These drives are to make :

(1) a copy of ALL DATA


(2) IF LARGE ENOUGH, it is possible to make a backup of all your WORKING DATA from the computer you regularly use. You might need to compress it first (zip files, available free online (winzip, ect.).

The reasons are many but here are three important ones to keep daily backups (if you work on it daily):

(i) A backup copy should be made of ALL your computer data for safety as hard drives DO fail and crash. If you do not have a regularly made backup copy, you could lose everything. Don’t take that risk as prevention is better than trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again!


And, your Ancestry data should be just a portion of this. (

ii) Virus and Hacking can happen and your data is lost, so do not risk that either, backup your data at the end of the day, and DISCONNECT your External Hard Drive from your computer (usually the USB drive). (iii) We all Die, Ancestry researchers should be more aware of this than anyone — so make sure your Children/Relations have your work when you pass, and these copies are a good thing to have. Spell out in writing what you want to be done.

Make Copies of your Accounts (including Ancestry) usernames and passwords (should do this on paper also IF no one else has access to your property – if someone does, even if you trust them 99% then it is better NOT to have paper copies, use electronic ones on another thumb drive ).


Save it to your external Hard Drive And finally, in between your backups to the external Hard Drive, you can use your thumb drive as the “bridge” between them — copy things to your Thumb drive every hour or so- it is only one click and it is copied. Then remove the thumbdrive from the computer. THIS IS A CRITICAL PART as if a virus or crash happens and you leave these backup drives plugged into your computer’s USB drive, it could crash like the rest — so the most critical part of these is disconnecting it from the Computer!



The external hard drive is HUGE (128GB to 256GB), so you want to make a copy of your Family Tree software (often called “export”), and all the data you have for it (such as Dates, Places, Births, Marriages, Deaths- everything essentially).

You should be Downloading ALL the data/information you have on Ancestry to your Own Computer’s Hard Drive (and another copy on your THUMBDRIVE).

IF you find your COPY of your account on your own hard drive (computer) — then you can use a “compare” program and do not need to download everything every time again — these programs just download the NEW CONTENT (As you already have to old) and then you have an “up to date” copy of everything on your Computer. It is a good idea to copy this to yet another Hard Drive at home. In fact, a couple different hard drives or DVDs is a good Idea.



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