Kimmitt Genealogical Research

29 July 2010

In the Event of My ... Silence?

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Challenge #30 

Radar image of Hurricane Ike at landfall. HGX ...Image via Wikipedia
Week 30: Create an emergency chain. Select someone you trust to handle duties should you be unable to access your research, blog or other genealogy projects. Chances are that you have an online presence and genealogy friend with whom you are in regular contact. If you are unable to get online for a significant period of time, how will you let everyone know? Use this week to give your contact information to at least one genealogy friend so he or she could check in with you or your family in case of unexplained absence. The genealogy community is pretty tight, and we worry when one of our own hasn’t been heard from in a while. This challenge was inspired by Hurricane Ike and 14 days without power. Bloggers: describe the steps you take to establish an emergency chain to help your readers      do the same.

OK, I've been stuck on this one for a few minutes. I could select someone close by, like my lovely friend, neighbor and quickly rising genealogy prodigy, whom I shall call KK. But if it were a natural disaster, power outage or something local, and my communication were to fail, then so would KK's fail. On the other hand, if I delegate someone far away, how the heck would I get word to them? As for someone I trust, that would be my dependable and technologically gifted husband, Myles. But he isn't a genealogist.

A61RJ MOHAMMED HASSAN P.O.BOX: 70006 SHARJAH U...Image via Wikipedia
I am left with devising a chain, or an endless loop, I'm not sure which it is. Therefore, know all men by these presents that I declare Myles as the provider of personal information and KK as my link to the genealogical world. Myles has the key to my heart and my house, along with the password for my computer, our local area network, home video camera and bank accounts, amongst other things. KK is a great genealogist and communicator, and she is efficient, empathetic, and lives right across the street. AND, get this! If the power is out, Myles is a licensed ham radio operator and could send radio messages! How cool is that! What a team they would make. KK could dictate and Myles could transmit the old fashioned way. He even knows Morse Code. Very Sci-Fi. dit dit dit, daaaaaah daaaaah daaaaaaah dit dit dit. And no, that's not a dit name.

I'm wondering, however, if all this would really be necessary. "If you are unable to get online for a significant period of time, how will you let everyone know?" Believe me, they'll know it. I'm so obnoxiously present on the web (updating Facebook, emailing, texting, phoning, skyping, using the new iPhone's face-to-face feature) that if something goes wrong it will be clear. I have enough real life friends that are also FB friends that they could easily post something on my page.

What is more concerning though is, should I fall ill, go insane or die, who would tell my clients? I have customized folders for my current clients, both in Safari (email) and in my Clients folder on my hard drive. I also use Bento database software to keep track of my projects. In Bento you can see the status of each project since I update it with notes as I go along. I usually don't have more than five clients at any one time. Of course I always have hard copy files accompanying the digital data. That is usually splayed across my desk. The other thing to check would be my very lengthy work to-do list. Since I have a brain the size of a pea, I update that list daily. It's a great means to be pseudo me during my unfortunate incapacitation. The work to-do list (not to be confused with my regular to-do list) works in tandem with my calendar. And my address book has any phone number or email address you should need.

Facebook logoImage via Wikipedia
Personal research and family papers have been left to a local society in my will, so I'm not worried about that problem. It is mainly cyber-info that could be lost. And what is out there? Not much really: just this blog, Facebook, my simple webpage at and my personal webpage. I've put a
 tree up on Ancestry that is only for my own convenience and that of relatives. Once I'm gone, hey, make it public, I don't mind! Relatives would want to keep the personal website, though, because that is where I store family photos. My Facebook page can be retired. Well. If I'm dead, I mean. Don't go sneaking around just because I'm in a coma and delete all of my fun stuff! At least hold a mirror up to my mouth first. And while we're at it, I'd like a string down in the coffin attached to a bell in the graveyard. Just in case. Oh wait, I want to be cremated...

"Funnily enough" (my mother-in-law used to say that) a friend of mine suggested to me today that one way to preserve my blog posts would be to print them out and keep them in a binder. Nothing like good old paper. It's just there, doesn't need a password, no media conversions, no file formats to worry about. Just open the cover and you're off. How refreshingly simple. Of course, then links don't work, but, eh, too bad. I hardly use them. There is a way to back up the information in your blog, but I think I tried it and it was too complicated, so I abandoned it. And I could place this blog post at the very begininning. It would be out of chronological order, but could prove useful some day.

In the meantime, as the post shows, I'm still blabbing away. The weather is fine and electricity is pouring into our house. I feel better already, though, knowing that cyber me will be looked after.

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