Saturday, August 3, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Genealogy "Nightmare"

Hey genea-folks, 
it's Saturday Night again, 

 time for more Genealogy Fun!


Your mission this week, should you decide to accept it, is to:

This SNGF is based on the question:  "What is your genealogy 'nightmare?'"  Have you had a "bad" genealogy dream?  Or have a worst genealogical "fear?"  Or have you had a terrible experience concerning your genealogy research?  

2)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, in a status or comment on Facebook, or in a post on Google+.

Here's mine:

I haven't had a terrible genealogy experience, knock on wood!

I don't recall a nightmare dream concerning genealogy, although I have had genealogy oriented dreams like being in my grandparents house with them, a repetitive dream about not being able to wake up until I got a source citation to EE standards, that sort of thing.

My biggest genealogy fear is that all of my research will be lost in a disaster of some sort - e.g., the house burns down, or an earthquake reduces it to rubble, etc.  Another fear is that my wife, daughters and grandchildren don't care about the papers and computer files and throw it all out, or neglect it to the point where it is not saved.  

So what am I doing to prevent these two potential "nightmares?"  First, I've tried to save the important genealogy and family history material in digital format to online cloud services:  
*  the family tree database (on Dropbox and on several online family trees); 
*  the ancestral files (photos, documents, reports, etc. are on Dropbox, Google Drive and; 
*  my ancestral and descendant book manuscripts (on Scribd); 
*  my presentations (on Dropbox);  
*  my family photos (many are on blog posts, some are on photo sites like 1000 Memories and Flickr in the cloud) 
*  my writings (blog posts, magazine and newsletter articles, etc. are online, but not otherwise backed up).  

In addition, all of that is on an external hard drive in the genealogy cave.  That would help me recover from a disaster of some sort.  

The second concern is the physical files - the 40 linear feet of paper, documents, artifacts, photographs, etc.  The copies of pages from books and periodicals, and even the vital record certificates, can all be physically replaced.  The photographs and artifacts are much more difficult to replace.  I've digitized a lot of the photographs and family papers, and the images are in my computer files;  the actual artifacts - some family Bibles, some journals, the photographs, the furniture, the framed pictures, and more - would be difficult or impossible to replace, although I have digital photographs of most of them.

Who knows if or when the material in the cloud will disappear?  And if someone interested in future years will be able to access it or read it, or even use it.  

My last means of defense is a "genealogical will" that I will leave with the estate papers to tell my daughters what to do to preserve most of the information I have.  I've resisted, so far, the temptation to say in that "will" "If you don't do this, you don't get the deed to the ranch."  For the papers, artifacts and photographs, the "will" says to preserve them and pass them on to the next generation.  For the digital material in the database and the cloud, it says to keep paying the website domain fees, submit the last version of the database to many online family trees, and to take the last version of the database and create ancestral and descendant book manuscripts, then publish them in hard copy form (even at a copy shop), and distribute them to local and regional libraries (Chula Vista, San Diego, Family History Library, New England Historic Genealogical Society, etc.) so that others can benefit from my research.  

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copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

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