When was the last time you backed up your computer files? These could be music files, work files, photographs, or genealogy files. Have you done it recently? If not, consider backing your files up today and then join the Geneabloggers community the first day of every month which is Data Backup Day! If you subscribe to the Geneabloggers blog, you will be reminded the first of every month to do this important task.
Backing up your files ensures that in the event of a computer crash or virus, fire or flood, that you have another copy of your files. Creating two copies and keeping one off-site, meaning at someone else’s home or your safety deposit box, is also a good idea.
Not only can backing up your files create a safety net in case of an emergency, but it also allows you to go to a previous version of a file in the event you change something and did not intend to save the file that way. It is also a safety net in case you delete a file from your computer and cannot retrieve it because you already emptied your trash.
So remember to schedule a time daily, weekly, or monthly to backup your data. Once you begin to create all the Sort Your Story Profiles, you will not want to lose them.
One thing we must all strive to do when researching our family history is interview people. We are taught this from the beginning. We are given lists of questions to ask. We are referred to books and websites for more questions. We are told to record the interview via tape recorder, video, phone, or the camera on our computers. That is all fine but let’s examine this from a different angle.
How about interviewing YOURSELF?
The book The Oral History Workshop by Cynthia Hart with Lisa Samson, walks you through the entire process of setting up an interview, preparing for the interview, the do’s and don’ts of interviewing and provides many chapters full of interview topics and questions. The appendix also holds forms you could create to get permission to interview, hold copyright, and use the information acquired.
You can also use this book for yourself. Start out with the questions that deal with childhood. Work through them in a journal or on your computer. Move into youth and young adult life. And gradually move into other areas. Use the various subjects like school, sports, hobbies, travel, military, holidays, hopes and dreams, and other topics to expand the short stories you write. Use those to explore areas of your life you may not have thought about in years. Use those to discover new hopes and dreams, hobbies, and paths to take in your life.
As you write, think about which pieces you can pass to your descendants or share with living family members. Think about how you wish to preserve these memories. On video, on tape, through a photo book with stories, a written family history or an auto-biography or memoir. Create a plan to do this project and stick to it. Find a buddy to hold you accountable.
As Mary Oliver once said, To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.
Isn’t that what we do as family historians?
© 2013, Sort Your Story, Sonoma, California