RootsWeb Still Dead … But Signs Of Life ? #Genealogy #Cloud

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Rootsweb Returns March 15th, 2016RoostWeb estimates it will return March 15th. That is good news.

However, it being down hurt my blog website because I had links to my genealogy research that I had in RootsWeb and much of that research is over a decade ago. Now I had backups of  almost everything. That is my blog for today.


First off, it points out how important it is to have backups of your research. I had used RootsWeb as my cloud backup for SO LONG. So long that I had forgotten what I had up there and where it was sourced from. As it turned out, I was missing one spreadsheet. It was important in the sense that it was good data and I had even built my blog using the data from that spreadsheet as a menu item. So my recommendation here is that you have backups of everything and that you know where each copy is.

This may seem trivial, but let me point out that at this juncture, many genealogists use their CD ROM/DVD, their USB (aka thumb) drive, and even the cloud (iCloud, Dropbox, Box, EverNote, oneDrive and GoogleDrive) to backup their data from their hard drive. But what happens when your hardware is obsolete? Remember floppy drives??? Most of us are old enough to remember those removable media (in various sizes). They are gone now. What happens to your backup? It is not backed up if you cannot ACCESS the data.

So it is also true for the Cloud. This jester has a trademarked magazine, “Cloud Is Falling™“, that I started when I realized that we do not own the cloud, we only access it (perhaps for free or for a fee). So what happens if the Cloud Goes Down or a portion of the cloud no longer exists (the cloud company goes bankrupt or changes terms such that you can no longer access it)? You cannot access your research data. It is the same as hardware obsolescence. Perhaps you have heard of “Murphy’s Law” (i.e. anything that can go wrong, will go wrong) and the corollary extension: (at the worst possible time). @AmyJohnsonCrow (twitter) was using the RootsWeb outage to illustrate the need to have backup plans (as well as backed up data). 2016 had illustrated that a few times. We need only recall eliminating FTM family tree software at the end of 2015. Fortunately, MacKiev has taken over developing and publishing FTM and now (as of March 4th) we have FTM and soon(??) RootsMagic that will have the TreeSynch capabilities to synch with via their newly published API.

Ok, RootsWeb was out and still is down, so I rebuilt much of my Reference Data from the Menus of my blog to use another portion of the cloud instead of RootsWeb. This will give me redundancy by having the same data on two distinct clouds. I now have all my data on the hard drive now too! How did I do that while RootsWeb was still down?

That is an interesting tale. I used The Internet Archive and in particular, I used their WayBack Machine to access my RootsWeb page. Fortunately, they had made a snapshot of that page whose data I was missing and I was able to cut & paste the data back to my hard drive in a new spreadsheet! Pretty nifty huh? I hope you will enjoy my new spreadsheet which I have enhanced and even improved (i.e. corrected data). The new page: 1811_BiechowChurchRecord_births.htm  can be reached from the Menu of my blog’s home page.


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