The Case for Sharing Your Genealogy GEDCOM

The Case for Sharing Your Genealogy GEDCOM

Recently, I experience what every genealogist dreads.  My computer crashed and I had no way to access the data on my hard drive.  Much to my chagrin, some of my backup CDs were corrupted.  The data lost.

I was very grateful that around September I had done a complete backup and loaded to my private storage space at  Unfortunately, I had input data since then.

Thank God for procrastination!  I had all the documents I had input from August through December still sitting in a stack on my desk to be filed away.  I’ve spent the last week checking to see what data is in my September database and what is not.  I was lucky in that I didn’t have too much to reinput (a task I always hate!)

As I was checking through documents, I was mad at myself that I had not uploaded a more recent backup to Humyo and that I had not shared a copy of my GEDCOM with anyone recently.  Had I done either or both, I would not have had to reinput anything.

I’ve been leery about sharing my GEDCOM with folks.  I’ve had my research show up in places that I did not want it to be.  I’ve been embarrassed that others have uploaded my database places and those early databases included some shoddy research on my part–before I had figured out the ins and out of research and documenting my research.  I would mind so much that people share my data if they asked permission and if they gave me credit for the thousands of hours I have poured over microfilms and records.  I know I can’t prevent it, but it rankles me none-the-less that I’ve done all the dirty work then someone submits it as their own without having to do the hard part.

I’m beginning to reconsider sharing my database with other genealogists.  There are definite pluses to having other copies of your database around.  It’s a backup copy in case what happened to me happens again.  What if the online storage website I use calls it quits?  My backups will poof away like so much on the internet.

What’s your opinion of sharing genealogy data?  Do you share your GEDCOM?  Do you keep the information you share with others at a minimum so you have better control over where it ends up?  Do you have a back up plan that involves multiple sources so that if one backup is inaccessible or corrupted, you have another way to recover your data?

I’d hate to lose all my hard work.  I’d cry or worse if I’d have to reinpu 10+ binders of family data!  Spreading GEDCOMs around is another way to make sure my data is never completely lost when technology fails me.

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One thought on “The Case for Sharing Your Genealogy GEDCOM

  1. I no longer share my entire gedcom but I will happily share portions of it. Then when it ends up in unexpected places I know how it got there. I’m terrible about backing up my data but I’ve improved by trying to back up on the first of every month. I also keep duplicate copies at my sister’s house, I can just swap out a flash drive with her every month.

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