Showing posts with label backup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label backup. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

How to Back Up Your Family Tree Files Automatically

This one decision is my biggest genealogy time-saver.

Last December I wrote my list of genealogy goals for 2018. I'm making progress, but at least 2 of my goals will spill over to next year's list.

My genealogy files are backed up  instantly, automatically.
My genealogy files are backed up
instantly, automatically.
That's why I'm so happy, week after week, about my decision to back up my family tree files automatically. Well, automatically and also manually, because two backups are better than one.

There are free storage options and paid storage options. I'll list several of them below, but first: Automation.

I've decided to use my Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage for my genealogy files. All my files are still stored locally on my computer. But they're mirrored and continuously backed up to OneDrive.

Continuously backed up means:
  • My document tracker spreadsheet is always saved on my computer and the cloud.
  • Each census sheet or birth record I download to add to my tree is backed up to the cloud at the same time.
  • When I work in Family Tree Maker and make a backup file, the tree and the backup are also saved on my computer and the cloud.
I don't have to take an extra step to back them up. But, I also have an external, 1 Terabyte drive. Once a week I look at all my genealogy folders on my computer, sorting them by date. I copy anything with a newer date than my last backup to the external drive.

My OneDrive files, accessible to me online, anywhere.
My OneDrive files, accessible to me online, anywhere.

It's fast, efficient and safe. Plus, having your files online, in your password-protected storage area, means you can access your files from anywhere.

I like syncing a portion of my computer with OneDrive because the files are still on my computer. They'd still be there even if I had no internet access.

Here are several options for online storage that you can use:

OneDrive

I'm a monthly subscriber to Microsoft Office 365. I need it for work, and the cost is low enough that I'll keep subscribing even after I've retired. My subscription includes 1 Terabyte of storage space. Even with all my genealogy files on OneDrive, I'm only using a tiny portion of my Terabyte—about 182 GB. You can get 5 GB of free storage space or 50 GB for $1.99/month. Visit OneDrive to learn more.

Google Drive is another automatic backup option.
Google Drive is another
automatic backup option.
Google Drive

You can also use your free Google account for automatic backup. Google Drive lets you synchronize folders with your online storage space automatically. It works with your Windows or Mac computer, and your Android or iOS device. Google Drive gives you 15 GB of storage for free. For $1.99/month, you can buy 100 GB of storage. Visit Google Drive to learn more.

iCloud

Do you have an iPhone or iPad? If so, you have 5 GB of iCloud storage. You can access it from your computer as well as your devices. That's not a lot of space, but you can pay for more storage. The cost depends on your country and how much space you want. Visit iCloud to learn more.

Dropbox

Free storage with Dropbox is limited to 2 GB. You can buy 1 Terabyte of online storage space for $9.99/month. I like to use Dropbox for file sharing. I've posted fill-in-the-blanks census sheets there and other PDFs to share with specific people. Visit Dropbox to learn more.

Your Internet Provider

If you have an internet connection in your home, your service provider may offer you some free storage space. Check with your provider.

You can see that the paid plans are very competitive with each other. With OneDrive, I'm basically paying for that 1 Terabyte and getting Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more for free.

No excuses now. Even if you split your files among different free storage spaces, it's time for you to create your back up plan.


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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

How Are Your 2018 Genealogy Goals Coming Along?

My father-in-law, Ben Ohama, crushing it on the track, leading the pack.
My father-in-law, Ben Ohama, crushing it on the track,
leading the pack.
It's nearly August already! How are you doing with your 2018 genealogy goals?

Last December I encouraged you to set some genealogy goals. The point was to help push yourself to work on or finish important genealogy tasks.

So how are you progressing? It isn't too late to hack away at those goals.

Here's my own list of 2018 goals. Let's look at how I'm doing and see if that can inspire you.

1. Create a Weekly Backup Plan

Genealogy email folders are part of my backup plan.
Genealogy email
Done! But it is ongoing. Each Sunday I consult my list of file types to back up. I've only missed a couple of weeks, but at this very moment, my files are 100% backed up.

My list contains some non-genealogy files:
  • My Microsoft Outlook email file (which has tons of genealogy information)
  • My bank and credit card statements and QuickBooks files
  • My 3 latest Family Tree Maker complete backup files
  • All the genealogy document images I've collected since my last backup
I back up my files to a neat little external, 1 terabyte Seagate drive and to OneDrive by Microsoft. I get a free terabyte of space there because I subscribe to Microsoft Office Online.

2. Find My Parents' Connection

When I uploaded my raw DNA to GEDmatch.com, I discovered that my parents are 4th or 5th cousins. Boy, did that leave them with their mouths hanging open.

My goal is to find their connection. Somewhere there is a pair of 5th or 6th great grandparents that they share. I haven't found the connection yet, but I am actively working on it.

I'm going through the vital records from their ancestors' neighboring hometowns and building out their families. I'll find that connection eventually. I just hope I'll find it while they're still alive to laugh about it.

3. Log the Antenati Documents Into a Master Spreadsheet

I feel like I talk about this every day. If you don't know or you have no Italian ancestors, Antenati is a website with TONS of Italian vital records. The word antenati means ancestors.

Using a free software program called GetLinks by Carlos Leite, I've downloaded to my computer every available vital record from each of my Italian ancestors' hometowns:
  • Baselice, Circello, Colle Sannita, Pastene, Pescolamazza, and Sant'Angelo a Cupolo in the province of Benevento
  • Santa Paolina in the province of Avellino
I have—easily—several hundred relatives in those records. Sometimes I search the documents for someone in particular. Sometimes I go year by year searching for every baby born to a particular couple.

But I really want to record the facts from all the records in a spreadsheet. I've completed several years' worth of records. It makes searching for someone so much easier.

A sliver of my ambitious master file of tons of vital records.
A sliver of my ambitious master file of tons of vital records.
Someday, when it's all done, I can share the results and benefit everyone else who's a descendant of these towns.

So, I'm actively working on it, but I can't finish it in 2018.

4. Fill in the "Need to Find" Column on My Document Tracker

A near-disaster with my "document tracker" spreadsheet has forced me to make a ton of progress on this goal.

Last week I wrote about a screw-up in my master spreadsheet where I keep track of every document image or date I gather for someone in my tree. I took full advantage of a glitch in the file to make progress with my 4th genealogy goal.

Line-by-line, I'm examining my document tracker. I'm comparing each person's line in the spreadsheet to their documents and facts in Family Tree Maker. I'm filling in all the columns, and determining what's missing.

My spreadsheet of everything I've found, and everything I need, helps guide my research efficiently.
My spreadsheet of everything I've found, and everything I need, guides my research efficiently.
I'm adding the missing facts to the "Need to Find" column. Then I give the person's entire row a green background color to make it clear I've examined that person.

I'm not following alphabetical order because I'm also working on goal #5. I have completed my review of the letters A through C (that's last names) and S through Z. I've done all my Leone relatives and my Iammucci relatives. Those areas contain some of my closest relatives.

I'm making progress and absolutely will complete this in 2018.

5. Replace Family History Center Photos with Antenati Document Images

Around 2008, before the Antenati website and FamilySearch.org made the Italian vital records available online, I ordered microfilm of the vital records from my maternal grandfather's hometown.

I viewed every record from 1809 to 1860 on nasty old microfilm viewers at Family History Centers in Philadelphia and Poughkeepsie, New York.

The Philadelphia Family History Center had one computer that read microfilm. When it was available, I could grab JPEG files of the documents I wanted the most. In Poughkeepsie I had to take iPhone photos of the projected images. Those are awful. They're dark, fuzzy, and show the texture of the surface on which the image is projected.

This dramatic before-and-after comparison makes it clear why I need those high-res documents from Antenati.
This dramatic before-and-after comparison makes it clear why I need those high-res documents from Antenati.
My goal is to replace all the crummy iPhone photos with high-resolution images from the Antenati site.

I'm making headway on goals 4 and 5 at the same time by focusing on the families from the town I researched on microfilm. I can replace those bad images, fill in the blanks for those people on my document tracker, and make double the progress.

It's August-eve. We're seven twelfths of the way through 2018. That's about 58%. I believe my goals are at least 58% complete.

But I'm not taking my foot off the gas pedal. I need to keep on track and keep that finish line in sight.

Now it's your turn. And it's not too late in the year to begin! Which genealogy tasks are most important to you this year?

How are you doing?


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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

3 Top Safety Tips for Your Family Tree Data

Results of Following Genealogy Best Practices, Part 3

This is the third article in a series about the benefits of following genealogy best practices. (Read about more genealogy best practices in part 1 and part 2.)

Be careful out there
Last November my 5-year-old computer started misbehaving. I couldn't risk losing all my genealogy data and business assets, so I acted quickly. I secured my data and made multiple backups while I waited for my new computer to arrive.

Five months later, I'm faithfully sticking to my data-safety plan. I hope this will inspire you to do the same before disaster strikes.

1. Stick to an Easy Back-Up Plan

To make sure my family tree research is protected, I created a simple back-up plan. Each Sunday I run down my short list of which files to back up to which location. Here's the entire list, just to prove how simple it is.

LAST BACKUP 4/15/2018
  • Back up to OneDrive:
    1. (automatic) Antenati files
    2. (manual) E:\FamilyTree
  • Back up to external drive:
    1. C:\Users\diann\Documents\Quickbooks
    2. C:\Users\diann\Documents\Outlook Files
    3. E:\ everything EXCEPT FamilyTree
I have two main backup locations: a 1 terabyte external drive and 1 terabyte on the Microsoft cloud (OneDrive). That's a lot of space. A lot of space.

My OneDrive folders are backed up automatically.
My OneDrive folders are backed up
automatically.
I subscribe to Microsoft Office 365 because I need it for work. The cloud storage is free with my subscription. You can use free or paid cloud storage from Apple (if you have an iPhone), Google, Dropbox and other providers.

I love how the folders I name as OneDrive folders are continuously updated on the cloud. I don't have to save a spreadsheet as I'm working on it. And if I rename files or folders, that's synchronized with the cloud version. No effort needed.

The thousands and thousands of Italian vital records I've downloaded from the Italian genealogy archives site (Antenati) are always backed up to the cloud. So are my various genealogy tracking spreadsheets.

What I update manually are the document images I've added to my family tree. I also copy my complete Family Tree Maker file, its automatic backup, and my 2 most recent manual backups there. Once a week I simply drag the newest files to my cloud storage.

The rest of my backup list shows me the few locations of files to copy to my external drive. By sorting my file folders by date, I can see what's new and complete all my backups in about five minutes.

2. Take Advantage of Free Cloud Storage

I've already explained how I'm using my 1 terabyte of Microsoft OneDrive. Don't have that? Try a search for "free cloud storage providers".

Note: I don't keep anything on the cloud that's personal. My email and financial records are not there. Only publicly available genealogy documents are there. So don't be paranoid and brush off this idea.

Take a look at Google Drive and Dropbox. If you don't want to pay for storage, you can combine different free spaces. If you spell that out in your backup list (like mine above), you'll always know what goes where.

3. Keep Track of Your Genealogy Records

I believe strongly in keeping an inventory of the documents I've attached to people in my family tree.

I've also got a complex spreadsheet where I'm documenting the thousands of vital records from my ancestors' 5 Italian hometowns. I've got an ancestor spreadsheet listing the name and Ahnentafel number of each direct ancestor whose name I've discovered. Plus I've got a list of Italian words for occupations and their English translations. (See How to Handle Foreign Words in Your Family Tree.)

Anything you need to reference regularly, need to keep track of and want to keep updated, you can store on the cloud. Then you've always got a safety backup.

To safeguard your genealogy treasure, make these steps a habit. Decide which files belong where. Designate a day each week to make a manual backup. If you can remember to brush your teeth each day, you can remember to practice these safety tips.

Be safe out there.


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