Keeping your data future proof

Last year I posted about the security of your data with regard to Ransomware attacks.  After a few incidents this week another thought came to me,  is your carefully researched data future proof?

I have been working on helping a couple with a database in Generations 4.2,  this is a challenge as that version will not run on a modern PC, as it requires a 32bit OS, trying to move the data over to the most recent version of Generations (8) crashed the program.   We have managed to extract most of the data,  but all the source information links embedded in Notes is not exported at all to the Gedcom file,  so will need to be manually redone,  a huge challenge when there are 22,000 people in the file.  Using Family Historian’s programming tools I have been able to correct quite a few of the errors coming from the old program.  So a lot better than nothing.

This week I have also recovered about 30 old files from Generations, for which the user had lost the program disk, into Gedcom and helped another recover from corrupted file.

So my reminders are:

  1. Do you have any data in an old format you need to convert to a more portable one,  for example an old Family Tree Maker or Generations data which need extracting to Gedcom to load into a new program?
  2. Do you have data on floppy disks or CDs which you want to keep? Get it moved now before you loose the option,  finding a working floppy drive can be a challenge already.
  3. Do you have pictures or scans stored in a “rare” format (Paintshop pro for example) which would be better converted to a standard on like TIFF or JPG or PNG?
  4. Are you using a very old Family History Program to record your data, if so make sure it will run on a new computer and that you have everything you need to install the program.  If the answer to either of these is no,  now is the time to move your Data to a new platform,  NOT when your old computer packs up.
  5. As for the option above,  do you have documents typed up in an old Word processor or Spreadsheet,  get them converted up to something newer, before the import options disappear from the modern versions.  For example it’s difficult to find anything to read Microsoft Works files these days.

Image By Medvedev – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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