Notes from the past…

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One more resolution…

A near disaster a couple of days ago made me think of one more New Year’s Genealogy Resolution: Back-up your data often!
On Sunday, I got home from work and logged onto my computer and got on the ‘Net. An Internet Explorer page (I use Firefox) kept popping up, something called Internet Speed Monitor with different adds on each page. So, I Googled Internet Speed Monitor and discovered it was a Trojan Horse! After my initial heart attack, stroke and near-death experience, I went to my computer’s Control Panel, Add-Remove Programs (as directed to do to get rid of the offender), found the Internet Speed Monitor there and deleted it. Mind you, I didn’t download that program! I then updated my Ad-Aware program, since what I read about Internet Speed Monitor suggested it had something to do with add-ware, and ran the Ad-Aware program. It found 10 new critters, so I followed the program’s directions to delete the critters…The dreaded Blue Screen-Fatal-Program-Error appeared! 2nd heart attack: the last time I saw that screen, the hard drive of the computer it appeared on crashed and burned and I almost lost everything on it. That particular computer was an older model and didn’t have a cd burner on it. Thanks to a lot of work by my daughter’s wonderful computer geek friend Jessica, she was able to save most of my data and get the computer running again.
So, I was terrified that this hard drive might be history, too. I sat there and stared at the screen for a couple of minutes, then finally hit the Power button and shut the computer off. After about a minute, I hit the Power button again, and it booted up normally! Breathing again now…
I then ran a virus check and found not one but 2 trojan horses! The program was able to isolate and delete the trojan horses. Next I ran the Ad-Aware program again and deleted all the critters it found. I then logged onto the Internet and no Internet Speed Monitor pages appeared. I browsed around my computer for awhile and found no damages.
The moral of this story is: back-up your data often. If you don’t, you might wish you had! My New Year’s Resolution is to back-up my data to my flash drives weekly! I have 3 flash drives just for this purpose, but the last time I backed everything up was August, I think. So I am setting aside Mondays as Back-up Day!


My (Genealogy) New Year's Resolutions

This will be something new for me! I have decided to write something for the upcoming 39th Carnival of Genealogy, themed New Year’s Resolutions. I have been reading previous Carnivals, but never really thought I could offer anything until now.
My New Year’s Genealogy Resolutions? I think consistency would certainly be an important start. I am somewhat of a “binge” family historian. For weeks at a time, I will spend every spare minute as one with my laptop, until I just can’t stand the thought of one more instant of research! Then, for several more weeks, the files and printouts on my desk will quietly collect lots of dust, but no new data. I am not totally bereft of genealogy during this period, as I still read my Bloglines feeds and Google Alerts daily. I need to learn to pace myself and work a little each day!
Another resolution would be to develop a general plan of research. I need to look at where I’m at in my research, decide which surnames to study, then review my current data on each to decide what is missing from each surname file. I am easily distracted into following that very colorful and noisy little birdie way out onto a thin branch, rather than stay with the main flock at the bulk of the tree. I can lose days of research time chasing after that little creature, believe me!
Organization at this point is in good shape, as I spent quite a lot of time during the summer setting up my files and getting them in order. It is easy to let those manilla folders pile up on my desk, though. I must take the time to file everything properly as I go, so I can find it again.
Document, document, document! As the saying goes, “If you didn’t document it, it didn’t happen!” I have been doing better at recording the wheres and the whens of my data finds, but there is always room for improvement. Just a few days ago, I was looking at a file for my great-great grandparents. There is a date of death for my great-great grandmother, but no mention of where I got that date. Shame on me! And this is a pretty big deal, as I have been working on this very elusive lady for months. Now I must waste time and backtrack to find the source. (I hope I can find it!)
Be open-minded and try something new. I am quite good at “staying within the lines”, when there are so many resources available to me that I have never used. For example, there is a branch of the National Archives right here, not 15 miles from me, and I’ve never been there! I have also never used the LDS Family History Center that is located only about 3 miles away. I’m a bit of a coward when it comes to trying something new. Sometimes I just have to kick myself in the backside and get moving!
Last, I should join my local Genealogy Society. I just completed a volunteer project for my local society, and I’m not even a member! I should definitely join up! This is a very active society, as they do a lot of good work here with archives and site preservation, educational programs and other community involvement activities. I want to be a part of that!
Oh yeah…and contribute more to the Carnival of Genealogy!