Wednesday, 7 October 2015

It's Raining, It's Pouring!

      Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, fires, floods and many other natural disasters can suddenly impact your home. Some with no warning.
  These last few days in SC have brought record breaking rain and floods. We are used to preparing for hurricanes on the coast but rain of this magnitude was not imagined.

My Neighborhood

    Property has been damaged, homes flooded and families evacuated. Watching the scenes play out in my neighborhood and throughout the state the question kept coming to me. What if it was me? What if the water in the road comes up any higher?
   What have I done to prepare?
   What do I need to take with me?

My Daughter's Street

 Of course, my priority would be my family, pets and fireproof box along with food and water.
  My genealogy road has been a long one with thousands of pictures, documents, ephemera and heirlooms collected over the years.  What about all of those treasures? Could I get them all out?
 The answer is probably no. There are too many and in most disasters, time is of the essence.

   Thankfully, the rain has subsided, and the sun is out. There are rivers still to crest, but my home should remain safe. Today is a day to think about preparing for a time when it might not be.

  Computer- My data is saved in the cloud, on a portable hard drive and on flash drives.  Continually backing up and keeping copies of computer files in various places will protect many years of work.

 File Cabinets- My family files are slowly being scanned.There are many years of email communication, documents and notes on my family lines. These files would be too heavy to take in an evacuation. Scanning will preserve the information held in each.  These cabinets are kept on the second floor of my home to keep them away from high rising water.

Pictures-Pictures from many generations are in a to -do box for scanning and then filing. Work on it has been slow. Although in an upstairs room, water coming in through windows or other places would have destroyed them. Completing the scanning process needs to be a priority as well as finding a safe, waterproof container to keep them in.
 The pictures that I have already scanned need to be protected. They are placed in archival sheets, but this may not be enough.

Heirlooms-Jewelry, furniture, clothing, toys and other items have been given to me over the years. A collection of family bibles is very precious to me. The majority have been photographed. Most are in glass cases. All would not survive a natural disaster.

Ephemera-Those precious collectable items like ticket stubs, and scrapbooks. The extra things found along the way that give rich detail to our ancestor's lives.  Again, scanning is a good way to make sure they are preserved for future generations.

Does your emergency planning include your genealogy and family history? How are you preserving your treasures?

Thanks so much for stopping by!


  1. I wrote about this the other day over on the LVUG Community on Google+. These natural disasters are happening more frequently or perhaps we are just more aware of them with social media and news 24/7. A great review of what you have and where you have it. I am sure most of us are like you, we need to get more items scanned, photographed and protected. Thanks for such a great summary Cheri.

    1. Thanks, Tessa! Nothing like having water so close to your front door to make you stop and think!

  2. A lot to think about Cheri....I need to get busy! I've got my computer backing up all of the time, but there are other areas I've definitely neglected. It's such a big project and yet an important one. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Thank you, for the reminder, Cheryl!

    1. Thank you for reading, Dawn. It's something that we all have heard time and again and yet, there I was wondering what I was going to do. So glad that we stayed dry!

  4. That was my neighborhood ever few years. The Susquehanna River wasn't far from our back door to begin with. But things like ice blocks in the dam at Hallstead, PA...or Hrurricaine Agnes...or the big 100 year flood...left people in varying degrees of damage. Back in the 1970s, when home videos were done on 16mm and Super 8, were lost in the flood, along with the many antiques my Dad collected...including a Civil War era vacuum cleaner that you had to pump with one hand and guide the tube with the other. So much lost. Glad we now live on high ground in the mountains, but not so far up that Police & Fire can't reach us!

  5. Even for Sandy I was not quite in the flood zone, but Donald's parents had 4 ft. of water in their bungalow only a few miles away. They were in Florida, but thankfully we were able to save a wedding album, some other albums and a box of important old papers for them. But what if we hadn't been? There were photos of Donald as a baby that I had never seen and the 1927 original deed to that bungalow that would have been lost, among other things. As you say, what is digitized is in the cloud but with all the treasures I just brought home from my stepmother's basement, watching the news from South Carolina does make me think. How do I keep these treasures safe in a disaster? I need a better plan.

  6. Cheri, when I saw those pictures of flooded houses on TV I wondered what things I would try to save. You give us many things to consider here. We cannot wait till the rain starts or the fire flickers. Thanks for reminding us we need to be prepared today.

  7. Good tips and reminders and I'm glad your genealogy work survived the floods.


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