Monday, September 13, 2010

Checking out

One of my great fears is that I will lose my computer system and all of my data (including whatever backups I have) in a home disaster - fire, earthquake, flood, storm, etc. Here in the San Diego area, this could happen at any time.

I have an external hard drive that I backup my desktop computer files to once a month, and USB drives that I use to transfer data from my desktop to the laptop, and I often carry one with my latest database files in my pocket (which sometimes gets gunked up from my pocket lint). I have not used one of the online data backup sites like Mozy or Dropbox - I've been too busy to experiment with them.

So yesterday I get an email from Cliff Shaw, highlighting his new website. The email said:

"Boulder, Colorado - BackupMyTree ( went live today, offering a free service to help genealogists automatically back up their family tree files. The service is the creation of Cliff Shaw, whose previous successes in genealogy include GenForum, Family Tree Legends and GenCircles. Users of the service have the choice of installing the BackupMyTree software for Windows or uploading files through their browser. The software automatically finds family tree files and creates a remote, off-site backup that the user can restore when disaster strikes. BackupMyTree is completely free and users maintain complete ownership of their family tree files. The service supports all the major genealogy applications including Family Tree Maker, Personal Ancestral File, RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Legends, Family Tree Builder, and GenoPro. Additionally, the service maintains multiple previous versions of tree files should a file become corrupted by a bad merge or a program crash. BackupMyTree utilizes Amazon S3 to store and protect the files. Try BackupMyTree by visiting"

I can't resist trying things out, so I went to the site, the home page looks like this:

I chose to sign up with my name, email address and password - again, really easy:

On the next page, I was prompted to upload a genealogy database. The site would search for my databases or I could choose which one to upload. The "all databases" option is really easy to use...but I didn't want to junk up the site with all of my different versions of many databases (I probably have 50 databases for five different programs). So I found the way to choose which one to upload and did it. The upload went smoothly and took several minutes for my 49 megabyte Family Tree Maker database.

Now, when I log in, I see this screen with my database:

I can upload another database, download the selected database to my computer, see previous versions of my database, and exclude the database (meaning to delete it from the system).

I think that this service will work for me - it's free, it works quickly, I know where my data is, I can control what I save, etc. If it doesn't, I'll let you know!

Disclosure: I have received no remuneration or services for writing this post.

1 comment:

JL said...

My database file is such a small (albeit important) part of the overall show. There's reams of scanned documents, and paper that go with it. I'd rather keep it all together in one place, or several 'one places'. Mozy, Carbonite, flash-drives, external drives, etc. I've scanned 99% of the paper. It's easier than photocopying it all and finding a second location for it. Granted it took months.