TIP #29


I know that kind of sounds like an advertisement from a bank or savings and loan company, however in many ways the information or data that we have collected is indeed a bank of sorts.

With a financial institution, if, (God Forbid) something happens and you loose you money; you CAN always in some fashion get out there and earn some more.

Our banks however, in a way, are more precious and sometimes irreplaceable. Granted they are not going to support you in life or keep a roof over your head, but...

much of the information in most of our databases is collected from sources that we perhaps can never access again...therefore the information is irreplaceable. Fine we can always resubmit to the library or some other institution for the copies of various documents we have, this is true. But what of the dates, names, and photos given us by some of the older and no longer living relatives?? Those items cannot be replaced.

For this reason, I had decided to use this tip today and say "Protect Your Investment".

I know a fellow researcher who had just a tremendous amount of data in his computer system, even had a back up. He unfortunately didn't think to make a back up OFF the computer, such as on a CD, Zip Disk or whatever. When his system crashed, he lost everything including his back up that wasn't supposed to be lost.

He is now out there desperately trying to collect his lost information and as many of us know, sometimes it is just impossible to put your finger on just exactly what all you have lost.

Somewhat like out there trying to collect thistledown that has been scattered to the winds.

I offer here a few simple ideas to prevent the loss of some of your valuable info in the event of a crash.

1. Make a copy of your family file--Somewhere OFF your computer; on a CD or Zip Disk or whatever.

2. Make a gedcom of your family file and send it to another researcher that you trust to hold it for you in the event something happens, it will be there waiting for you.

3. Leave NOTHING on your computer that you don't have to--any time you receive information via email from someone, place it on another medium such as a CD, Zip or Floppy Disk.

4. Make a paper copy of your computer database--I have nothing on my family file system that is not also on paper in various notebooks, in this way I still always have a copy of the raw data.

5. Don't assume a computer back up is going to withstand a computer crash.

6. Cite your sources-- this is not always the easiest thing to do as you are obtaining data and most of us are very lax in our attention to it, however, in citing your sources, it makes it easier if you do have to return later to obtain it again.

7. If possible, copy old family photos onto a CD and store it somewhere else. OUTSIDE YOUR HOME. In this way, if something does happens that causes your photo destruction; fire, tornado, theft, whatever--you are not loosing those photos. Granted their destruction will not be your main thought when you have lost everything else, but one day it will come to you that they are gone..with this above method you will still have them. This method also keeps them from fading !

8. Save copies of emails from older family members (off your computer of course). These will be invaluable when those family members are no longer around and also you might find something within them that you didn't see the first time around.

9. Don't trust your memory as a solitary source--although you might have a great memory and have total recall, it won't always be that way, so write it down...NOW.

10. Look at your genealogical records as if you were going to die suddenly tomorrow.. Although a gruesome thought, I say this because it is sometimes the only way to view your records to make them perform to their maximum. For example; could someone come in and pick up what you are working on and have any comprehension of it? Is it organized in a manner that someone else would be able to figure out? (without getting frustrated and tossing it in the trash?) Are your different areas of family searching separated for clear understanding? I mean, YOU know that Fred is Suzy half uncle by a third marriage and there is an intermarriage there into another main lineage, but would someone else?

There are many, many things within your files/data that only you understand because some of the "connecting" info is within your head, you immediately comprehend what you are viewing...would someone else? Write it down. Make it a part of your data.