Don't Format! Yesterday a friend brought over a 10-year old floppy disk containing a file he wanted to use. My desktop computer's floppy drive reported the disk as unformatted and offered to format it. Knowing that formatting would destroy the data, I refused. Instead, I put the disk into the floppy drive of my laptop, which read it without difficulty. The moral of the story is, that floppy disks are not the best medium for long-term storage, and even if they work in one computer, they may not work in another. If you can, copy any PAF files received from relatives (or other files you want to keep) to CD/DVD or flash drives for longer term storage. (Of course, BLANK disks need to be formatted before they can be used, but usually they are sold pre-formatted - some CD/RWs being the most common exception.) Succession Planning I received an email from a cousin yesterday saying that a relative of ours died suddenly in an automobile accident on Friday. It can happen to any of us. What happens to your genealogy when you die? You have invested hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars in your research. What do you want to happen to it? Is it in your will? If not, why not write a Codicil to include with your will. I believe if it is handwritten, signed, and dated, it should be sufficient. Any lawyers on our lists will set me straight if I am wrong. :) Identify what is included (books, papers, disk, computers, heirlooms, or whatever) and who should receive them and what you would like done with them. The last item might not be legally binding, but it may be the best you can do. Or is it? There are various free online services that would be happy to post a copy of your database on the internet. That way it will not be lost when you are gone. Remember that other people will have access to the information too while you are still alive and may "steal" your genealogy. Whether or not this is a concern is up to you. Personally, it doesn't worry me nearly as much as the fruits of my research dying with me (which I hope is still several years away). Why not create a book? PAF will help you. Then print off a copy for each person on your Christmas list. If you have an inkjet printer (rather than a laser printer), it may be cheaper to print one copy and then make photocopies. Bill
Bill Buchanan is a long-time genealogy enthusiast, living at Onoway, Alberta, Canada.
Main website: http://billbuchanan.byethost17.com This blog will describe my experiences as I research my family history and help others.
- Name: Bill Buchanan
- Location: Onoway, Alberta, Canada
I am a retired online school teacher. During July 2007 - January 2010, and September 2011 until the present I have provided part-time support for http://www.familysearch.org This is very rewarding. My greatest strength in this area is the free genealogy software Personal Ancestral File 5 (PAF5). I continue to help others with PAF and New FamilySearch. See
Since April 2010, I am an assistant director of Edmonton Riverbend Family History Center. I have a FHC blog at Bill's Family History Center Blog For information the Latter-day Saints and family history click http://mormon.org/