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Research Notes 2018-4-30

MayDay! MayDay!

When heard over a radio, it’s a call for help. The term “MayDay” generally means some kind of disaster. I find it interesting that May Day – the day – is traditionally the day that cultural institutions and archives set aside to review and adjust their disaster plans. Here in Florida, the month of May is the time to review our disaster plans and prepare for hurricane season which begins the first of June.

In addition to checking our disaster supplies (batteries, non-perishable food, water, etc.) I also use May to review my digital disaster plan. Here are some of the things I review:

  1. Data backups. I am set up for automatic backups, but it’s time to make sure any new data folder or other content is included.

  2. Blog backups. Since I use WordPress, I use their export feature and download a complete copy of my sites every quarter.

  3. Photo backups. I have a Flickr Pro account ($50/year) which includes auto-uploading all new images from my desktop and mobile devices. It serves as my off-site backup for photos and scanned images.

  4. Security check. I use the 1Password app to manage my passwords and other personal data. It includes a security audit to let me know it’s time to update old passwords. Their Watchtower feature identifies sites that have known vulnerabilities so I can change the passwords for those sites.

  5. Power check. We use surge protectors and uninterrupted power supply (UPS) devices to protect all our electronics. Now is a good time to check them and replace older ones no longer operating at full capacity.

Even if we did not have the threat of hurricanes to worry about, there are still plenty of disasters just waiting to destroy our research and historical documents. Make May Day your call to review your own disaster plan and insure your archives are also protected.

Are you looking for creative ideas to share you family history at our Family History Faire in October? You’ll find lots of them at the Storytellers Studio blog. Note that the storytellers group has been moved from Facebook to MeWe. Check out this article to learn more about MeWe.


If you would like to learn more about using the Chronicling America newspaper archive to find information on your ancestors, you should check out Lisa Louise Cooke’s recent podcast with Deborah Thomas who manages the Chronicling America website. Wondering what a podcast is? Basically, it’s on demand radio. It’s a recorded audio program that you can enjoy when it is convenient for you. Lisa’s podcasts include a supporting article on her website with notes and screenshots to compliment the presentation. Lisa isn’t the only genealogy podcaster. Check out the Podcasts for Genealogy section at Cyndi’s List to learn more.


The Family History Library has posted their May webinar schedule. These live webinars are free with no registration required. They can be watched on your desktop or mobile device. If you can’t participate in the live webinar, all classes are recorded and can be viewed at your convenience. Reminder . . . Listed times are in mountain daylight time (MTD). You will also find a link to the Family History Library Webinars page on the Digital Library page at SAGS Support.

Final Notes

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