data rather than using the library printer (
However, if it is an older monitor, and if you are using a film camera, the shutter speed should be set to 1/30 of a second to match the scan rate of the monitor. As well, the use of a flash should be avoided since the burst of light could be reflected by the screen and the photo wouldn’t “take.”
Before shooting, check for reflections from overhead lights (or of yourself) on the screen, so that the picture is as clear as possible.
J. Sarniaise

If you have a suggestion you would like to share with other researchers, send it to: . Thanks to all of this week’s contributors!

Quick Tips may be reprinted, with credit to the submitter, in other Ancestry publications, so if you do not want your tip included in a publication other than the “Ancestry Weekly Journal,” please state so clearly in your message.

A printer-friendly version of this article can be found in the Library.



2 thoughts on “Your Quick Tips

  1. Joe,
    I was delighted you posted the Google Earth website but after I downloaded the free software I am unable to see buildings or cemeteries. Do we have to get a paid subscription to Google Earth in order to get detailed views?

  2. Google Earth images vary in resolution depending on the area, with big cities having better resolution. If the cemetery you’re interested in is in the countryside or a smaller city, you may not be able to view it up close. The Google FAQ page at says the following:

    The whole world is covered with medium resolution imagery and terrain data. This resolution allows you to see major geographic features and man-made development such as towns, but not detail of individual buildings. Additional high-resolution imagery which reveals detail for individual buildings is available for most of the major cities in the US, Western Europe, Canada, and the UK. 3D buildings are represented in 38 US cities (the major urban areas). Detailed road maps are available for the US, Canada, the UK, and Western Europe. And Google Local search is available for the US, Canada, and the UK.

    Google Earth combines data of different resolutions to offer a seamless viewing experience, and some locations may look a bit blurry. We offer high resolution imagery (greater than 1-meter per pixel which provides an aerial view of approximately 1500 feet) for thousands of cities and more are on the way.

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