Consanguinity: (kŏn'săng-gwĭn'ĭtē) , relationship by blood, whether linear or collateral.

Primarily concentrating on my Browning family from Harrison County, Ohio (and their subsequent move to Crawford County, Illinois) but I've got Plymell, Crago, Eagleton, Garrard, McConnell, Nichols, Swan, Nevitt, Huls, Markee, Depperman, Papstein/Popstein and Hamilton in there too. And that's just the beginning......

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Back Up Plans

I was reading some other geneablogs today (thanks to Kay B here) and ran across the following mention to Genea-Bloggers and their Data Backup Day March Madness.

Create a post at your geneablog about either a data loss you experienced with
your research data or what you’ve done to prevent data loss… So, are you
prepared in case your hard drive fails? Or there is a fire or some other natural
disaster? What would you lose if you could not get to your research? And how
long would it take to reconstruct that data from scratch?

Data loss, hm? Yes, I have a story about that and I remember it well.

My best friend gave me a laptop back in 1993. I adored it. I installed a little program called The Master Genealogist (LOVE LOVE LOVE that program!!) on it and began my genealogical work on it. I backed up my data here and there onto floppy drives but for the most part I was unschooled in the frailties of the hardware I depended on. Like many people do with all things mechanical and technical that surround them, I simply expected it to work.

Until one day, about five years into my genealogical research, it just didn't.

Oh, the caterwauling! In a panic I searched for my floppies. It'd been a while since I'd backed up and for the life of me, I could not find them. We'd moved, I'd had my daughter, my life was all topsy-turvy....and they were gone as well. I finally resigned myself to the losses (let's not go into how long that took me or the things I said between the time I lost the data and the time I finally did so) but I decided to keep the dead laptop. I kept it on the off chance that someday, someone would come along who might be able to pull the data off my hard drive, assuming it was still good. I didn't have the money to get it taken in at the time (new kid, one less job, etc.) and every time I'd get enough something would come know how it is.

Finally someone came along. I took it in and heard the worst sort of news. Data gone. Laptop hard drive deader than a doornail. I'd been continuing my research in the intervening years but still mourned the loss of a lot of my original data. I hadn't yet roused myself enough to start again from scratch but I was just about at that point when Fate decided to stop having me for breakfast and just give me a break. We'd packed up to move (again) and in the packing I found my box of floppies! Whooooo hoooo! The restore worked but the latest floppy I found was a backup I'd done about three years before my data went kaput. Better than nothing! All in all I lost those three years of work, but I felt I could rebuild from there and I did so.

Never again, I swore. Never again. It was a hard lesson to learn but it sure was a powerful one. And so far, never again. I back up on my Seagate. I back up on a zip drive and back up on two different flash drives I carry with me. I back up on my regular computer and back up on my other system I am currently building. I have burned CDs in a safe deposit box. The only thing I have yet to do is store my data on the web. That'll happen at some point.

I have yet to scan in every old picture and document I have. I'm in the process of doing so and once I get that done it'll all be backed up again in as many ways as I can do it.

Never again!


  1. You've scared me - and motivated me! I think I get careless and expect that my computer can do anything...I'd better get busy!

  2. Yeah, I definitely did that! Don't let what happened to me, happen to you. Ack and double ack. Backing up is like exercising....a necessary evil. :)

  3. Nothing like the present to get started on that scanning! Join us for Scanfest tomorrow, 11 AM to 2 PM, PDT: