Saturday, August 22, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Disaster Genealogy Go Bag

The topic for today's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is one I should think about more often but don't, so it's probably a good thing that Randy Seaver posted about it.

Here is your assignment, if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music, please!):

1. Thank you for this topic to Jacqi Stevens for her post today on Your Genealogy Go Bag on her blog A Family Tapestry.

2. My daughter Lori evacuated her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Tuesday due to a large fire.  Am I, or are you, prepared to react to a local disaster like a fire, earthquake, hurricane, or civil unrest?  

3. That prompted me to worry about "what genealogy/family history items would I take with me if I had 15 minutes to collect them?"

4. Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook post, or as a comment on this blog post.

Am I ready for a local disaster?  Not in the slightest.

I have stuff still scattered around the house from when I moved to Oregon three years ago.  I have far too many boxes that are not yet unpacked.  So I don't actually know where all the unique and important items I would want to grab and put in a go bag are.  But I can try to come up with a list of what I should look for.

• My desktop computer and Mac laptop are older and can be sacrificed.  My PC laptop is only a couple of years old and very portable, so that should go with me.  I do remote back-ups of my files on a regular basis, but I don't think everything is being backed up, so I need to check on that.

• Most of the books and periodicals I own can be replaced.  I do have some very uncommon, if not unique, items that I should have in a location where I could take them quickly.

• Most of my genealogy research is not digitized.  By coincidence, unrelated to any discussion of Randy's post, I was talking with my boyfriend today about beginning a digitization project for all those documents.  It only came up because he would love to see the papers gone, but hey, inspiration can come from all sorts of different situations.

• I do have many original certificates among all that research, however (which I warned him about).  So those should be separated out for quick accessibility.

• Photos, photos, and more photos!  And slides even!  I actually have digitized a good portion of my family photographs, but certainly not all of them, and none of the slides.  In addition, I would not choose to sacrifice many of the original photos if I could avoid it.  Some are unique.  So they need to be prepped for a quick departure also.

• I have only a very small number of items that equate to "family heirlooms", but most aren't easily transportable.  My grandmother's Passover china set is not a grab-and-go kind of thing.  My great-grandmother's silverplate flatwear would be easier to take with me if I kept all the pieces in the case, but I use them regularly.  Hmm, I have to think about how to handle that.

• The one earring I have left that was my great-grandmother's (because someone stole the second, along with a necklace she had made for me) I also count as an heirloom.  I have a few pieces of jewelry that were my mother's and grandmother's that are special.  Those are easy to collect together.

• One collection of items that isn't here but that is important to me to have saved is my father's racing trophies.  They are currently at my stepbrother's in Houston, which is prone to its own natural disasters.  As with my grandmother's china, the trophies are not something easy to grab and go when an emergency occurs.  But they are unique and an important part of my family history.  I'm still trying to figure out a way to curate them.

Well, that's what I can think of related to genealogy.  It looks as though I have some work to do!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Did You Or Your Children Know Their Great-Grandparents?

I'm going to broaden the scope of this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun question from Randy Seaver so I can have a more interesting post.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music) is:

(1) Did you or your children know their great-grandparents?  

(2) Tell us in your own blog post, in comments to this post, or in comments on Facebook.  As always, please leave a link to your work in Comments.

As I've mentioned before, I have no biological children of my own, so if I restricted this question to exactly as asked, it would be a really short post.  Therefore I'm going to expand it a little.

First, neither I nor my siblings knew any of our great-grandparents.  The closest any of us came is the story that I was told not only by my mother but also by my father, that my mother flew with me to Florida when I was but a babe in arms so that her grandmother — my great-grandmother, Sarah Libby (Brainin) Gordon — could see me.  Unfortunately, there is no proof of this visit that I have yet found, even though my grandfather routinely took all sorts of family photos.  How he missed the opportunity to get four generatiosn of women together in one photo is beyond me.  One of these days (soon, obviously) I need to ask some of my cousins on that side of the family, who still live in the Miami area, if they remember this momentous visit.  Anyway, as it stands, it's a story with no documentation.

The only other great-grandparent who survived to when my two siblings and I were alive was my father's paternal grandmother, Laura May (Armstrong) Sellers Ireland, known later in life as Nanny Ireland.  After I began doing family history research, I discovered that Nanny Ireland had lived to 1970.  That was before my family moved to Australia.  We had made some trips back east to visit family, but it was always my mother's family.  My father was not close to his family, so we never visited them.  And that meant we did not meet his grandmother.  When I learned that we had missed that opportunity, I was a little annoyed, but it was way too late to do anything about it at that point.

Keeping this in my generation, I'm not sure if any of my sister's children met a great-grandparent.  The only one who could have would have been her son Garry, who was born in 1983.  My paternal grandfather died in 1985.  Stacy might have brought Garry with her on a trip to Florida, and he might have met Grampa.

But if we take it one additional generation, we have a definite positive.  Stacy's granddaughter, Natalie, absolutely met her great-grandfather — my father.  So by manipulating this challenge just a little (okay, quite a bit), I finally have one positive result!

This photo, from the family reunion/birthday party I coordinated in 2015, includes my father and my grandniece.  My brain seems to be mush at the moment, because I have blanked on how to draw circles around each of them using Photoshop.  My father is on the far left wearing the blue and white shirt.  My stepmother is to his right in the photo, wearing a yellow blouse.  My grandniece is behind her with her back to the camera.  So I have documentation of my story!