by Delia

There always seemed to be disasters in every place I have lived. There were hurricanes in New Orleans, brush fires in southern California, and, of course, tornadoes in Indiana. While we can't avert those disasters, we can mitigate the damage to our genealogical research files if those disaster do occur around our homes.

You already know that you should back up your computer files, preferably each time you do research. Backing up from the USB drive you carry with you to a research facility or backing up your work on your computer to an external hard drive is always a good idea in case of a computer crash. But picture what will happen if a devastating event (flood, fire, tornado) occurs and wipes out all of the back-ups, paper files, and photograph books that are in your home. Spring is a good time to consider your options:

  • For computer files, consider sharing files with relatives and other researchers on a regular basis. You may lose recent information, but the bulk of your information would survive if you have sent copies away.
  • Backing up to a cloud is also a way to protect digital information. Since the physical storage is not on-site, damage to your home would not wipe out all of your information.
  • Consider scanning and identifying old photographs and documents, then provide digital copies to relatives, store them on external drives, or allow The Genealogy Center to share them with everyone via The Genealogy Center's Family Resources, Family Bible Records, or Our Military Heritage web pages.
  • Scan your paper files into digital format or consider using one of the many good genealogy software systems to organize and document your research, and regularly share that information with distant relatives as an off-site back up.

Not all of these suggestions will appeal to you, but it's up to you to make the move to insure that your years of research findings are not borne away on a strong wind or disappear in a puff of smoke.