As I sit and write this it is 11 pm on March 13. The rain is pouring and the wind is howling outside. A single candle flickers next to me on the table and all is silent. Yes, the power was knocked out by the storm. My MacBook battery gave out 3 hours ago and the Internet is kaput. No message board posting or tonight, and with a few weeks until Apple’s iPad release, the only tablet computer I’ve got right now is the one powered by 50 sheets of 90% recycled post-consumer waste fibers and a pen. This is old tech.

But even though I’m a son of the digital age, temporarily forsaken by my gadgets and databases, all is not lost — I still have my family group sheets and pedigree charts, folders of printed records neatly arranged in manila folders and labeled by surname. Even by candlelight the search for the past can continue tonight. So it is time to sign off — literally — and flip through my notebooks for leads. Time for some genealogy “old school” — at least until the power comes back. So my advice to digital natives and novices alike: make sure you have your stuff printed out for a rainy day (or night)!

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