Genealogy Tips: Back Up Your Data—Now!

In addition to storing your family history data on paper or on family tree websites, you also want to use comprehensive approaches to storing all of your data online using sites like Dropbox, Carbonite and Mozy, along with an external hard drive.


Source: Dropbox

Dropbox gives you the opportunity to save your data online and access it from any computer, iPad or other device.

Genealogists especially use Dropbox to back up their family photographs and their genealogy research. Genealogy software lets you designate where you want your backup data file. By using Dropbox as one of your multiple backup sites you can easily access the most current version of your genealogy data from wherever you are. Lose your laptop? Did your desktop PC fail? No problem: you can quickly access and restore your family history data to your new computer from Dropbox.

Online Backup

You want to use Carbonite, Mozy or one of the other online backup sites for your data.

Source: Carbonite

Popular backup sites like Carbonite make it easy to begin backing up your data. You simply sign up, pay the annual fee, and the service begins immediately to review and back up your files. You can fine-tune your backup to just specific files, or to all of the information on your computer. Usually genealogists do not back up their computer programs since software can be easily replaced. Their focus is more on backing up the family history files that they create: documents, photos, email, etc.

External Hard Drive

Source: Wikipedia

With the low cost of computer accessories it is inexpensive to purchase an external hard drive to back up your files.

Be sure to purchase one that is large enough to back up all of your files with room to grow. You want to purchase a "plug and play" backup drive. This lets you simply plug it into your computer and it will automatically back up your files.

This handy tool is easy to use to restore your files in case your computer fails.


You want to use a variety of backup tools and approaches to make sure that your genealogy data is preserved. Properly store and protect your irreplaceable original family papers and photographs in acid-free boxes and folders. Print and disseminate copies of your genealogical data. Back up your digital data files electronically—in your home with an additional external hard drive, and in distant locations by backing up to multiple sites. By using these varied approaches you are protecting your data and ensuring that it will be available when you need it.

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