Your Quick Tips

Portland Maine Directories
I have been researching my ancestors who traveled to Portland from other areas and states. The Maine Directories have been a great help in finding these people. If someone has died, they list that person’s name and the exact date they passed away. They continue to list the widow or widower until they pass away, and then they list that death date.
The information shows the person’s name, address, and what he or she does for a living. It helps to fill in the gaps between the census years. I am so pleased with the information I have found there.
Barbara D. Edgar

Photo-Editing Tip for Two-Sided Documents
One way to keep print from the back of the page coming through is to save the image as a JPEG and in your photo-editing software take the saturation all the way down. It should work unless the print on back is very heavy. It also helps eliminate discoloration and water stains if they’re not too heavy. Don’t use this method if your document is in color. Adjusting the contrast can also help in some instances.

Laura Beam

Placing the Blame
In 1891, an ancestor of my husband, Dr. William Alonzo Stanton, compiled a fantastic family history of his ancestors Thomas and Anna Lord Stanton of Connecticut. The book today is such an important avenue of family research that we call it “a family bible.” What Dr. Stanton said in his introduction to the work is fascinating; he pulled no punches. In one paragraph, he warmly thanks those who aided him in his research. Then he said:
“For those who have refused all information, who have shown a total lack of any family historic spirit, and who have been repeatedly but vainly written to for facts in their possession, I have but this warning: Your refusal to aid in this work, just to that extent has made it a failure. When you discover the absence of your name or your family, or the inaccuracy of such items as could be “picked up” about you and yours from others, have at least the grace to place the blame where it belongs–on your own negligent head, and not on the author.”
In his final paragraph, he expressed the hope that “this book will be an incentive to the future preservation of family records” and he signed it, “I am your kinsman.”
Incidentally, the Stanton family prospered handsomely in the new world. Thomas learned Indian languages and became interpreter general for the Colonies, a marvelous story in itself.
Louise Hawley

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

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8 thoughts on “Your Quick Tips

  1. Working on a “Cousins Gathering” we wanted to give each cousin a notebook with as much family history as possible, including their immediate family information. We discovered several refused to give little more than their own names. Dr. Stanton’s statement is exactly what I needed. I shall have his quote ready when I’m asked, “Why is my book so lacking in information.” Thanks to Louise Hawley for sharing.

  2. I laughed out loud at reading Louise Hawley’s note. A few years ago, I was contacted by a distant relative researching the same family line as myself. He pumped me for information for well over an hour… by the end of the impromptu interview I was surrounded by stacks of my reference materials, all scattered in my haste to find important info for him. It took me several days to get everything back in order.
    The kicker? When I asked him for help on a few questions I had about this same line, he refused to share his own discoveries, stating that he would eventually be publishing them in a hardbound book that would be available to myself and others for purchase at the princely sum of $60. He felt his time spent researching was too valuable to “just give it away”!!!
    Needless to say, I haven’t returned any more of his calls. At least I have the small consolation of knowing I’m not the only one to experience this!

  3. Since I also have Thomas and Anna Lord Stanley in one of my lines, I was quite delighted to read the note from Louise Hawley! Thank you!

  4. Comment on urls such as Maine Connections. Please if it is a paying site, would you please state it as such. It is frustrating to wait for a site to load only to find it is useless to me. Thank you. Sue

  5. Laura Beam submitted a tip for copying two sided documents to prevent the back side from copying through.
    The method I use, with excellent results, is to simply lay a solid black cover over the back of the item being copied before scanning it. I personally secured a section of a black garbage bag over the lid of the scanner. Absolutely nothing from the back side of the scanned document shows through, which enhances the image being copied because of the full usage of the available light. Makes a world of difference in the optical character recognition of text documents.

  6. I was tickled when I read Louise Hawley’s note. As I work on my family’s history with very little to go on, I want to kick my family elders in the butt for being so “secretive” about family info. When I get to heaven, I will definitely have plenty to say!!!!

  7. I had to chuckle when I read Louise Hawley’s note about her ancestor and thought of own aunts have given me much the same treatment when asking for information. They are very interested in the result of the research, but aren’t willing to share their recollections and facts. I’m so hooked on Genealogy that it doesn’t stop me from researching on my own, it would just be easier with their help. Thanks for the laugh.

  8. I, too, have a great appreciation for the comment about relatives and not sharing information. Louise-I hope you don’t mind but I am quoting you (and your quite wise ancestor)in a little ditty I wrote at the beginning of my family tree that I print out for my family members. There are a few to whom the quote really does apply! Thank you for sharing!

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