I'm going to make the jump - but would like to be pointed in theright direction. Canon, Nikon, etc... It's mainly for pics of mykids. Lots of indoor pics and family photos..
In reality, very little result in quality of outcome between any of the established brands. Don't fall into the trap of believing that more MP is by definition a good thing - for family photos, anything from 6mp upwards is fine: in fact for indoor pics for which you might want to use high ISO and no flash, lower MP sensors may give better (i.e. less 'noisy', i.e. less grainy) results..
I have Pentax K100D which would serve your purposes admirably. But other brands have equivalent offerings. For your purposes I think it's perfectly sensible to chose on the basis of the ergonomics, how the camera handles, and how you like the control interface: you will get a lot of high-flown advice about 'buying into the right lens system' etc. - but this only matters if you're going to take your interest several stages more advanced. And in any case all the manufacturers have a perfectly adequate lens line-up for most amateurs..
Don't restrict your investigations just to Canon and Nikon. Pentax, Olympus and Sony are just as good, maybe better in some respects..
Any of the low-end DSLRs would be perfect really. Canon and Nikon cost a bit more, but you get a huge array of lenses which it sounds like you don't need right now. Look for one with a kit lens such as 17-55mm, and do yourself a favour and get an external flash. Don't rely on the in-bulit flash as your photos will end up looking not all that much better than a point & shoot. Of course that's a huge generalisation, but bouced or better-still off-camera flash are probably the thing that will make the most difference to your pictures. Don't worry about megapixels - anything with 6MP or higher is just fine for family pictures.
I'm a Nikon girl, so I'd be looking at the D40/D60, but the Canon 350D or 400D, Olympus E-410, Pentax K100 or K200, or Sony A200 whould be right up your street. Just don't forget that external flash!.
I just bought a D40 2 weeks ago and love it. It is my first DSLR. It is very easy to use and will take great pictures right out of the box. One of the things that made me get the D40 was the feel. It fits my hand very well. I would go to a camera shop and actually hold each of the cameras you are looking at. All of them will take great pictures...
I have the Olympus E300 and Nikon D50. Both excellent cameras, though a bit older. Point is,entry level DSLR's are pretty much equal. In addition to the aforementioned camera, aslo consider the Oly E510. Like the Pentax and Sony offerings, it also has in-body image stabilization, Live View, as well as many other excellent features.Sufficiently confused now? ;>)shinndigghttp://www.pbase.com/shinndigg..
The Entry Level DSLR market is crowded with excellent cameras, so I don't think you can go too far long. If your on a strict budget, an older model Nikon (the D40) or Canon (Rebel XT) will sell for under $500. Going up in price to the newest models will add features, some more useful than others. Extra megapixels won't be of that much value unless your regularly making very large (think 16" x 20" or larger) prints, so look more at what new features will be valuable..
Some of the new models include optical Image Stabilization, which can be a big benefit if you'll be shooting in low light. In some cases this is built into the camera body, in other cases it's part of the "kit" lens that's included with the camera..
Some of the newer models have "Live View" options, which is useful for macro work or when you won't be shooting at eye level, and makes the camera work more like a compact camera when shooting..
Most new DSLR also have sensor dust removal systems, which will save you the hassle of cleaning the sensor, altough this is more of an issue if you plan on changing lenses on a regular basis..
Of current models:.
Nikon D60: Great all around camera, no live view, stabilized lens included in kit.
Canon Rebel 450: a bit pricier, stabilized lens in kit, live view (no review yet).
Olympus E-410: a bit quirkier design, but good for a more experience photographerPentax K200D:no live view, in body stabilization, weather sealingSony A300: live view with articulating screen, in body stabilization.
Lots of options out there.....