*safely, of course
My USB drive died today.
I freaked out and cried.
I didn't want to make the same mistake that many Family History Center patrons make - saving some genealogical information on one floppy disk, forgetting it or losing it, starting a new disk, finding the old one, bringing both (sometimes it ends up being seven or eight) to the Family History Center and begging one of us to help them "find their family history," which is sometimes gone forever, depending on the condition of the disk.
So I saved everything, the original file, on my USB drive, and nowhere else - which was also a mistake.
Luckily, I had updated my family tree at Rootsweb.com a few days before... which was wonderful, because even though (by some fluke) I had saved my file to my hard drive and then forgotten it back in February, I had found new information since then. I mean, come on, it's been six weeks. I've made some serious progress on some family lines since then. But with the privacy features I have attached to my file, none of the living family members' information could be retrieved.
I was very happy and surprised to find my forgotten February copy, but oh... the loss of my jump drive file. I was beside myself, to think I had lost all that work.
About twenty minutes ago, it turned itself on - it somehow got tweaked into working - but it's visibly bent and probably not good for more than a day's use after this. Who knows if it will work at the FHC on Tuesday night? I immediately saved my current file to my hard drive and erased the old one I downloaded from Rootsweb (I made it so only I have access to download it).
The moral of the story: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Save, save, SAVE those records somewhere other than your computer. If you don't feel safe saving it in a repository online, email a copy to some relatives. Many, many relatives, so that if something happens to their computers AND yours, you should still have one copy hanging around somewhere.
I'm so grateful to have my file back... I can always go to the store and buy another jump drive, but there's no way I can replace the hours and weeks and years of work. It was very silly of me to not save the whole thing somewhere else.