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!


  1. You definitely need to create a plan and stick to it. I had started creating a photo collection, scanning and organizing, and then a child returned home for a visit and it was put away (she need to sleep on my work space ;-).

    1. Well, I'm going to be home a lot after my surgery on Tuesday, so I'll have plenty of time to work on creating the plan!

      If she needed to sleep on your work space, does that mean the work space was a bed? :)

    2. Yep. It's right next to my mini office I've carved out of their bedroom.

    3. But it's good to have them come home for visits, so that's a reasonable trade-off, right? :)

  2. Hi Janice, I agree with Lisa - you need a genealogy plan. My "must save" items are stored together and I have easy access to outside from the closet in which they live.

    1. I absolutely agree. I just haven't been able to find everything. That will be one of my tasks during my recovery period.


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