Sitting on Cloud Nine
If you want an easy, secure way of preserving and organizing your genealogy research, you’ll learn a bunch of great tricks and techniques in our week-long workshop, Cloud Genealogy Bootcamp. Learn how to protect your family history research from unforeseen catastrophic events such as fires, flooding and computer failures, along with using the cloud to organize your research – and even share it!
When we refer to cloud genealogy, we’re talking about ways of storing your research remotely on servers that you can access anytime and from anywhere you have an internet connection. It used to be that genealogists had paper files and copies, and that’s about it. If something happened to your research, whether it be lost or stolen, disintegrated over time, or destroyed by flooding or fire, that was it.
Over time, we developed or found software that would help. Computers meant we could better organize and store our research, but computers crash. Floppy discs have gone the way of the 8-track, and external drives can be lost, stolen or corrupted. Even CDs and DVDs are going obsolete!
It’s not just our personal research that might suffer – think about all the lost records from World War II, the National Archives of Ireland fire or the far-too-many instances of courthouse fires and other problems. Who doesn’t dream of having another copy of those records somewhere? The biggest advantage of cloud genealogy is that it’s easily accessible and incredibly versatile to retrieve your information – even if the worst happens to your original copies.
Head in the Cloud
There are plenty of ways to access and use the cloud. In fact, chances are, you’re using the cloud in some way, shape or form, every time you log on to your computer.
- Do you watch movies or television on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon?
- Do you use Google or other search engines to look up directions or find new restaurants?
- Do you keep in touch with friends using Facebook or some other form of social media?
- Do you have an online tree at Ancestry.com or FamilySearch?
If you answered yes to any of those, you’re using the cloud, and number four means you’re already performing cloud genealogy. Even if your phone or computer breaks down, you can access that same information on a different device, even from the other side of the planet. And you can do so instantly.
What Shape is Your Cloud?
When it comes to our research, there are plenty of apps and websites you can sign up for, and many of them are free! From Evernote to Facebook, Google to Dropbox, there are ways you can keep your research safe, and they all have different features. You just have to choose which system (or systems) works best for you. In our workshop, we cover the features of several of these, so you can make an informed choice.
Of course, cloud genealogy isn’t just about storing your work away as a backup in case something happens to your working copies. Programs like Evernote and Google Drive allow you to store and access records, take notes, even create sources! You can use Evernote’s recording feature to interview relatives and take a photo of a record when you’re with your relatives over the holidays. Google Drive has a My Maps feature that can be helpful for marking migration patterns and places your ancestors lived.
And if that’s not enough, there’s the ability to share your work with others. You don’t have to put it on Facebook, though you can – why not create a family group to swap photos and your latest finds? Then, not only are you storing your records, you’re actively researching. You can find new cousins through social media sites or a family website, and they might have intel you don’t. When my mom’s childhood best friend shared some photos on her Facebook account, I found two pictures of my mom, uncle, and grandfather I’d never seen before, along with the stories to go with them.
Cloud genealogy doesn’t have to be complicated and chances are, you’re already doing some form of it. In this week’s workshop, you’ll learn how to use it to greater effect. Sign up today!