Friday, April 28, 2017
The Matter of the Genealogical Suitcase
We were stopped to open the door to the Brigham Young University Library for a lady dragging a large rolling suitcase and carrying a load of books and files in her hands. She thanked us for the help and walked on down the hallway. I began to think about this and realized that I was in exactly that same condition some years ago. However, today, I was not carrying anything, not even a flash drive. My days of lugging around piles of paper and notes were definitely and completely over. My suitcase or briefcase or whatever was now sitting empty at home.
Obviously, the difference was the advent of computers and online storage programs. It was also a matter of carrying a camera (my iPhone) with me all the time. With an iPhone (or any other camera), I did not need to take notes on paper. Because the Library has a huge bank of computers to use, I do not have to take my own computer to the Library. Because I have online storage, I do not have to take a flash drive to the Library either. So, no suitcase or briefcase.
If I find a book or paper document, I take a photo. If I find something online, I copy it and either upload it immediately to FamilySearch.org or into Dropbox.com or some other online storage program. On some occasions, mostly out of habit, I will write something down on a slip of paper. If I don't have a pen, I will borrow one for the time it takes to write down the note. But I could just put the note directly on my Google Docs pages and forget the note.
This transition has taken many years; over thirty to be more exact. There are still a lot of suitcases in the libraries and I am guessing the suitcase people will not be selling many of those rolling types for research very much longer.