It is the First Day of the Month: Back Up Your Genealogy Files

BackUpYourGenealogyFilesIt is the first day of the month. It’s time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first day of every month, if not more often.

Given the events of the past month with genealogy web sites laying off employees and cutting back on services, you now need backup copies of everything more than ever. What happens if the company that holds your online data either goes off line or simply deletes the service where your data is held? If you have copies of everything stored either in your own computer or stored in a different company’s online service, such a loss would be inconvenient but not a disaster.

Of course, you might want to back up more than your genealogy files. Family photographs, your checkbook register, all sorts of word processing documents, email messages, and much more need to be backed up regularly. Why not do that on the first day of each month?


My laptop appears to be totally corrupted. I have an external hard drive for back up (passport). They said the back up may be corrupted, too. What do I do? All my genealogy from 40 years is there! (…or, was there.) I thought I was doing the right thing. Help, please!


    —> My laptop appears to be totally corrupted. I have an external hard drive for back

    Sadly, there is no easy answer. I can tell you what you SHOULD have done but it is probably too late for that now.

    I have written many times about the need for making backups. I always write something similar to this: “Make sure you make multiple backups and always store them in different places.”

    If only one backup is made and it is stored in only one place, there is always the strong risk of what you experienced. In my case, my computer automatically makes backups multiple times per day and saves one copy on my computer’s hard drive, another copy in an external hard drive that sits next to the computer, another copy in an online backup service in the cloud, and still another copy to an old computer that sits across the room from my newer, primary computer.

    All of this is done automatically by the backup software in the computer, even if I am sleeping at the time or perhaps traveling in another state or country. And yes, I do leave my primary computer and the older computer and the Internet connection powered on 24 hours a day, 365 dys a year.

    I have similar backup processes on my laptop computer although that one is not powered on constantly.

    “Never store all your eggs or all your backups in one basket.”

    “L.O.C.K.S.S. means Lots Of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe”

    “You can never have too many backups”


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