Friday, January 8, 2016

Unpacking That Packing List

In just a few days, I'll be in Salt Lake City, diligently wrapping my mind around the terms and tools of genetic genealogy at SLIG. I'm primed for the week's discoveries, and I'm hoping I'll return home with handy insights to apply to specific family history challenges. Not to mention, I'll be within walking distance of the number one genealogical repository in the world. With proximity like that, surely I'll be able to squeeze in some library time.

In the meantime, my mind has turned to much more mundane pursuits—like, what to pack for the trip. Somewhere in a twisty nether region of my brain, a nagging thought reminds me that I once read a blog post on the practical things people wish they had packed when headed to the nation's premier genealogical library.

Where to find that? I have no idea where I might have saved that article. Now, what? Why, Google the answer, of course!

Oh, that Google would always be the be-all-end-all final word to our every question. Or, perhaps it is my unfortunate proclivity to respond favorably to any and all rabbit trails presented. If nothing else, Google will provide the willing and able with sufficient material for bunny trail diversions.

So, here, for those of you who might be interested in the trivia of what else to bring along with your week's wardrobe and all the obvious technological paraphernalia, is a brief tour of some useful findings.

Dayna Jacobs' generic packing list at On Granny's Trail reminded me to bring a flash drive and extra batteries.

Though making her recommendations on Genealogy Decoded for another, regional, library, Beth Foulk's reminder that a first stop at the front desk to request an orientation tour is a well-spent investment.

Thomas MacEntee's article in the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner blog provides a list covering a broad spectrum of suggestions regarding research travel in "What to Pack for Family History Research Trip." The "oh, duh" reminders I needed there were to print and bring all my travel confirmation numbers as well as all my subscription accounts and passwords. With all the accounts I've opened and recently uploaded—from the Family Tree DNA accounts for my family to our new AncestryDNA accounts and the GEDmatch accounts—there's no way they'd all stick in my memory.

Though terribly outdated with its laughable advice about floppy discs,'s "Packing for a Genealogical Journey" provided food for thought with its suggestions on considering surge protectors and extension cords—and labeling what you bring with your name and contact information. The author's suggestion about getting a cobbler's apron—for its one virtue of providing multiple pockets for the inevitable stuff of the research process—makes sense. If nothing else, it encourages me to make sure I have something with plenty of pockets for the knick knacks of the researcher's day.

Another older post reminded me to be sure to pack pencils—a tool I seldom use—plus file folders and business cards. Oh, yeah: those.

A more recent post reminds me of the practical tactic, while in the Family History Library, of searching the family history books first, as they are least likely to be loaned out to local Family History Centers. And label your copy cards. Advice thanks to lessons learned!

For boots on the ground surveillance, though, you can't beat my favorite professional organizer—Janine Adams of Organize Your Family History—who wrote up a pre- and post-visit blog series about her research trip to the Midwest Genealogy Center. Among her practical prompts were a reminder to take more than one pair of reading glasses and to include post-it notes in my pockets of research knick knacks—for the pages from those family history books I might want to photocopy.

But where was that blog post I was seeking—the one with the reminder to bring peanut M&Ms for those brain-fading moments in mid-afternoon? (See how I remember all the important stuff?) If that was your blog post, I sincerely hope you stand up and let us all take notice. I really would like to know what else was in that article. It is, after all, time to pack.






    1. I believe you've got it, Iggy! Or at least something quite close (at least with peanut M&Ms)...

  2. Replies
    1. I considered taking that camera--thought long and hard about it. In the end, it didn't make the cut. I'm not the shutterbug in our family, and definitely not the techy person to download photos for instant inclusion in the blog.

      I did wish I could have taken a picture of the sunset here the other night--but when I looked long and hard at the components of that shot, realized there was so much smog up against the mountains as to likely make the scene too hazy to appreciate by proxy. Sometimes, ya just have to be there...


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