As you plan your genealogical research trip, you may decide to bring your computer with you. After all, you have all of your research notes, your scanned images, and your genealogy software, not to mention the Internet capabilities for mapping the location of the courthouse, your hotel, and the next White Castle. But there may be a few things to check on before you arrive:
- Make sure that you can bring it with you into the court house, archives or library. Some institutions have limitations on what you may bring with you. The Genealogy Center allows you to bring your computer, scanner or digital camera to record your findings and check your notes.
- See if your destination has wifi capabilities. It’s best to know before you arrive whether or not you can access your own Ancestry account, or if you can only check the notes that you have on your hard drive. The Genealogy Center has wifi, but, because we also have an Ancestry account, if you want to access your own account while here, you need to log on to Ancestry before you arrive at the library (and leave it running) to keep your own account live.
- Ask if there is electricity available for visitor use, or if you need to draw on your battery. The Genealogy Center has electrical outlets on all tables, but only about two-thirds are actually live. Check with a staff member to be sure the outlet you are using is actually supplying “juice.”
- Invest in, and use, a lock for your computer. Sold most places that sell electronics, a computer lock usually consists of a combination or key lock on a plastic covered metal cable that can be looped around a table leg. We genies tend to get very involved with our research, but there are thieves everywhere who prey on our inattention.
- Last but not least, back up your files before you hit the road. An electrical surge, a spilled drink in the car, or an overly helpful relative cleaning your computer can spell disaster.