Where do you keep your family tree? Are you an online tree, computer database or a file cabinet/binder person?
Personally, I use all 3 methods. I have my family tree on ancestry.com, findmypast.com, myheritage.com, FamilySearch.com and wikitree.com.
My tree is also in a database on my computer. I use Legacy Family Tree to store my ancestor's information, pictures, and documents.
Each family has a file in my cabinets to store original documents and other important information.
Binders for each surname contain copies of pertinent information and are put together so that others can pick them up and look through them to discover their family's story.
Why not just one online tree? Having my family included in the databases available will help me connect with more people. Perhaps the person who has the information on my Great Great Grandmother has uploaded their tree to one and not the other.
By not spreading my tree around, I am limiting my cousin connections.
Why have other storage methods if I have my tree on so many places on the web? Simply to ensure I can always access it.
Have you ever tried to pull up one of your trees and the site is down, or your internet is having issues and isn't working?
My Legacy program functions as my working database as I research and find evidence about my ancestors. I can write as I go in the notes section and make sure I have followed the correct steps in finding the answers to my questions before I attach someone to an online tree. It also is a backup in case my internet goes out.
Filing cabinets serve as storage for originals and information that I haven't processed yet and the binders put it all together for those who would rather have a book to flip through.
While my files and binders and online trees serve as a type of backup, they are not always up to date. They are not a substitute for making sure everything - pictures, documents, and data downloaded to my computer files or added to my Legacy Family Tree program- is protected from a computer crash.
Trying to cover all my bases, I use Dropbox.com, and Backblaze.com to send all my genealogy and other data to the cloud. If I experience a crash or loss of information, it can easily be restored. When buying a new computer everything can be reinstalled while I am busy doing something else.
An external hard drive is updated on the first of the month, Genealogy Back Up Day, and kept in a safe place. Thumb drives, while not as stable, store my important files too. I keep one on my keychain. Just in case.
These fulfill the advice of having the information in at least 3 different places to avoid data loss.
Have you taken a DNA test? Again, this is another area where one is not the best solution to connecting with family members.
There is no way of knowing where others have tested and if the if the matches you need can be found on one particular site. Each company has a different database of testers.
Spreading your DNA around to other places will put your information out there for a better chance of finding those matches.
Gedmatch.com is a free way to upload your raw DNA from any of the testing companies and add your results to a greater variety of people.
One can also be a lonely number when it comes to our research. Often we tend to work by ourselves and not take advantage of networking with other genealogists. From Genealogy Societies to Social Media, there are those who can help us with our brick walls, transcription of a hard to read document or use as a sounding board as we work through the research process.
The best is having someone to share those 'happy dance' moments when we need those who understand to celebrate with us.
When it comes to protecting our information and reaching the greatest potential of connections, one is the loneliest number.
Get out there and spread it around!