There are many ways to secure your family history and the below list gives a few ideas:
1) Share your family history with other family members who also enjoy preserving the past history of the family. Whether by email or by mail, this might be enjoyable as well as important one day if something happened to your information.
2) Upload your family history on one of the several websites already set up to for this purpose. There are several such sites. Be sure and check out these sites to see which one would best fit your needs and interests.
3) Design and set up your own family history site and upload all your information and pictures to that site.
4) Backup your family history. Set yourself up with a schedule, and backup your family history on CD's or DVD's every 2 weeks to a month, depending upon how much you researched during that time period, and then store them in a fireproof box.
5) Set up your computer with a removable hard drive. These are becoming more popular for your computer. They have a handle on your hard drive, and they just pull right out. Sometimes they are called a "Removable Hard Drive Drawer". This way, you could preserve not only your family history, but also any other important information also on your hard drive. Your local computer store can help you with this.
6) Look into online storage spaces. Just as you would go and find a storage space for anything else, you can also get online storage space for your family history. One such place is: http://www.freewebspace.net/guide/diskstorage.shtml.
If you have decided on one of the above ways to secure your family history, begin first by checking out Cindi's Genealogy Home page construction kit: http://www.cyndislist.com/construc.htm. This construction kit is really to aid someone to set up there own web site for family history, or upload your family history to a site already set up for this purpose, but it might give you some ideas of what might work for you the best.
Shortly before hurricane Katrina hit, I had corresponded through email with a family researcher who had done quite a bit of good research on their family and had openly shared a large portion of it with me. At the time, I was a little surprised they had shared there entire database with me but was very grateful for all of this wonderful information. After hurricane Katrina hit, my thoughts kept reminding me of this family historian, who shared all of that information with me and I knew the family lived in Biloxi Mississippi, a very hard hit area from Hurricane Katrina. I logged on to the Red Cross site trying to locate my friends, but no word. Finally after 3 days, there was a message posted about them. All safe but damage was great. My heart sunk, happy to hear they were all safe, but concerned for all of them. In the weeks to follow, I finally heard from my friend and all about the hardships they had endured. After two weeks, I emailed them and asked them how they were doing again, and mentioned to them that if their family history had not survived, they had sent me the their entire database only 2 weeks before hurricane Katrina had hit, and I would be happy to email it back to them when they were ready. In weeks that followed, I learned that indeed the family history survived hurricane Katrina, but what if it had not survived?
Natural disasters are everywhere, and for a family historian to lose their work to a natural disaster could be devastating long after lives are put back together after such an event. Make plans to secure your family history and have peace of mind about it.
Whether you decide to use computer hardware which is quickly removed, or a web-based storage space, secure your work for the future. Your work is important and if lost, it could be lost forever.
Pass the word to all family historians you know to make plans to secure their research. By working together, and by making plans to secure family histories, you will not only take care of your research but possibly get others interested in researching their family history and securing it for the future.
Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2006.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.
*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.
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