by Barbara Renick©2001

[email protected]


Mac users have two sites with free trials for subscription services:



Types of Backups:




Auto Backup

every 5-10 minutes

hard drive

Rotating Backup

hourly or daily

removable media (medium capacity)

Full System Backup

every 1-3 months

removable media (large capacity)

Incremental Backup

daily or weekly

removable media

Types of External Connections for Removable Media Drives



Serial port

22 Kbps

Parallel port

1 Mbps

PC card slots (found on notebook computers)

8 Mbps

USB 1.0

12 Mbps


20 to 80 Mbps


400 Mbps

USB 2.0 480 Mbps



A.      GEDCOMing Genealogical Databases

*      The process of making a GEDCOM file is one where your genealogy software program makes a generic copy of some or all of your records, leaving that original genealogy database unchanged.

*      Differing versions of the GEDCOM standard exist.

*      Testing the GEDCOM file you have created:

1.      make a new database in your normal genealogy program

2.      import a GEDCOM file you have made

3.      check the total number of records (individual and marriage)

4.      check some notes and sources for intactness

5.      compare a pedigree chart from your original database to one from this database

6.      check several families for intactness (especially those with complex relationships: adoptions, multiple spouses, multiple sets of parents, disproved lineages, etc.)

 B.     Filing (databases and images) for Fast Finding on Your Computer

*      Creating folders

*      Using your word processor to organize images

*      Using specialized programs for photo albums

C.   Windows98 and Windows XP Shortcuts for Finding & Moving Files

*    Windows key + E to open Windows Explorer

*    Windows key + F to open Find All Files

*    Selecting contiguous  vs. non-contiguous files:

Ё      Click then SHIFT + click = this through that

Ё      Ctrl + click = this and that and that

*    If you doubt your ability to click and drag safely, right click instead.



A.   Sending Files as E-mail Attachments

*      E-mail services usually limit file attachments to 1 or 2 megabytes in size.

*      Always warn someone before sending them a message with a large file attached.

*      Computer viruses are spread by e-mail attachments, so always:

Ё      Send a message first telling that person what you are sending.

Ё      Ask if their e-mail service will handle a file attachment of that size.

Ё      Then send a second message with the actual file attached.

Ё      Make certain your subject lines are clearly worded in both messages. If you do not put something specific in the subject line, your message may be deleted as spam (junk) mail.

*      Use compression utilities whenever possible:

Ё      Example: WinZip

Ё      Compress most files so they are smaller and transmit more quickly.

Ё      Use a standard compression file format so they transmit more cleanly with fewer scrambled files on the receiving end.

Ё      Remember that the recipient must have software (and know how to use it) to decompress the file attachment (Windows XP has built-in zip capabilities).

Ё      Do NOT send executable compressed files which may be mistaken for malignant files (viruses) and therefore blocked by the recipient’s e-mail service.

Ё      The recipient must also have the correct software to view the image, import the GEDCOM file, or display the Adobe Acrobat file (end with .pdf) once it is decompressed.

*      There are utilities that can sometimes read scrambled e-mail messages or scrambled attachments. Example: Conversions Plus ( ).

B.  Zipping is good for moving, but not so good for storing

*      Your zipped (compressed) files may still be too big to fit on floppy disks. Do you really want to store your important files in a compressed format?

*      Not everyone has the same storage device to read your stored information (Zip drive—not the same as a zipped file, Jaz drive, SharQ drive, etc.), and even you may not have a working version of that drive five years from now when you need to read that stored information.

*      CD-RW disks are not readable in most CD drives or DVD drives.

*      Best solutions today:

Ё      CD-R for storage up to three years

Ё      External/removable hard disk drives

Ё      Internet storage

o       Free or inexpensive storage sites are available online.

o       They allow you to share files with others:

§         either privately (require username and password)

§         or publicly (accessible to anyone on the Internet)



 A.   Formats for Storing Your Important Files

*      E-mail stored as text files (not just in a proprietary e-mail client format)

*      Bookmarks/Favorites stored as HTML files and on the Internet

*      Word processor documents (.doc and .wpd) stored as .rtf and/or .txt files

*      Address books/contact lists saved in a printed document format as well as backed up

*      Genealogy Databases are safest when stored four ways:

Ё      as a copy of the database file(s)

Ё      as backup of a database made with your current genealogy program

Ё      as a GEDCOM file of your whole database

Ё      submitted online with notes and sources

o        Pedigree Resource File at FamilySearch Internet

o        WorldConnect Project at RootsWeb ( )

*      Source Documentation

Ё      paper files saved as scanned images

o        research files

o        correspondence files

o        source/documentation files

Ё      digital pictures (sources and archival photos)

Ё      other electronic (digital) sources

o        e-mail messages

o        online databases and databases sold on CDs

o        information from Web sites

*      Images stored in multiple formats and multiple resolutions: the formats and resolutions for Web use are different than the formats and resolutions for archiving.

B. Pros and Cons of Digital Storage

*      Digital storage has some benefits:

Ё      relatively compact

Ё      relatively inexpensive

Ё      easy to backup

Ё      easy to share

*      Digital storage also has some dangers. No one media is entirely safe forever:

Ё      paper crumbles with age, molds with moisture, and burns in fires

Ё      magnetic media (audio tapes, floppy disks, hard disk drives, etc.) demagnetize with age and exposure to electromagnetic fields (such as fluorescent light fixtures, vacuum cleaner motors, etc.)

Ё      your storage media (disk, tape, CD, etc.) may not be readable in any existing drive in as little as ten or twenty years from now

Ё      drives malfunction all too often and make recordings that are not readable

Ё      Web sites disappear from the Internet all the time

Ё      media and formats need to be updated periodically to maintain readability

C. The Golden Rules of Storage

*      Make more than one copy

*      In more than one format

Ё      standard program format (example: .doc for a Word2000 document)

Ё      generic format (example: .txt for a Word2000 document)

Ё      image format (scanned image of printed document, etc.)

*      On more than one type of media (disk, drive, CD-R, online, paper, etc.)

*      Tested for intactness and completeness

*      Then stored in more than one location

*      And updated regularly

D. Online Storage Options (now that most of the free storage sites are gone)

* (sister site to

Ё      Premium Sites

o        $19.95 per year

o        free of banner advertising

o        100 MB of file storage space

o        makes it easy to store photos and GEDCOM files

o        additional storage space is available in increments of 100 MB for $19.95

o        allows you to set up your own URL, such as

Ё      Super sites

o        $99.95 per year

o        if you already have a Premium Site, you receive a discount of $19.95

o        free of banner advertising

o        500 MB of file storage space

o        your own custom domain at, such as

o        allows you to create a custom public homepage on the Web for your domain


Ё      Gives you 2 MB of mail storage with their free e-mail account

Ё      Offers MSN Extra Storage Plan for $19.95 per year

o        10 MB of mail storage

o        30 MB of file storage in an MSN Community you create

*      Yahoo! Mail

Ё      Gives you 4 MB of mail storage with their free e-mail account

Ё      Offers Mail Extra Storage

o        10 MB for $9.99 per year

o        25 MB for $19.99 per year

o        50 MB for $29.99 per year

o        100 MB for $49.99 per year

Ё      Gives you access to their Yahoo! Briefcase

o        30 MB free storage online

o        add an extra 50 MB of storage space for $29.95 per year

o        easy to add/upload files & easy to share files with family and friends



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