The “3-2-1” Backup Plan for Genealogy Data and How Wireless External Hard Drives Work

Save 40% on iDrive One: a Personal Cloud for Backing Up and Steaming - normally $99.99, for only $59.50 you get a 1TB external hard drive with wireless so you can backup ALL your data including mobile devices! And you also receive a 1-year subscription to iDrive continuous online backup. Expires Sunday May 15th! Click here to save - via iDrive

The “3-2-1” Backup Plan for Genealogy Data and How Wireless External Hard Drives Work

[Editor’s note: Click here to download your FREE copy of my Backing Up Your Genealogy Data handout. Then read below about how you can start your own “3-2-1” data backup plan.

QuickLink: Get a 1TB wireless hard drive PLUS one year of 1TB continuous backup from iDrive for 40% off! Click here to get started!

I am back out on the road again delivering genealogy and family history lectures for genealogy societies. This past weekend I had the pleasure to speak at the San Mateo County Genealogical Society Spring Seminar in Menlo Park, California and take a guess as to the most talked-about topic that day? Backing up and preserving all your genealogy research!

Here's a special deal: a 1TB external hard drive PLUS wifi to backup all your mobile devices AND 1 year of online data backup - for just $59.50 from iDrive.

Every week I receive an email from a frustrated genealogist who never took the time to put together a comprehensive backup plan and then POOF! . . . the hard drive on their computer failed or they accidentally deleted a genealogy database file. There’s nothing worse than trying to recover missing data, especially when it can be scanned family photos and genealogy research data.

Are You Gathering and Backing Up Everything?

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 our iPhones. 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 . . .

So, What Is a Wireless Hard Drive?

Many of us have purchased external hard drives to backup data. Most of them connect to the computer via USB and sit near the computer.

With a wireless hard drive, there is no such connection – it works with your current home wireless network. This means you can not only back up your computer, but any device that can connect to wireless including tablets, mobile devices and more. Now you can have all your backups in one place!

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 go 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 an online backup program from iDrive, a wireless hard drive from iDrive, 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 iDrive 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 . . .

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. And now with iDrive One – the 1TB wireless hard drive, I can do super-fast backups and even backup my iPhone to the same drive!

An Exclusive Offer …the Best Offer for 2016

Normally the 1-Terabyte iDrive One backup solution costs $99.99. But as one of my fans and followers, for the next WEEK (9-15 May 2016) you can get it for just $59.50 USD for the first year – a 40% discount! That includes the 1TB wireless hard drive and 1 year of iDrive online backup which is PC and MAC compatible. What I love the most? I am not limited to the number of computers or devices that I can choose to backup – so I include my desktop, my laptop, my iPad, my iPhone and more.

Click here to order your IDRIVE backup subscription now…

And check out the comparison of iDrive and Carbonite as well as the comparison of iDrive and Backblaze, and iDrive and Dropbox.

©2016, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Tip of the Day App – FREE!

Michael John Neill announces the 50,000th fan of his Genealogy Tip of the Day page on Facebook and the new Genealogy Tip of the Day app!

Michael John Neill’s Genealogy Tip of the Day is excited to make two announcements: “We’ve reached 50,000 fans on Facebook and we’re pleased to announce the release of our free Genealogy Tip of the Day app for mobile devices.

The Genealogy Tip of the Day app can be located in the Apple iTunes Store or the Google Play Store on Android and can be downloaded at no charge. It is now easier than ever to have each daily tip literally at your fingertips to browse whenever you’ve got a free research moment.

Michael adds, “In celebration, we’re offering a discount on all of our recorded genealogy webinars on a wide range of research topics. Presentations are advertising-free, easy to follow, and geared to being practical and down-to-earth. To keep with our “50” theme, a discount of 50% will be applied with the use of coupon code 50000 at checkout. Click here to view the available webinars!

Michael has actively researched his and his children’s genealogy for over thirty years and has lectured at a wide variety of national and local conferences and seminars. He maintains a personal genealogy blog at Rootdig. RootsWeb Data Loss: Future Proofing Your Genealogy Data just announced that it has lost data from the RootsWeb free pages - here is what you can do to future proof your genealogy data!

In case you haven’t heard, with the recent RootsWeb website outage a few weeks ago, has just communicated to its RootsWeb users the following email about possible data loss:

As you may know, the RootsWeb site was recently unavailable as the result of a hardware failure in our datacenter. Our development and web operations teams worked diligently and carefully to address the issues, and as a result, the site is now available again.   

Regretfully, despite their best efforts, our teams were not able to retrieve all of the data associated with the site. Specifically, we were unable to retrieve content from FreePages added after the summer of 2015. We understand these pages are important to you and are very sorry that we are not able to recover the data that was lost as a result of the hardware failure. Going forward, we are adding additional technical resources to support the site and ensure such an issue does not occur again. 

If you have a backup of your own please upload it to the site so that you have the most current version of your pages.

If you have any concerns, please contact our Member Services through our support form.

What You Can Do Right Now

So, if you maintain a RootsWeb “free page” here is what you should do right now:

  • First, check and see if you have any data loss since the middle of 2015.
  • Second, if you do, see if you have any backup copy saved on your computer and then update your RootsWeb page.
  • Third, if you do not have a backup, consider using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine ( to view archived pages. Note: not all RootsWeb pages will be archived on the Wayback Machine.
  • Fourth, also consider using the Google Cache view of your page and copy and paste data from that version of your RootsWeb page.

How You Can Prevent Future Data Loss

Backing up your data is your responsibility and you should NEVER count on a website or vendor to always backup any data you upload to their site. In fact, this is likely spelled out in the Terms of Service at and other sites.

I ALWAYS compose my content in an electronic document on my own computer (Microsoft Word, etc.) BEFORE I upload it as a blog post, or a web page.  This is a good habit to get into. And also, remember to create backup copies of the data on your computer.

©2016, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.