This post is a reminder to back up your genealogy research and records regularly. Why? Because computers crash or get affected by viruses, so that you can lose all your research.
So far I have had to use backups to get my research back twice.
In 2008 a virus affected my computer and I had to reformat the hard disk to get the computer working again. Software had to be reinstalled. My genealogy research was lost in the disk reformat. I had to use a GEDCOM file to restore my genealogy files in Brothers Keeper. Some of my more recent research was lost because I had not been backing up frequently enough.
After this event, I purchased a subscription to Carbonite. Carbonite is online backup software that automatically and securely backs up your files to a remote backup facility using the internet. If you need to get your files back you can download them to your hard disk easily. In addition, I made backups to portable hard disks from time to time, and purchased a Stora Home Media Network Storage. The Stora (hard disk plugged into my router) comes with software to automatically back up selected files – I back up my genealogy research 2-3 times per week at night automatically.
Last weekend I had a crash on my computer and files that were open were corrupted. Brothers Keeper no longer worked. I wa s glad to have recent backups this time, and a choice of which one to use.
I restored my genealogy files from Stora and only lost one day’s changes to the Brothers Keeper files. Because I waited a day before trying to restore files, the files on Caronite had been updated with the corrupted versions from my hard drive. Carbonite keeps several versions of backed up files, so I could have restored from this source, but it was easier to use the Stora files.
Brothers Keeper has a backup routine, but I had got into the habit of not using it when I closed the program. Had I done backups using this routine, it would have been even easier to restore my files (from the hard drive).
My message – USE BACKUPS – Use several backups and expect your genealogy files to get broken, your hard disk to stop working, a virus to infect your computer, your data to be lost when you reformat your hard drive, etc. There seem to be lots of things that can and do go wrong. Backups allow us to continue and not lose several years of work.