Data Backup Day – January 1, 2011

data backup day
With a new year comes a new outlook towards many aspects of our lives. One area not to be overlooked is the backing up of all your computer data, especially your genealogy data. This year, why not include some “data backup resolutions” along with your other New Year’s resolutions and get into the habit of backing up your data on a monthly basis. Follow along here at GeneaBloggers where the first day of each month is Data Backup Day.

Data Backup Resolutions

  • Take inventory of what data needs to be backed up and how often backups should be performed. Make sure you include favorites and bookmarks, blog posts, website files, etc. These days our genealogy “data” is so much more than just our genealogy software databases.
  • Select a backup method that works for you. Check out online services such as DropBox which not only gives you 2GB of free online storage, but also synchronizes your data changes across many devices including your netbook and smart phone or mobile device!
  • Don’t put off backing up your data! You never know when a hard drive might fail or your home could be hit by fire, flood or some other disaster.
  • While you’re at it, also consider securing paper documents and photos in archival acid-free and waterproof containers. And make plans to attend the next Scanfest when you can scan these items to create a digital backup.
  • Help spread the word about the importance of data backups for genealogists and family historians. Place a status message on your Facebook page or using Twitter. Make a mention in your genealogical society newsletter or make the announcement in person next time you attend a meeting.

Ways To Backup Your Data

“Back in the day” the ways of securing your data meant copying to CDs or “ugh” even floppy disks (remember those?). Luckily these days we have more and more devices including cheap external drives with 1 TB or more of store and online applications that will backup your data – for free!

  • Hard Drive: if you have room on your hard drive, create a “copy folder” of your essential data. This not only gives you a second copy but is what you can use to copy out to CDs, DVDs or other media.
  • CDs and DVDs: if your computer has a CD or DVD burner, you can create your own CDs and DVDs to store data.
  • External Hard Drive: an external hard drive can connect to your computer via a USB connection and they can hold 1 TB (that’s terabyte as in 1,000 GB) at a relatively cheap price (some under $100). What’s also nice is the size: some can fit in the palm of your hand.
  • Online Backup Services: there are a variety of sites that allow you to backup your data – some even for free!

Data Types To Backup

The main focus is your research database but think about backing up these items as well:

  • blog posts and templates
  • emails
  • Internet favorites and bookmarks
  • photos and scanned documents

Data Backup Resources

GeneaBloggers has developed a resource list of data backup methodologies and solutions. Click here to learn how you can backup almost every aspect of your blog, your browser, your computer – even Macs!

Recent Genealogy Blogger Experiences

If you think that data loss can’t happen to you, see what your genealogy blogging colleagues have said recently:

Photo: Backup Backup Backup – And Test Restores at Flickr courtesy of Topato

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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5 thoughts on “Data Backup Day – January 1, 2011

  1. I have an alternate email address that is for Genealogy. Something like this:
    thgenealogy@****
    I forward anything I want to keep to this email and also bookmark, save, file, backup,etc.
    This email account is a second ( third or fourth) back up source, is easy to search to find the article I want to reference or copy to another file.
    I can also keep photos and attachment here.
    The emails are also forwarded to my main email account and I just glance at them and decide if something else needs to be done to them or delete it easily from my main email leaving it in the Genealogy email account.
    I reference back to this account fairly often or even add to a specific email to keep information together.

    I also have a “private” blog I like to use to organize information and share with family members. I keep things there, delete some after awhile and just store stuff I want to check out later.

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