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When To Backup Your Genealogy Information

Today? - Tomorrow? - Next Week? - Never?

Young girl on the golf course bridge
Young girl on the golf course bridge

When to backup is a critical question. Most people fail in their backup strategy by not doing backups often enough. Here are some tips for setting a schedule to assure your data is backed up and safe before you need to use it!

When you need your data from backups is not the time to decide when to backup your genealogy research results. It is definitely not the time to remind yourself that you should have done it before now!

Any time you change material in your genealogical data you should back up that material. It doesn't matter whether you just changed a date in your family computer file or received a copy of the birth registration of your great-grandfather. It is something different from what was previously saved, and you need to back it up to protect the new data.

The only way you will really be successful in keeping adequate backups for all your genealogical data is if you make a detailed plan for doing it, and sticking to the plan. Remember that a plan by itself will not be enough. You must execute the plan on the schedule you set up for it to be successful.

Why Is It Important To Have A Plan Of When To Backup Your Data?

To make certain that your plan would allow you to pick up your genealogy research where you last left off even if something happened to your computer or your house which destroyed the copies of your data you work with all the time.

First, the plan needs to incorporate all the data you have. See the what to backup page for details on that. Be sure you spend whatever time is necessary to figure out the what.

Next is the subject of this page, the when to backup. It is fine to talk about backing up every time you change a piece of data, but most of you will forget to do that, at least some of the time. You are pressed for time; you are too busy; there are a multitude of reasons and excuses. I know - I've used most of them at one time or another!

So -

Set A Regular Backup Schedule And Follow It!

How often does that need to be? Only you can decide. But, the more you work on any of the research data you have gathered, the more often you need to schedule backups.

  • For some of you, once a week will be often enough because you work on your family tree a small percentage of your total time.
  • For others of you, you need to schedule a backup at least once a day because you typically spend several hours a day on your genealogy research, either at your desk, or in the field. In either case, you have new data which you have added to your collection, and you need to make a backup of it.
  • For most of you, do not try to remember what types of data you changed since the last backup, and, therefore, what files you need to backup. Back up all of them!

How Many Copies?

Some people believe that the original and one copy is sufficient. If you feel comfortable with that, then that's what you should do.

Others of you are more cautious, and will want to have two copies and the original, just to feel safe. If that is what you need to feel secure, then do that.

However, in all cases, your copies should ideally be kept in a different building from the originals. Why? Because if something such as a hurricane or a fire destroys your house, the fact you have the original and two copies all stored there is no better than no copies at all!

So, make arrangements with a friend, a neighbor, or some repository such as a storage facility somewhere, to store your copies, however many you make.

Don't settle for a hit-or-miss approach to saving your data. It is always better to have more redundancy than necessary than to have too little. Don't stint on when to backup; your genealogy data is too important.

How do you perform a complete copy?

Where do you keep the files once you have copied all your genealogy data?

How long do you keep your copies?

Always Err On The Side Of Caution





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Free Newsletter!!!
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And if you ever decide to discontinue, every issue has a form for stopping the newsletter.

How there's so much free information on this site ...

I have some affiliate links on this website. If you buy a product through them I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps keep the site free of charge.  To learn more, see my affiliates disclosure document

How there's so much free information on this site ...

I have some affiliate links on this website. If you buy a product through them I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps keep the site free of charge.  To learn more, see my affiliates disclosure document



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