I’m leaving today for Kraków and many other cities in southeast Poland: Wielopole, Rzeszów, Przemyśl, Limanowa, Mielec just to name a few. We’ll be traveling for two weeks, visiting civil and parish archives, walking ancient and modern streets, and, oh yes, did I mention archives? My handy travel bag with the tools I will need in the archives includes a tablet, camera, laptop, multiple plug outlet including usb and of course an adaptor – I plug in all my electronics whenever possible, because there are places without electrical outlets. I bring the multiple plug outlet because most of the time, there is only one available plug. Included in my gear is an sd card reader. Many modern laptops don’t have a slot for an sd card and I want to be able to back up the photos I take of documents every day. In addition to everything else, I bring a 128 gb flash drive (or two) so that my hard drive isn’t the only backup.
I also bring lint free cotton gloves – most of the archives we visit don’t require their use, but I cringe at the thought of all those fingers touching the beautiful paper and ink and their probable disintegration over time due to this. I also bring a water bottle and granola bars. Of course the latter I keep inside my bag – but, I don’t want to leave the archive until I’m done for the day, so when I need a quick pick-me-up, I grab the water and granola and head for the hallway. Many thanks to my wonderful client (and friend) for sending the box of snacks – nuts and dried fruits.
Most of the archives don’t have internet access, so I make sure that I have synched all the trees I am researching which reside on Ancestry.com with Family Tree Maker, so that I have copies of everything I will need stored locally. This way I can put notes into fields associated with the people I am researching and then synch the trees again when I have a reliable internet connection. Maybe it’s overkill, but I don’t want to loose precious archival time because I forgot something.
I’ve been keeping my eye on the weather. It’s not great. Looks like lots of rain, thundershowers, and the best days will be very cloudy. Of course the weather is changeable, and some days I see the 10 day forecast will include a couple of sunny days, but when I just checked, the days that yesterday appeared as if they would be moderately clear, no longer look that way. Our schedule is a little flexible, and we will try to use days when the weather isn’t stormy for cemetery explorations and walking the cobblestone streets of medieval cities.
I rarely write about the relationships I have with the people whose research I do. It’s impossible to research as deeply and broadly into a person’s family without becoming attached to the family. Thus, all the research I do becomes as meaningful to me as the research I do for myself. The people whose research I work on become friends, and we often share details of our lives over the long periods of time we work together. Making connections like that, becoming personally involved with clients and their families means that I share with them the joy and excitement of the precious details of their ancestry which are found during the research, and also the frustrations and disappointment when details for which we are searching remain elusive.
Next post will be from Kraków.