Saturday, November 3, 2007

Genealogy and History Thoughts - Column Six

Originally I was planning to write about a different topic, but I decided to change my mind at the last minute. I want to mention, though, that I am not an expert in computers or computer technology.

How does one protect his or her genealogy? If you have a family tree software, I would seriously consider putting the program and files on a password-protected flash drive (also known as a jump drive or ubs drive), if the program allows you to do so. This is what I do with my genealogy (of course, I have paper copies to back me up). Why?

Flash drives are very portable, and files can be easily updated or edited. Burning the information to a CD, though, is different (at least in my experience). I discovered that after I burned a file to a CD, I could only open and read the file. I could not change or edit the information on the CD unless I re-burned the updated information on that read/write CD. So, needless to say, I found that using a flash drive was much more flexible. My genealogy information, as I stated before, is on a flash drive, but it is on one that has password on it. If I lost my flash drive, it would be more difficult for someone to access that information. Flash drives that have password protection, usually have the software for creating a password in it. All a person has to do is insert the flash drive into a ubs hub, and install the drive. If you choose to do this, I would consider getting a flash drive that has at least 256 MB of memory, so that you have enough memory for the software program and files, such as picture or chart files.

Of course, you could keep your genealogy on a computer that isn't connected to the internet, and that would prevent someone over the internet from hacking into that information. If you want to be able to have your notes or research with you, it would be much easier for one to carry a flash drive than to carry a computer, that is, if there are computers available to look at your information. Of course, you could take papers with you, but there is a risk that you could lose those papers (and anything, like a flash drive). With a flash drive, you can easily put on a key chain and where it around your neck, so that you don't lose the drive.

Again, I just want to state that I'm not an expert in computers. I am only suggesting ways that might help other people protect their research. Does anyone agree with me or have anything to add? Any comments are welcome.

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