A Genealogist’s Worst Nightmare Came True!

Just one of the wet boxes in the basement. You can see the cat food that floated around too!

Just one of the wet boxes in the basement. You can see the cat food that floated around too!

Hi genealogy friends! You may have noticed a small lapse recently in postings on my blog. Along with my husband and daughter we took off for a much anticipated vacation to sunny Florida. We were visiting one of my older daughters and husband with a side trip to the Civil War’s Chickasaw battlefield.

We had a great time! Much to my surprise and joy my other daughter and her husband flew in to Florida from California to join us. We had a great time. What a wonderful vacation. That is until Mother Nature stepped in. Back home it rained for several days with one final stormy torrent. Neighbors said it rained about two inches in just about an hour. The ground was already saturated and the water had no where to go. That is except for our basement. Our neighbor checked our house to find the basement was flooding. We reluctantly cut our vacation short to come home and clean up.

Ripping out the drywall about 3 ft up

Ripping out the wet drywall about 3 ft up

Our flooding problems weren’t as bad as others yet we still tore out carpet, paneling and drywall. We threw away a sofa, two chairs and an entertainment center but the heartbreaking loss was the boxes of family photos I had stored on the floor in the basement closet.

I know, why would I store photos on the floor? My only answer is that I never expected the basement to flood. I had the pics sorted into year, all were early 2000 – 2005 and were eventually to be scanned and put in albums.

The dumpster parked in my drive way and new home to many of our basement belongings

The dumpster parked in my drive way and new home to many of our basement belongings

I saved very few. Most sat in water while we made our way home. As I said early this was a heartbreaking loss.

Then today I read Michael John Neill’s Genealogy Tip of the Day:

What Have You Preserved Today?

We’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating for new and seasoned genealogists alike:

Do you have some photograph, original document, or other piece of family history ephemera that you have not somehow preserved or shared? What happens if that one copy is destroyed?

The 1870 census will be there to search next week. There may be items in your closet that for one reason or another may not.

Preserve today so that all may use it tomorrow.

That's me during this process. I've had better days! LOL!!

That’s me during this process. I’ve had better days! LOL!!

How true!

I never dreamed my photos were ever in danger of loss!

I’ve learned my lesson the hard way and hope my experience will help someone else out.

Scan your valuable documents and store them archivally off the floor.

Now I’ve got some work to do.

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12 thoughts on “A Genealogist’s Worst Nightmare Came True!

    • When AL was tiny and didn’t get her way she would tell me, “I’m not happy”. That’s my title for this pic. “I’m not happy!” LOL

    • Thanks Cheri for your good thoughts – At least the clean up and drying out are over. They sprayed some antimicrobial stuff yesterday so we don’t get mold. The dumpster will be picked up tomorrow. So the worst is over. Once we settle with insurance we can start on drywall and go from there. In the meantime I’m scanning! :)

  1. I fear so many times that this could happen to our photos, documents etc…especially the ones that have not been scanned. I am so so sorry that you had to go through this. It saddens me. I pray for better days…and thank you for reminding us to digitize ours.

  2. I was so sorry to read of your disaster and what an untimely end to a happy family holiday, Thank you, too for the warnings to back up and store safely.

  3. How horrible! I’m sorry for your loss of photos, I know how awful that feels. I will definitely take your lesson and learn from it. We do not have a basement but I will be keeping my photos far from the water heater and the bathrooms!

  4. Oh Cindy, what a mess and a heartache all in one! So sorry to hear about your pictures. I’m sure you’re kicking yourself, but it could happen to anyone. I have lots of old photo albums and slides stashed in the lower cabinet of a set of bookshelves in our basement. If it flooded, they would be a total loss. I’m taking your lesson to heart. Because I know I can’t scan them fast enough, I’m at least going to move them into a higher cabinet. Right away. Best wishes on getting all the insurance stuff settled and the basement put back together.

  5. Pingback: Remembering Chickamauga 150 years later | Genealogy Circle

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