Thursday, February 19, 2015

Back-up, Back-up, Back-up!

If you have ever lost something you cared a great deal about - something you can NEVER get back, you know how heart-breaking that can be.  If you have ever spent hours typing away on a project only to find it lost forever because you hit the wrong key, had a power failure, or forgot to "save" - you understand the frustration.  Nowadays, most writing programs have auto-save features which help a bit.  But what about all that "stuff" you have accumulated, scanned, stored, annotated and lovingly cultivated that is sitting on your desktop or laptop computer and/or tablet?  I will say it again, back-up, back-up, back-up!

Not only do I recommend regular back-ups of all your genealogy materials, but I recommend redundant back-ups in multiple locations, at least one being off-site - we do live in a hurricane zone here on the coast.  But don't despair, most of today's genealogy programs, your scanned images, and your research can quickly, easily and securely be backed up to the cloud with services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive),,, and many others.  You can also purchase peripheral hard drives that serve the same purpose.  Some of those - God bless technology - even run wirelessly.  Sort of like having your very own, private cloud.  This is quick, easy, and protects your data from compromise.  Many of the cloud storage options offer a substantial amount of space for free. And, if you are using a cloud-based service, it is easy to copy your stuff between computers, such as from your laptop to your tablet or the other way around.

And don't think you don't need to back up your tree just because you are using a program such as, RootsWeb, FamilySearch, or some other web-based service.  There are manual back-up options in all of them.  I back up my tree to Dropbox EVERY time I log out.  Every once in a while I go back and delete the oldest backups from Dropbox.  Yes, it takes time and thought - but it will become a habit you will never regret.

You spend a lot of time on your research.  Keep it safe!

--  submitted by Denise Doyon

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