I haven't blogged in almost a month, even though I keep promising that I'll be doing more. My last blog post (from July 7th) was the culmination of months of working on my Korstanje line. When I got done I uploaded my GEDCOM to www.rootsweb.com. I'm not sure why because I never use the site anymore but I did. On July 13th I returned to work from vacation. On my break I went to work on my tree some more but my computer wouldn't load. I got a black screen that said I needed to load an operating system. I talked with a tech geek buddy of mine who said that it's possible the cable to the hard drive had come loose. I have a toddler who has knocked that laptop down several times so it was a plausible explanation. I got home from work and when I took it out of the bag my laptop was so hot I had trouble holding onto it (the battery was HOT). I tried re-seating the drive with the same results. I then went to Best Buy and bought a new laptop figuring the old one was toast (not only was it hot but there was a burning plastic smell). I bought an enclosure to try to make my old hard drive into an external drive so I could access the files and all I got was a high pitched squeal when I tried to plug it in.
Now I have been doing genealogy since 1992 and I understand how important it is to back stuff up. I have a system where my files are all on my laptop and an external hard drive. When I get new stuff it goes into a "to be sorted" folder and it's sorted into both drives. The problem is I'm in my family tree file daily and I just back that up occasionally. Upon loading my new laptop I discovered that "occasionally" meant April 29th, almost 13,000 names ago. I was devastated to say the least. I decided to pay a company to try to recover the file so that I didn't have to redo everything. That too failed. So I resigned myself to having to redo my work. Remembering that I'd uploaded to rootsweb I decided I'd have to go family by family and copy/paste all of my work (and then rebuild all the living persons information since I have them privatized).
On the 25th it dawned on me that I'd uploaded the file to rootsweb and perhaps they could recover it for me. I emailed their support and then googled to see if there was a solution. I bet that drives those techies nuts when people do it in that order. Upon googling it I found where to go and downloaded my GEDCOM. Even though I'd privatized living persons everything was there. I only lost 6 days worth of work (of which I'm now caught up)!
So, now whenever I finish a family line I'm working on I'm uploading my GEDCOM to rootsweb. The fact that I randomly chose that day to do it saved me and I'm not risking that again. I'm also looking into online backup services as I had a temporary scare that my videos of my grandpa and Jacob were also lost (I found them on an external drive I rarely use). Having never experienced a hard drive failure before this was certainly a wake up call! There were no indicators there was a problem - just poof, gone...........