Saving Your Family History Securely in the Cloud

Many of us have pictures or information that we want to keep on our home computers or devices, but in case of fire or other disasters, we want to be able to keep them safe. Pre-Cloud users kept copies of pictures and information on CDs or DVDs and hard drives in bank vaults or other safe storage. They also gave copies to others and sent discs or memory sticks to interested parties. When we put our data into cloud storage, though, we keep the original information at our home, and store the data in a format that can be used by others in facilities in different places in the world. Now, everyone can have access to this data, with permission, in a much easier way.

The FamilySearch Blog has an article that describe’s Scott Allen’s presentation at the recent 2014 BYU Family History Conference into the mysterious realms of the “Cloud” and explained what that means. Scott Allen is from the Utah Education Network and knows his subject well.

You can read the article in the FamilySearch Blog at https://familysearch.org/blog/en/saving-family-history-securely-cloud/.

10 Comments

Howard Knickerbocker August 26, 2014 at 6:21 am

Hi Dick,
The one problem with “Cloud” storage is that it dissapears 5 minutes after your monthly check doesn’t show at the hosting outfit. I’ve been storing my genealogy on line (HTML) for many years by maintaining my own web site and it was dumped once in a billing error fiasco.
I think the world needs a perpetual storage site with a one time buy in that insures your data will be maintained for the ages – or until the lights get turned off. – Howard

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I agree with Howard, for example Dropbox has had tech problems in many locations for the past 6+ days, both uploading and downloading.

It appears to be operable now.

bhk

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I try to keep a copy of my genealogy, including old photos and old stories on the familysearch.org Family Tree. I expect that an organization that has been storing genealogy for over 100 years for free will continue to do so. That way, if my children are not interested, they can’t just toss it all into a dumpster. And sooner or later a new generation will arise with a keen interest in our family history, and it will be there waiting for them.

I think all family historians need a plan for what will become of their research, and this is mine. I also keep copies on various other websites, but I am less confident in what will become of their data over the next 100 years. Maybe tribalpages.com and wikitree.com will still be there. I hope so.

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    FamilySearch Family Tree is more like a sandbox. If you really want to submit your tree exactly as you want it preserved, go to Genealogies and upload a gedcom to Pedigree Resource File, which keeps everything you upload exactly as you entered it, without anyone else editing, deleting or updating, as is done in Family Tree. You have an option to re-upload a new gedcom to submit an updated copy of your tree, but just do not do the “Compare” to add to Family Tree, as you cannot get that back as you submitted it. You can also delete the gedcom and submission to Pedigree Resource File, which you cannot do in Family Tree.

    Both are preserved in the Granite Mountain.

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While there is truth to all of the above comments, I believe they all overlook the simplest and safest solution of all. Whatever you do and wherever you do it, keep MULTIPLE copies in multiple places.

I would suggest keeping your genealogy information on your own computer AND in your laptop AND in two or three online services AND on CD disks AND on flash drives AND on paper. Any one of those may disappear at any time (including paper) but the odds of all of them disappearing at the same time are infinitesimal. I would suggest the prudent genealogist never depends upon having only one copy or even two or three copies all stored in the same location.

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I currently have FTM2014 on one computer and an ancestry.com account online with my three trees, all synced to the FTM2014 trees on my computer. How does one convert (or whatever the tech procedure is called) these trees which are identified with their own software to files that can then be stored on sites like iCloud and Google Drive? I just created those latter two storage accounts online at your suggestion and now need to learn how to store my genealogy data on them.

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    —> How does one convert (or whatever the tech procedure is called) these trees which are identified with their own software to files that can then be stored on sites like iCloud and Google Drive?

    Two answers:

    1. If you wish to simply store your information on Google Drive or iCloud or Dropbox or some other online file storage service, simply copy the files to the Google Drive folder or Dropbox folder or whatever folder is used by the service you are using. In most genealogy programs, open the program and your information, then select FILE and then select “SAVE AS…” You then save the file to the Dropbox folder or Google Drive folder or whatever folder is appropriate. (I would first create a sub-folder, such as: /Google Drive/genealogy/RootsMagic/myfamily/ or something similar.) Within a few minutes, the files will be copied to the online service and you can later retrieve them whenever you need them and immediately read them with your genealogy program you are already using. This works well for any time you wish to use the files only for your own use.

    2. If you wish to share the files with others, the most popular method is to first create a GEDCOM file from your present genealogy program and then copy that file to the online service. All modern genealogy programs have the capability to create GEDCOM files. Once created, a GEDCOM file can be imported into any other genealogy program or service (with the exception of a very few handheld programs for Android or Apple iPad/iPhone handheld devices).

    If you plan to share your genealogy information with others, you might want to read my “GEDCOM Explained” article at http://blog.eogn.com/2014/05/24/gedcom-explained/

    I prefer to save my information TWICE: once as a GEDCOM file and once in the format my favorite genealogy program uses. In many programs, that may be a number of files all stored together in one folder.

    Good luck!

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    Thank you for your prompt and clearly written reply!

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I tried storing my family history data on Dropbox, Google and Amazon Cloud, but they all want individual files/photos and will not accept a folder full of files. My current project has 1.7Gbit of data in 108 folders and 5,125 files. How do I send that to cloud storage? Any ideas would be welcome.
Clive Spratt

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    —> I tried storing my family history data on Dropbox, Google and Amazon Cloud, but they all want individual files/photos and will not accept a folder full of files.

    You can upload hundreds, even thousands, of folders and files all at once to both Google Drive and to Dropbox. I am not as familiar with Amazon Cloud but I think the same is true there as well.

    I recently uploaded more than 100 folders, containing roughly 2,700 files, to Google Drive and it worked perfectly. (I wrote about that briefly in my Plus Edition article at http://eogn.com/wp/?p=31300.) It required five or ten seconds to drag-and-drop the one folder to Google Drive. Inside that one folder there were more than 100 sub-folders and I believe there were more than 2,700 files inside those folders.

    While the drag-and-drop only required a few seconds, the process of uploading all those files after the drop-and-drag required a lot of time. The exact time will depend upon the speed of your computer and the speed of your Internet connection. It will require minutes, possibly hours, to upload hundreds of megabytes of files. I don’t know how long it took on my system as I simply left my computer running and went to bed. When I got up in the morning, the file transfers had finished.

    Information on how to upload multiple files and folders to Google Drive may be found at https://support.google.com/drive/answer/2424368?hl=en

    Information on how to upload multiple files and folders to Dropbox may be found at https://www.dropbox.com/help/90 and a video of the process may be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nz-Ao0sU43g

    Information on how to upload multiple files and folders to Amazon Cloud may be found at http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/forums/%3FcdThread%3DTx39BIKUWA3H96S

    You will note that the process is similar on all three services.

    Those are the only file storage services you mentioned but I believe the process will be similar on most other online file storage services.

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