You've impulsively decided to spend the day at a local archives. Do you have all your genealogy must-have items packed and ready to go at a moment's notice? Or do you race frantically around your house looking for the binder that has notes you need for researching Great Grandma Elizabeth?
Can't find any gum but you know you are going to need some? Pens! Pencils! Where oh where is a small bottle of aspirin just in case the microfilm reader gives you a headache. And on and on it goes, if you're like me you are breathless, sweating and slightly grumpy by the time you get out the door. And you're not really sure you have everything you need.
My husband and I are avid antique hunters and we keep a tote bag in the closet with our antique hunting needs - small tape measure, pencil, small notepad, small package of kleenex (some of those stores are incredibly dusty!), sanitizing hand wipes (you are touching lots of filthy items and have no idea what might be on them), Collection list of "have already" and list of "want", and a note that says "Don't forget books on coffee grinders, pot lids, etc" That reminds us to grab our books from the bookcase that show collections and prices.
It occured to me last year that I could also start a Genealogy Research Bag. Whatever can't go in it ahead of time can be put on a list which is clipped to the outside, so I don't have to think about what I need. I can just read the list.
My Genealogy Research Bag contains a small pack of kleenex; sanitizing hand wipes; small plastic ziplock bag with a tiny container of Tylenol (I'm allergic to aspirin), some anti-acid tablets and some throat lozenges; small plastic ruler; pens and pencils; yellow highlighter; small notebook; pad of lined paper; loonies and toonies for vending machines and parking (a loony is a one-dollar coin, a toony is a 2-dollar coin); pair of airplane sockettes (very thin, easy to slip on no matter what shoes I'm wearing and they keep my feet from freezing in overly air-conditioned buildings) and a list of items to grab before leaving the house.
The grab list changes periodically but right now it has
* Ipad. I don't have to take binders or a laptop anymore, my Ipad with the GedView app works perfectly - my entire genealogy program from FTM is there at my fingertips through GedView
* GPS. Sometimes we forget to grab our GPS and can easily get lost if we're going to an archive or Library we've never gone to before.
* Charger for Iphone & Ipad. We have a car charger for these items but it never hurts to toss the in-house one in the Genealogy Research Bag
* Research Purse. That's my reminder to switch from a daily large purse to a tiny shoulder bag I keep just for antiquing or cemetery hunting or genealogy research. It allows my hands to be free, isn't heavy and holds minimal items.
* Bottles of Water and/or Lunch Bag. A reminder to take bottles of water and either pack a lunch or bring the zipped insulated lunch bag which I can fill with purchased sandwhiches, muffins, etc
When my Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner finally arrives I will add it to the Grab List or put it in my Genealogy Research Bag.
My Genealogy Research Bag is a life-saver. Hubs and I can decide on a moment's notice to go researching. I get the bag, check the grab list, call out the items to hubs which he collects and bingo we are out the door.
Of course we do have to make sure both dogs are taken care of - that Barley is out in her run with a huge dish of water and that Webley is in his room with a bed, a toy and water, that the chickens and guinea hens are out of their pen, that our donkey has a carrot before we leave... but those are on our mental check-list every time we leave the house even to go grocery shopping! We can still be out the door within a half hour of deciding we are leaving. What a wonderful change from the days of scrambling around the house wondering where I put everything I need.