Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Disaster Genealogy Go Bag

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver has a serious topic as this week’s theme, prompted by Jacqi Steven’s post.

Here is this week’s mission:

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.  That prompted me to worry about “what genealogy/family history items would I take with me if I had 15 minutes to collect them?”  Obviously, this pertains to any type of disaster (fire, tornado, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, civil unrest, etc.).

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?”

Having lived in California for decades, I know the danger of loss in fire or earthquakes. We always kept earth quake barrels in our garage, which had items I faithfully changed out and refreshed every six months.

Of course, my genealogy treasures were not in those barrels and I did wonder what would get saved in the event of a disaster.

Although Tucson is free from most of Mother Nature’s fury, except perhaps for monsoons, there is always the chance that a house fire could wreak havoc, so I have actually thought about what and how we would be able to save family history items.

1. I wouldn’t worry at all about anything on my computer, as it is professionally backed up in two separate locations in the cloud.

2. Although I have reference books on my shelves, those are all replaceable, so there really is nothing in my office that would be on the “save” list.

3. The first item to be saved would be the antique rocking chair that belonged to my 2X great grandmother, Nellie Tarbox Adams. It has passed down through the family to my great grandmother, Annie, my grandmother Hazel, my mother Doris and to me. As I used to rock my son in that chair, six generations of my family have sat in it. That would be taken from the bedroom out to the car and put in the back of my SUV.

4. Next, I’d grab the small jewelry boxes that have some sentimental items -, like my great grandfather’s watch when he worked for the railroad and my grandmother’s watch that she left to me when she passed away.

5. I have about 28 family albums, all stacked on shelves in a closet near the garage door. After the rocking chair, I’d be grabbing four or five albums at a time and tossing them in the back seat of my car. I could easily empty those shelves in under ten minutes.

6. The last item I would try to save is my great grandmother Annie’s Theodore Haviland china. It is about 125 years old and would be more problematic to move because the pieces are sitting on shelves in the kitchen and dining room. I do actually use the china on the holidays, so it isn’t packed away.

If my husband and son were able to help, they could be collecting the china and placing it in the car with some laundry room rag towels around it to protect it as much as possible.

I’d hate to lose the china, but if I only had 15 minutes and it was only me to grab and go, the rocking chair and those albums that hold irreplaceable photos and documents, the oldest of which go back to the 1840s, would be out the door with me.

Thank you, Jacqi and Randy, for this week’s topic. Emergency preparedness is always a good thing.

2 thoughts on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Disaster Genealogy Go Bag”

  1. You have a good plan, and got me thinking about where to store some valuables that can be retrieved easily.

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