These Are a Few More of My Favorite Things, by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG

Do you remember Julie Andrews singing the words from that song in Sound of Music? I just found the full lyrics online and am amazed that the words don’t include the things I am thinking about as I write this. What are those things for me? I love the hugs of the grandchildren, soft pillows, remotes for the TV, radio, and the garage door–and so many people and things that I am blessed to have in my life.

Then there are the items related to my passion about family history. I recently listed some of my favorite electronic things on my blog. That list was short and I have some more that you may not know about or use often enough.

Custom Printing at Ancestry
Ancestry recently added a “free and easy customized printing” option for images, which now pops up when you hit the print button in the advanced viewer. I was able to crop, enlarge, and add notations (besides doing some other tailoring) to my image before I printed it. Additionally, the image now has a source citation!

Drouin Collection
I recently found another sibling of one of my maternal third great-grandmothers using the Drouin Collection at Ancestry. I am also putting together more siblings for that grandmother’s French-Canadian husband. His family frequently changed parishes. As of now, these Quebec vital and church records from 1621-1967 have 29 million names indexed and 8 million more will be added later this year. Another reason to keep checking back in databases. Also, the Drouin Collection is not limited to French-Canadians. This child I found has an English, German, and Irish background.

High-Speed Internet
If this service is not in your budget now, put it higher on the list of desired items. Today’s websites and databases are heavy with graphics and information that is excruciatingly slow with dial-up access. You save a lot of time and frustration. I value this more than cable TV. This is an important tool for those not able to get out to libraries, conferences, and archives. Hint to loved ones that a nice birthday or other special day gift would be a check to pay for several months of the service.

I also love networked wireless electronics that enable me to sit in one room with my laptop computer and print in another room. The wireless also allows not having to be tethered to a cable in order to work on my computer when I want to sit in the recliner and put my feet up.

Photo Screensaver
I have a computer screensaver that allows me to see the smiling faces of family, friends, and other special people whenever my computer is inactive for a while. It is easy to add pictures to the special folder I keep in Pictures and add the newest version of the folder to the computer screen under Start>Control Panel>Display>Screensaver.
I use for automatically backing up all that is on my computer. I have been using it since September 2007. And before you have a chance to ask, I also use two external hard drives for backup. This online service has 2GB of 100 percent free backup space for you. As they say, “No setup fee, no credit cards, no monthly payments, no expiration.” Unlimited backup services are also available for a reasonable fee. 

What’s New Page
“What’s New” at reminds me about databases I need to check. Yes, Juliana does a great job here telling us about new features in the Ancestry Weekly Journal and on the 24/7 Family History Circle blog, but she does not have unlimited space. She does give us a live link to View a list of all new and updated databases and one to Learn more about what’s new at, but do you click on these periodically? I have found some neat things this way. I may have read about a new or updated database, but did not make a note to check it or may not have needed it at the time. These links refresh my memory and add other things to my “to do” list.

Exhibit Halls
Exhibit Halls at conferences draw me, my checkbook, and that plastic card. I spent some money at the recent National Genealogical Society Conference in Kansas City and am already making my list for the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference this coming September. To learn what vendors and organizations will be at such conferences, check the conference websites for Exhibit Hall maps and lists of vendors. I do purchase some books and software online, but like to support those businesses and organizations that pay for a booth and haul all that material to a conference or seminar just for us. We need to support their efforts so they can continue to do this.

Extra Computer Monitor
I’ve hooked up an extra computer monitor that allows me to sit at my computer and add information to my genealogical software database while viewing full page images from on the other screen. A friend gave me an extra monitor, but you may be able to find a used one at a computer store selling used and refurbished electronics or at one of the online auction or sale sites that offer bargains.

Search Engines
Search engines and search boxes on websites that help me find websites to help with my genealogical research. I like to plug in keywords along with the names to help out my search. For example, if looking for my Copping family, besides just typing “Copping” I add “Rawdon (Canada)” or “Hatfield Broad Oak” (the name of an English parish). By using search terms such as “railroad” combined with a place, I learn the history of railroads in that place. On a library catalog such as WorldCat I can find books about places where ancestors resided.

Life Is Good
We are fortunate to be living in a time where we have so many tools to assist us in finding and preserving our family history. Other tools like the microwave oven give us more time to spend finding out about our ancestors and their lives. Ah, inventors, entrepreneurs, think tanks, developers, and others–thank you from today’s world.

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Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, a Minnesota resident, is a professional genealogist, consultant, writer, and lecturer who is frequently on-the-road. She coordinates the American Records Course at the annual Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. She writes for several periodicals including “Ancestry” Magazine. Comments and additions to her columns will reach her at < [email protected]> or via her blog She regrets that she is unable to answer individual inquiries due to the volume of requests. From time to time, comments from readers may be quoted in her writings. Your name will not be used, but your place of residence might be listed (i.e., Watertown, Wisconsin).
Appearances by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
(I enjoy meeting fellow genealogists at these events so please introduce yourself as an Ancestry Weekly Journal and 24/7 Family History Circle reader. Many of you do take me up on this suggestion!)

One thought on “These Are a Few More of My Favorite Things, by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG

  1. I noticed the reference to the
    “free and easy customized printing” option, a feature I did not remember seeing before. I checked it out, and seems to be available only if I log in through the U.S. site, but not through the U.K or Australian site. Is there a reason for this? I have tried loading the latest edition of the reader, but no change.

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