Memorial Day – Record Preservation


Memorial Day Weekend is here in the States! As many reflect on their deceased loved ones I’m pondering those loved ones’ records. Why? In my area, we’re under the first Tropical Storm warning of the year (and Hurricane Season doesn’t begin until June 1st) and a flood watch.

Records loss happens to all of us. That misplaced paper receipt to prove the warranty is still valid, the disappearing paper estimate that the roofer left or the W2 that you never received in the mail from a former company is frustrating. We’re fortunate that today there’s technology to help us with work arounds to obtain the missing document. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with records of past generations.

You’re probably tired of hearing the importance of preserving your acquired ancestral documents. Backing up my data is as fun as going to the dentist. Although I love my dentist and his staff, I don’t love the dental experience. I know that it’s important to keep my teeth and gums healthy so I continue to make and keep my appointments. So why do I have such a hard time with keeping my genealogical records updated and safe?

If you’re like me, scanning and saving those documents are just not as fun as hunting down the record. I have to admit that I have, on more than several occasions, had to refind a document that I needed and that definitely wasn’t fun. I thought, if I got into a routine like I do with brushing, flossing, and gargling, I’d be set with my record saves. I just realized that my genealogical process still needs refinement as I tried to locate a death certificate I could have swore I had placed in the Cloud and it just isn’t there.

I want my records to be readily available when I need them. Standardizing my File Name system helps, as does the lovely Search function on Dropbox and OneDrive. Yes, I use both. Paranoia may destroy ya but I believe putting my tree in one and my records in another protects the information in case one of the company’s system fails. (I used to use CDs, DVDs and thumb drives but I’ve abandoned those for Clouds since my latest technology doesn’t have those functions available).

Now my plan is all good until the weather takes a turn for the worse like today. Late last summer, I had no electricity for several days. Granted, accessing my genealogy was not my priority at that time, but when the power goes out and there isn’t impending danger, I still want to continue with my genealogical work. I’m thinking that I should be making a hard copy of online finds so I can work off the computer in times like those. I also need to recheck my existing hard copies and make sure that I’ve scanned and saved every document so if disaster strikes, when life returns to normal I can pick up where I left off. To insure I do this, I selected a line a month to check on. I’ve penciled a day on the calendar to make it official and hopefully, I’ll not cancel that appointment.