It’s the first of September, the last weekend of the summer, and a holiday weekend at that. Enjoy it with family and friends, but don’t forget that the 1st of the month is Backup Day – at least for genealogists who follow Dick Eastman, genealogist extraordinare. (Keep an eye on his article topics regularly shown below on the right for reminders.)
Our BCGS website has a number of suggestions for regular backups. Check our Backup and Cloud Storage page here. No matter which day of the month or week you choose, don’t forget regular backups. After all, as some say, it’s not if your computer may fail you, it’s when.
Setting up an automatic backup for your genealogy files nowadays to a portable drive or to ‘cloud’ storage is easy and often free or almost free. And an automatic system should ensure your backup is done on schedule – the first principle of backup.
There are other principles too for backup and those include 2. having more than one copy and on different media, so you might backup photograph files, for example, both on an external drive, and on CD or DVD, and 2. storing backups in more than one place, so perhaps using an external drive at home as well as a commercial ‘cloud’ storage service – and why not give copies to a relative, one copy to store, and one to use and share.
Given the disasters we’ve all seen on the news lately this last principle is obviously important, as is a ‘disaster plan’ for your genealogy data, documents and treasures.
A day ago, while reading old filed articles, I also happened to watch a report about the many people affected by hurricane Isaac, This heightened my interest in Winifred Delery Hills’s article, “A Genealogist’s Reflections on Leaving New Orleans: One Year Later”, which appeared in New England Ancestors, Fall 2006 (Volume 7 #4, pp. 30-31) – well worth reading.
Her’s is a sharp reminder that when disaster happens, without a plan, much will be lost. Her tips include identifying “NOW” what you want to save, and having containers on hand to hold these, as well as having backup copies stored, You can read the rest of her article and her tips at the BCGS Walter Draycott Library.