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Protect Your Genealogy Research From Disaster

Mac Time Machine

What would you do if a disaster destroyed all of your old family photos, documents, and genealogy research? That scenario is a genealogist’s nightmare. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your precious documents, photos, and research in case of a disaster.

You cannot prevent an earthquake, flood, or wildfire from happening. Genealogists can, however, make preparations that would help protect their research in case of a natural disaster. The extra work involved may sound a bit tedious. It is well worth the trouble to do it.

Follow these 3 Tips to protect your Genealogy Research from Disaster:

Backup Your Digital Files

This advice is given to everyone who uses a computer. Make sure everything is backed up. Genealogists who use a Mac can make use of Time Machine. The Time Machine software comes with every Mac. Set it up to automatically backup to an external hard drive. If something happens to your computer, your digital files will be securely saved through Time Machine.

PC users can achieve a similar result by enabling File History on their computer that uses Windows 8. You are going to need an external drive attached to your computer. That external drive is where File History will put a backup of your important genealogy and family history information. Again, if something happened to your computer, File History will have saved your research for you.

Store Digital Files Off Site

It is a good idea to have a “backup of the backup” by storing your genealogy related digital files somewhere outside of your home. One simple way to do this is to use Dropbox. You can get started using it for free. It automatically comes with a certain amount of space that you can use for free.

Put a copy of your digital genealogy files into your Dropbox. The items you put into Dropbox will be placed on a server that is outside your home. If the unthinkable happens, and your home is destroyed due to a disaster, your genealogy research and family photos will be safe.

Make Digital Copies of Papers

You’ve spent hours tracking down copies of your ancestor’s birth, marriage, and death certificates. You have the only copy of dozens of old family photos. These are things that are difficult, or impossible, to replace. If something happened to them – they would be gone forever.

If the thought of losing all your genealogy papers strikes fear into your heart, don’t despair. It can be very easy to scan everything and make digital copies of it all. ScanSnap, by Fujitsu, is a relatively inexpensive scanner. It may sound tedious to scan each and every photo and document. Just remember you are protecting them by making a backup digital copy. Use the digital copies at home. Store the originals in a safe deposit box at your bank.

Image by Danny Hope on Flickr.

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