Click Here to Receive New Posts
in Your Inbox

This form does not yet contain any fields.
    SEARCH

    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

    Now Available

    Follow Me
    Sunday
    Sep212014

    Fire, Flood, Earthquake: Is Your Genealogy Safe?

    Smokeythebear

    Learn how to protect your family history research before and after disaster strikes whether you're at risk from natural disaster, home disaster or a computer crash in the September FamilyTree Magazine Podcast when I talk with with Lisa Louise Cooke about my article in the current issue of FamilyTree magazine, "Your Genealogy Disaster Plan." 

    Last week I shared disaster-preparedness tips "Prepare Your Family History to Survive Fire Season" prompted by the California wildfires that were burning in my sister's former hometown of Sliverado Canyon, California. Here are a few more tips you can hear more about in the September FamilyTree Magazine Podcast with Lisa Louise Cooke.

    Before Disaster: Know Your Risks

     

    Gather important numbers
    Practice prevention
    Prioritize keepsakes
    Digitize to safeguard
    Get an insurance checkup
    Back up computer files
    Save passwords
    Practice smart storage
    Make a genealogy grab and go list
    Create a genealogy disaster kit

    After a Disaster: Be Ready to Salvage Your Treasures

    Assess the damage
    Collect scattered items
    Contact your insurance agent
    Salvage wet photos for later attention

    Wednesday
    Sep172014

    Sneak Peek at Steve Robinson's New Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery

    TLE cover

    Disaster at sea, an heirloom locket, and pre-war espionage all play a part in The Lost Empress, Steve Robinson's fourth novel in the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series.  I received an advance review copy and Steve's promise for an interview to answer questions about Tayte's news adventures. I wish I could drop everything and start reading right now; but I know from the first three Tayte mysteries that the story will be an impossible to put down page-turner. <Sigh> Of course, the promise of a good mystery might be just the motivation to clear my desk faster! 

    Steve Robinson Profile Pic

    I'm looking forward to talking with Steve after I've read the book. It's great to chat with authors about their books and writing life, and even better when it includes more than a little genealogy. Steve is always generous with his time for the genealogy community, so don't be bashful about leaving comments and questions for him about any Jefferson Tayte book.

    Look for a full review and interview in the next few weeks, and in the meantime you can get your own preview of the book with Amazon's Look Inside feature offering the opening pages of the The Lost Empress.

    The Lost Empress is now available for pre-order; Kindle orders will be delivered wirelessly on the October 21, 2014 release date. While you're waiting for the book's release, check out the first three Tayte adventures or revisit Jefferson Tayte's career as professional genealogist and unwitting detective:

    1 - In the Blood

    2 - To the Grave

    3 - The Last Queen of England

     

    Note: I accepted an advance copy of The Lost Empress without obligation to review or publicize the book. I enjoy Steve Robinson's genealogical mystery series, and share news about his new releases because I think you might like them too. If you buy a book using one of the affiliate links on this website, the fees earned help support this site.

    Sunday
    Sep142014

    Prepare Your Family History to Survive Fire Season

     

    A common sight in Silverado Canyon every September.

    The rest of the country may be feeling the first chill of autumn, but in Southern California September heralds the arrival of California's 5th Season, Fire Season. Once again Silverado Canyon is on fire watch as a hot wildfire burns the dry hillsides along the narrow canyon walls.

    Santiago Fire 2007

    My sister and her family lived in Silverado for over twenty years and this is the first year in all that time we aren't watching the news anxious about their personal safety. Last winter they sold their custom-built Victorian house and moved to a parcel of land on Oregon's Deschutes River. We're relieved they aren't in the fire path once again, but sad to see their former home and community in danger. 

     

    Damage from fire retardant.

    Fire Danger to Family Keepsakes

    When we think about the danger of wildfire, we tend to think about losing our belongings to raging flames, but the bigger threat comes from smoke, fire retardant and water damage.

    • Paper will quickly absorb smoke odor, and the longer items remain enclosed in a box or sealed environment the harder it will be to remove the smoky smell.
    • Homes in fire zones are often treated with a fire retardant gel that brings its own special hazards, corroding copper and metal, staining paint and other surfaces, and killing landscaping. Your heirloom furniture and other keepsakes can be severely damaged if you aren't home to close windows and remove family heirlooms before the spray hits your house. My sister's family experienced this first-hand.
    • Water from burst plumbing, fire sprinklers or fire hoses can quickly turn a storage area into a water-soaked mess. 

    Be Prepared for Wildfire

    After living in a risky area for so many years, my sister says she actually feels better prepared now than ever before. The last time they evacuated their Silverado home, the family was unable to return for over 14 days and they learned a lot about emergency preparedness during that episode:

    1. Keep valuables organized and ready to grab in case of evacuation
    2. Store digital copies offsite at the office or on Cloud storage
    3. Give your young adult children the originals or copies of any documents they might need like birth certificates
    4. Know how to contact your insurance agent in case your home is damaged

    HD4100

    Store Valuables in a Home Safe

    While researching "Your Genealogy Disaster Plan" for the September 2014 issue of Family Tree Magazine I discovered a home storage container with an impressive disaster survival story. The SentrySafe HD4100CG fireproof waterproof home safe is rated for 30 minutes of fire endurance and water submersion. Models come in all sizes and configurations and are available on Amazon and home improvement stores. I spoke with a SentrySafe representative about a suitable size for genealogy materials and she sent me a link to a story about a safe filled with family history research that survived Hurricane Sandy. It's an emotional video, but brings home the reminder that some things need a bit of extra protection in our everyday life.

    When she lived in Silverado, my sister and I often talked about protecting photos and keepsakes from natural disasters. It can be hard to enjoy your family heirlooms if you're worried about fire or flood, but digital copies stored offsite or on the Cloud are a good backup in case of damage or loss. I don't live in a fire zone like Silverado Canyon, but I keep some family treasures and digital copies in a fireproof waterproof safe. And I hope I never see that safe sitting in a pile of charred rubble.

    Note: I'm providing links to the SentrySafe HD4100CG recommended by the company representative as most appropriate for a small genealogy collection. You can read more about the different models and compare prices at Amazon where I receive a small affiliate fee from orders, or see some models in local stores such as Target, Home Depot, and Lowe's. The featured model is large enough to hold file folders and a few small items. IMHO, it's a worthwhile investment.

    Friday
    Sep052014

    RootsMagic with MacBridge: Fabulous Friday!

    MacBridge 1024x698

    This is the best news I've had all week! RootsMagic has just announced the new MacBridge product that runs RootsMagic on a Mac computer without Windows! As the Roots Magician Bruce Buzzbee described it last summer, MacBridge is a easy-to-install single product workaround using CrossOver to install and run RootsMagic (hope I've got this right). I've run RootsMagic with the full CrossOver and been disappointed by the updates and mystifying WINE terminology, so I'm excited to try MacBridge and the easier and more direct installation process.

    MacBridge is listed to run both the free and paid versions of RootsMagic on a Mac, without Windows. Sure, a Mac can run RootsMagic with virtualization software like Parallels, VM Fusion, or Apple BootCamp, but you still need to install Microsoft Windows on the Mac. CrossOver from Codeweavers and Open Source WINE run many programs, including RootsMagic, but my experience has been less than wonderful with CrossOver. If the new MacBridge works as promised, the entry ticket of $9.95 will be well worth the price of admission to the Magic Show.

    Thank you, Roots Magician!

    Wednesday
    Sep032014

    Wordless Wednesday: Back to School 1923 Edition

     

    "First Graduates - '23" from the Edna and Walter May Photo Album; privately held by Denise Levenick, 2014. Edna McClure May was a teacher at the San Juan Capistrano School, California.

    Find us on Google+