Saturday, April 24, 2010

101 - How to Pack for a Research Trip

Even though we've done this many times, our packing begins early each time we travel. Of course, some items don't make their way into the suitcase until the last minute. In hope that we do not forget something, we both have lists that we compile and then compare. There are many phone calls and e-mails to coordinate. Of course, if need be we might be ready on a minute's notice ... I think!

Because we travel mostly by car, we can travel with more items than those who fly. We take advantage of every space in Lil' Red. Even so, I keep telling YGGG #2 to consolidate. Check your luggage before any trip. What size do you need? I have three different sizes plus my bag(s) on wheels for the computer and equipment. When flying, all that gets on the plane are my very large bag, one carry-on bag, me and my purse. Next month for the Salt Lake City trip I'm taking the middle sized luggage with matching tote. They must match so I color coordinate! Also I'll take a bag of maps and my research notebook. Another small bag holds sundry items such as paper punch, detergent and laundry bag. Yes, we do some laundry while there. I also have a plastic tub of sling pouches and iPod Touch pouches, uniquely designed to coordinate with every piece of clothing that I'm taking.

We prefer to eat breakfast and lunch in our hotel room in Salt Lake City. This gives us time to plan our daily research and at noon we can relax and rest before going back to being detectives. Each of us has a crate on wheels with grocery items. Some of these include energy or granola bars, crackers, cereal, tea bags, fruit cups and the popular fix-in-the-microwave, non-perishable soups and casseroles. Having a microwave and refrigerator in the room is great.

Now back to my suitcase. We are women in case you haven't noticed! We tend to coordinate clothes and change clothes perhaps more than the opposite sex. Even though we can wash, we take our fair share of clothes. Recently Dick Eastman commented in his newsletter, "I also take only one pair of shoes; namely, the shoes that I am wearing. I then pack clothes to match those shoes. Carrying an extra pair of shoes consumes a lot of space in your suitcase! You only need one pair. Make sure they are comfortable and suitable for extended walks." No woman would go anywhere, flying or driving, with only one pair of shoes! And most women have more than brown and black in their wardrobe! So much for that ... if you are a woman, don't feel bad about taking a half dozen shoes as long as you can squeeze them into your suitcase. Incidentally Dick commented that he takes duct tape. Hey, Dick, that's a man thing. I take shoes, shoes, more shoes, purses and pouches. That's a woman thing!

Why are we going to all this work for a research trip? Because it's a fun trip where we will work for days, diligently undergoing long hours of brain teasing turmoil. Did I mention it's fun work? How exciting to NOT receive a paycheck (unless doing professional work for clients) and have the pay off be locating information on some long, lost ancestor. To get to that point we have to be prepared for just about anything. I go through my genealogy files on the computer and my documents, looking for holes and missing people as well as missing evidence. There are always those elusive females who only are known as Abigail, Mary and Martha. They need names. Am I up to the test?

Recently I determined that I need to check the Ulster Co., New York land records. Okay ... bet they are on microfilm in the Family History Library. My oversized research notebook now contains a printout of the microfilm numbers for those land records. All I had to do was go to the Family History Library Catalog and begin my search. After printing it off, I marked the film numbers I need to check, as well as what I need to find on each film. It is filed under Floor #2 in my research notebook. I have tabs for all five floors. YGGG #2 does her slightly different, but she also uses printouts. We never take original documents. They are scanned or copied. By scanning, we save space by plopping the jpg files on to our laptops. I am also taking my small external hard drive that can be plugged into my laptop. It contains thousands of documents, notes and biographical information.

A word of caution. Be sure you bags have identification tags on them. This goes for any bag except the laundry bag. I'd love to have somebody think it was theirs and do my laundry! One of the most important items on your list should be a computer lock. Nothing is safe, not even in the library. If you plan on using subscription databases, take your passwords. I use an encrypted program that stores my passwords. One passwords gets me everything.

YGGG#2 and I have opted not to go to the National Genealogical Society conference in Salt Lake City which is happening in a few days. We are greedy and want to do nothing but spend every hour we can in the library. Actually there were other reasons, such as timing and family commitments. We do know that when we go to the library it will be fun. If you pack right, you'll have fun too ... especially if you are color coordinated and take plenty of shoes.

Ruby --- YGGG #1

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Just Can't Help It!

Purses and shoes, purses and many can one person manage to travel with? This will be the question that I may answer in the near future!

As many of you know the two Genealogy Girls are in the throws of planning and packing for Salt Lake. One would think that we are just so busy with that chore that it would be all consuming. Well, it kinda is for me, Girl #2...busy every day working on my notebook and planning, wishing I had more time to get that done and have some fun time. I know I work hard every day and nights too, but the end is so very far away. I've also been working on a power point lecture program for our local genealogy society meeting. Each day I call Girl #1 to ask questions and glean guidance and she always has time for me. We are truly kindred souls in many ways, one could not ask for a better partner in "crime". We travel, talk, laugh, cry, research, mourn, eat and think alike in so many ways--we are after all, sisters-in-law too!

So--- how is it that she has spare time to indulge in purses and shoes? This has become a joke with us about the shoes especially, and now we must add purses into the mix. I pack and travel with lots of stuff as has been noted here before, but purses? At first we shopped together for lots of gorgeous material, many with beautiful prints to showcase our love for genealogy. Plans were made to make a few little pouches to carry our new i-touch gadgets. Okay, I made some patterns, she made patterns and shared hers with me, we were off and running. However, I must say, I am so far back in the race that she will be over the finish line and I will still be trying to get over the first hurdle. I will be older and grayer before I get even six bags made. Girl #1 must have at least 30 small i-touch bags made and at least 8 or 10 of her side sling bags! She makes fun of me and my packing of "stuff" but by the time she packs an outfit to match each little purse, and shoes too, lest we forget those, we will need a bus instead of Li'l Red to head west in. She zooms through her research work each day and then emails to say that she has made another bag. Yesterday's email: "Guess what I am doing???? Yip, got the machines out again. I needed three more sling pouches and I am totally done, absolutely!! Remind me won't you???" Today is not over yet, I wonder how many she will make today?

The Girls will have to plan many, many more research trips just to use all those gorgeous little bags. Sure wish I could get some made, I am jealous and I also want to make all those future trips to cemeteries, libraries and conferences in style. I must really get in gear! I guarantee that WE will be the most fashionable gals in the cemetery, you won't miss us, that is for sure. Girl #1 will be the one with the pretty shoes too. She laments that she can't take them all when we travel. I suggested once that she just take one of each of six pair, that way she could showcase twelve different shoe collections. I got vetoed!

I sure do hope that when the "bus" is all packed, I can squeeze in a few books and my laptop. Can't wear those but I really do need 'em, maybe SHE will let me pack them in the box of purses. One last thought, if we run out of money while at the Family History Library, we can always dress up nice and stand out front hocking her wares for money to get home on. The items for sale: pretty and useful little purse bags and used shoes--surely everybody will need one or the other!

Believe it or not, the girls are not heading to Salt Lake until mid May and will stay for two fun weeks! It just takes us weeks of preparation to get out of town and heading west. Hope to meet all our "friends" someplace along the road of our ventures!

I had to laugh at the cute comment below by Carol--I wonder if Girl #1 has thought of that? Now we will have to pack 551 purses instead of the lowly count of about 40! Thanks Carol!

A million thank you's to Renate from "Into The Light" for recently giving us the Ancestor Approved award! Both of us "Grannies" are very appreciative. Click on over to her blog and check it out, it is very good, and take some time each day to read a great genealogy blog. There are hundreds to choose from with touching stories of family and history.

You Go Genealogy Girl #2-- Cheri

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Getting Ready (Drumroll!) for Salt Lake City

In one month and one week, I will leave to join YGGG #2 in the panhandle of Nebraska. We will decorate graves (many graves) paying pre-Memorial Day homage to our ancestors and loved ones. Once done we will pack and repack Lil' Red and drive to Cheyenne, WY. Staying there with my nephew (YGGG #2's son), we will spend a few days of research in the archives and library before packing and repacking for the trip on to Salt Lake City.

Already I have my luggage set out in the extra bedroom. I have started purchasing my stash of breakfast and lunch items that I will prepare in our room. We normally eat out once a day. That allows us to take a quick break from the books an film at noon by returning to our room at at the Salt Lake City Plaza Hotel. What a great place to stay and be only steps away from the library!

I keeping reminding YGGG #2 to consolidate her luggage. After all, Lil' Red is only so big, actually not very big, but bigger than a Smart Car. It is definitely not a grab and go trip, so we need to do some planning. We can wash clothes at the Plaza, but even so we do need clothes, cosmetics, our medicines and most definitely, for me ... shoes.

Why are we going? Silly question ... GENEALOGY. We are also working on our research notebooks and studying family lineages. YGGG #2 calls or e-mails and we begin looking up more things on the Family History Library Catalog. Then we print out call number and microfilm numbers, description of the item, adding notes as to what we need to check. My notebook is bursting, so bad that I had to purchase a 3 inch one. I hope by the time I leave in May, I won't need to invest in a 4 inch notebook. Do I really plan on looking at all that film and all those books? I'll certainly try!

To make our research easier, we are taking many accessories. For me it's the laptop, 1.5 lb. CanoScan LiDE200 scanner, my travel external hard drive, plus my Skooba case for all the cords and extensions, my camera, cell phone and iPod Touch. Will somebody PA...LEASE invent something that doesn't need umpteen cords to run? I am sure loading and unloading all of my "stuff" plus all of YGGG #2's "stuff" will make us think twice about how easy it is, particularly on our backs, arms and legs.

For the past few months while recuperating from knee surgery, I have been designing and making iPod Touch pouches and sling pouches. So that I never appear out of sync with my wardrobe, I have about 30 of the iPod Touch pouches and three sling pouches made. I have three more sling pouches to make before I leave in May. They have pockets for the iPod Touch, cell phone, room key card, library photocopy card, money and anything else that will squeeze in. On the sides of the sling pouch are metal loops to hook my flash drive and key to the lock for the laptop.

Have I forgotten anything? Better start the list. Oh yes, I'll need the gel pack and bed buddy for aching bones, aka new knee. I refuse to rent a U-Haul for this trip, so YGGG #2 better start making her list and learning how to consolidate. Shove and push, it should all go into one suitcase. She will reply ... "Dream on." When we leave for Salt Lake City, guess who wins the prize for the most items. It's not going to be YGGG #1.

Oops, we better not forget the jelly beans!

You Go Genealogy Girl #1 -- Ruby

Dear You Go Girl #1:
Well, I get to carry the printer which is for us both-that is another big case(1/2 yours)! I am the old fashioned type who still has to use some paper files so that is a couple more notebooks. A reminder, I don't carry shoes and a purse for every outfit. As "Go Hubby" would say--If you need it, Mom (YGGG #2, me) will have it! "Enuf said"! P.S. If you would ride with me in the big silver beast (Excursion) just once, we could even take the kitchen sink with space to spare and if we get thrown out of the Plaza Hotel for being too rowdy, we would still have a place to sleep. He He.........!!!

You Go Genealogy Girl #2 --Cheri


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