Lost Genealogy: Don’t be a Victim of the Digital Dark Ages

Lost Genealogy: Don’t be a Victim of the Digital Dark Ages

[Editor’s note: Click here to download your FREE copy of my Backing Up Your Genealogy Data syllabus. Then read below about how you can avoid being caught up in the Digital Dark Ages.]

It happened again last week. Over on Facebook, I read the story of a genealogist who lost 20 years of work. Yet this time, the circumstances were a bit different. There was no house fire. There was no flood or landslide. All it took was a tap of the Delete key.

Which is Safer – Hard Copy or Digital Data?

As we learn to work more and more online as genealogists in the era of Big Data, we’re busy bees gathering images, records, notes etc. We save them to programs like Evernote for safekeeping. We download images, add source citations to the metadata, but never print them out. We scan documents, track them in our research log, and then move on to the next piece of evidence.

We feel safe and secure knowing that we’re zooming along in the Digital Age. We have new skills when it comes to preserving items. It is all a bit heady and we even get a bit cocky thinking, “What could go wrong? I’m working in the cloud. I’m backing up my data . . .” But there’s more to it than that, and many of us aren’t gathering and backing up everything we should nor do we have a solid backup plan.

Are You Gathering and Backing Up Everything for Genealogy?

If I were to ask you about your current process of gathering data for backup, would it include these items?

  • Emails from family members and other researchers, some with clues, some with family stories.
  • Photos on your iPhone of last year’s family reunion.
  • Digital recordings of interviews with older relatives, waiting to be transcribed.
  • Images of scanned documents not yet added to your genealogy database.
  • Bookmarks of websites used for your genealogy research.

The truth is, that most of us only backup items from our main home computer. We don’t think about laptops, tablets and smart devices like iPhone. Maybe we figure the data will always be there. Maybe we feel confident because we’ve copied the data to “the Cloud.” Don’t be fooled . . .

3-2-1 Data Backup Plan from GeneaBloggers

The Cloud Is Not Enough – Use the 3-2-1 Backup Plan

Me, the “tech guy,” got burned by the Cloud last year. It was my own fault and I accepted full responsibility for just being plain lazy. While I’ve been using Dropbox, a cloud-based storage program, since its inception, I turned off the syncing feature on my desktop because of “the need for speed” when it came to working. Each day I kept telling myself that I would turn it back on and do watch television or do something while the program caught up and copied my local data up to the Cloud.

And then the hard drive failed on my desktop computer. I lost two weeks’ worth of writing and research. Poof! Gone!

So now I use what I call the 3-2-1 Backup Plan and I stick to it religiously. I don’t get greedy for speed or lazy and put it off to tomorrow. Here’s how the plan works:

  • At least 3 different backups. One is not enough. For me, I use The Cloud, a local external hard drive, and a 128GB flash drive.
  • Use 2 different media for backup. I chose three actually, but never have all your backups in the Cloud or on just flash drives.
  • At least 1 backup must be offsite, and away from the original source computer. For me, the Cloud qualifies as well as the flash drive since I store it in a fire safe away from my computer.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?  Well, I have a new device that makes it easier to not just gather ALL my data, even from mobile devices, but helps me fulfill the terms of the 3-2-1 plan . . .

iDrive – How Do iLove Thee? Let Me Count the Ways . . .

iDrive – How Do iLove Thee? Let Me Count the Ways . . .

I love the iDrive Universal Backup service because it lets you back up EVERYTHING — all of your PCs, Macs, mobile devices and even social media content. It’s super-easy and secure. But cloud backup has one drawback. It can take a long time to transfer all your data to the cloud, or retrieve it when needed. That’s why you need a local backup, too.

Introducing the iDrive Wi-Fi Drive

Introducing the iDrive Wi-Fi Drive

And that’s exactly why I’m excited about iDrive Wi-Fi … a storage device that combines the security of cloud backup and the convenience of local connectivity. Conveniently backup ALL of your computers to the iDrive Wi-Fi device via iDrive’s desktop application. The wireless connectivity of the iDrive Wi-Fi device enables you to backup multiple devices (up to 5) at once.

Here’s the part I love best … it eliminates the need to tote your external hard drive around, manually connecting it to each computer when it’s time to do backups. Because it connects via WiFi, all your backups (desktop or laptop, PC or Mac) can run automatically. And in my opinion, automatic backups are the ONLY reliable way to get it done.

An Exclusive 5-Day iDrive Offer from GeneaBloggers ...

An Exclusive 5-Day iDrive Offer from GeneaBloggers …

Normally the 1-Terabyte iDrive Wi-Fi device costs $99.99. But as one of my fans and followers, for FIVE DAYS ONLY (26-31 July 2015) you can get it for just $59.50 USD. That includes one year of iDrive online backup. AND it is PC and MAC compatible. Similar external hard drives with Wi-Fi connectivity cost about $150 (check one out here and it doesn’t include any online backup!) so this really is an amazing deal.

Order your IDRIVE WI-FI now…

iDrive W-iFi: A Mobile, Secure and Unique Solution

Got a smartphone or tablet? You can directly backup your mobile devices to iDrive Wi-Fi, using the iDrive mobile app. iDrive Wi-Fi lets you securely store your photos, videos, music and more from various devices, without the fear of losing it.

All data stored on the iDrive Wi-Fi is guarded with military grade security. Your data is protected with 256-bit encryption, using an encryption password known only to you. So the only person who can access your data is you, even if your data falls into the wrong hands.

idrive wifi drive

I don’t know of ANY other backup solution that combines local and cloud storage like this. Nor is there one that allows you to backup UNLIMITED devices like iDrive does. Carbonite and Mozy charge extra if you have more than one computer.

With iDrive and the iDrive Wi-Fi, all the bases are covered. Your PCs, Macs, mobile gadgets and social media accounts are securely backed up, painlessly and automatically.

* * *

P.S. — I encourage you to order your iDRIVE Wi-Fi now, because this exclusive discount will disappear when the clock strikes midnight on 31 July 2015. After that, the price returns to $99.99.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee.  All rights reserved.

Genealogy Blogging Beat – Sunday, 26 July 2015

July 26, 1990. President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, which went into effect two years later. It required that public facilities be made accessible to people with disabilities.

July 26, 1990. President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, which went into effect two years later. It required that public facilities be made accessible to people with disabilities.


Today is Sunday, 26 July 2015, and here is what’s available in terms of Daily Blogging Prompts and other related events in the genealogy blogosphere:

Genealogy Items of Note

  • Today: Americans With Disabilities Act – 25th Anniversary, Aunties Day, Parents Day (US), and US Army First Desegregation – Anniversary.

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