Recently one of my young adult children had a panic filled moment and I received a frantic text just before midnight! The old laptop would not turn on and there were important files needed for an upcoming presentation.
No worries, right? Where are your files backed up? Well…..these files were never backed up! Not in the cloud or on an external device. Eeek!!!!!!*
Could this happen to you? Are your genealogy files at risk for being lost if your computer gives out?
Sit back and get comfortable. We are going to talk about strategies for backing up your genealogy research.
Tips for Backing Up Your Research
- Develop a habit of backing up your files the first of each month.
- Give copies of your files to other family members.
- Back up your genealogy files somewhere other than on your own computer. This could include on CD-ROM or DVD. This could also include cloud backup such as Dropbox, Google+ or a photo-sharing site such as Flickr.
- Use the 3-2-1 system that photo organizers use: 3 copies of your photograph – 2 types of media (This could be an external hard drive and an optical drive) – 1 copy offsite.
External Device Backups
Here are some examples for backing up your genealogy files on devices other than your computer.
- CD-ROMs and DVDs
- USB Flash Drive – Flash drives are convenient and portable. Your backups on a flash drive will slip easily into a safe deposit box or other storage easily.
- External Hard Drive – I use an older version of a Seagate external hard drive similar to this one and have been very pleased with it.
Cloud Back Ups
Backing up your genealogy files and photographs in the cloud is another good practice. Depending on the amount you need to back up, both free and paid options are available.
- Dropbox – I use Dropbox almost daily and love!
- Backblaze – A nice low cost option.
- iDrive – iDrive is also a great option. You can back up multiple devices which is always a plus. Both free and paid subscriptions are available. I have just begun to use iDrive and am still learning all that it can do. So far, I am very pleased with it. (It came highly recommended to me by several friends.)
Online Genealogy Sites
Those of you who keep your family tree on one of the major websites such as FamilySearch or Ancestry.com also need to back up your trees. Just having your family tree on a website does not protect it if the website should go down. etc.
Organizing Your Back Up System
You will notice I used the word “system”. Backing up your genealogy files doesn’t just happen. Once you have your tools in place, you must create a system.
When will you back up your data? Get into a routine and back up on the same day each month. Put a reminder on your calendar.
Where will you store your off site copy? Placing a copy in your safe deposit box or giving a copy to a family member are good ideas.
Now that you have your genealogy files backed up digitally, don’t forget to safeguard original documents and photographs.
*After much angst, the files were retrieved and a lesson learned.Please note that this post contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission if you decide to purchase a product/service. This does not cost you extra. Be assured I only recommend products/services that I use and think you would like too.