As Floridians, we know how important it is to have certain supplies stocked up in case of a hurricane. As family historians, we also have to be prepared. It would be a shame not to take full advantage of a spur-of-moment research opportunity.
We can always hope someone will invite us to tag along on the trip of a lifetime, and we should have certain items packed and ready to roll at even a hint of such an invitation. Here are some suggestions for that old kit bag:
•Fresh batteries in the digital camera.
•Flashlight. An unexpected visit to an aging, distant relative might net a trunk in an unlighted attic or an under-the-stairs hidey-hole.
•Wet wipes. Those old hiding places can be mighty dusty.
•A change purse filled with dimes and quarters. You may need to make copies at the local library.
•A stapler with extra staples or a bag of paper clips. There's nothing worse than errant pages loose in a bag.
•Graph paper and a 100-foot tape measure to plot a cemetery or the outbuildings of an old home place.
•A laptop computer with an up-to-date database of the family research.
•A portable scanner to copy the picture the newly found cousin won't let you borrow.
•A pair of close-toed shoes for trekking through underbrush on the old home place.
•A small umbrella. It never fails to rain on at least one parade.
•Sunscreen and bug spray, just in case.
•A box of granola or energy bars. Who has time for an actual meal break?
Of course, no genealogist should travel without a research plan, so it's a good idea to keep a current one on your computer or in your notebook. These plans change as the research moves forward, so make sure to update it.
Hillsborough County's John F. Germany Library has an impressive collection of genealogical materials covering a surprisingly large national geographic area. To assist area researchers, the Florida Genealogical Society (Tampa) will host a Research-a-Rama at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The miniseminar will be in the library's auditorium at 900 Ashley St., Tampa. Topics include a presentation of genealogical databases and the library's online catalog and a tour of the genealogy collection.
There's still time to sign on for the 33rd annual Florida State Genealogical Society Conference, to be held Nov. 13 and 14 at Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place in Melbourne.
The featured speaker is Craig Roberts Scott, whose topics will include "Basic Military Research," "Treasury Records: Follow the Money," "Publishing Your Genealogical Material: Getting the Ink on Paper" and "Problem Solving."
Scott is a nationally recognized military research specialist and president of the genealogical publishing company Heritage Books Inc.
Florida researchers who will participate are Pamela J. Cooper, Paul Enchelmayer, Amy Larner Giroux, George G. Morgan, Donna G. Moughty, Ann Mohr Osisek, Drew Smith and C. Ann Staley.
Until Oct. 29, registration is $88 for members and $98 for nonmembers. After that, it's $10 more. For details on the program and a registration form, go to www.flsgs.org.
South Bay meeting
Debra S. Fleming will present a program on census analysis at the Oct. 20 meeting of the South Bay Genealogical Society. The group meets at the SouthShore Regional Library, 15816 Beth Shields Way, Ruskin. Lunch will be served at noon, and the presentation begins at 1 p.m. Reservations must be made no later than Oct. 5 by sending $13 to P.O. Box 5202, Sun City Center FL 33571. After making the reservation, call Sally Wepfer at (813) 634-7539 to make a meal selection.