Monday, September 11, 2017

Protecting Family History: A Timely Word From Dick Eastman

In light of the twin disasters in Texas and Florida, I was going to offer some ideas of how to keep your precious family data safe, but Dick Eastman's done it for me. The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2017 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at http://www.eogn.com.

Hurricanes and Your Genealogy Data

The recent Hurricane Harvey, the present Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Jose presently in tropical waters that might head northward all bring to mind questions, such as "How do I protect my personal belongings and information?"
I cannot speak to protecting belongings. However, I have written many times about preserving personal genealogy information that perhaps you spent years accumulating. The same procedures will also protect your family documents, insurance policies, photographs, and much more of the paper we all accumulate.
Many of the people who live through hurricanes will lose all paper documentation of their existence. Some cannot even not prove they ever lived. This is where going paperless can help.
My suggestion is to make digital copies of ALL PAPER WORTH SAVING, not just genealogy information, but also deeds or mortgage papers, bank and money information, birth certificates, passports, discharge papers, graduation and school records, medical records (especially if there is a chronic health problem), family pictures, and more. The list goes on and on. Scan each document and save each digital image to multiple locations.
For instance, you might save the copy on a thumb drive and on an external hard drive. That protects data lost from your computer but does not provide safety when your entire house is damaged or destroyed. In the case of flood waters, a burst water pipe, fires, or even the destruction of an entire house, the only protection of data is: multiple copies stored in multiple distant locations.
You can save the data to a thumb drive stored in a desk drawer at work, saved to a hard drive or a thumb drive at a relative's distant house, or to a secure cloud-based file storage service. The choice is yours to make. However, I strongly suggest you keep multiple copies both at home and in other locations many miles away.

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