Data Backup Day – No Kidding

UPDATE: This was originally posted on my duplicate blog at WordPress. As of 2 August 2008, 1:00 PM, PDT, my AnceStories blog at Blogger was finally unlocked.

As Thomas reminds us, today is Data Backup Day. When I think of data, I usually think of my scanned photos and images of genealogy documents that need to be backed up to my secondary hard drive, my flash drive, DVDs, or an online backup service (right now I’m using MediaMax), or my RootsMagic databases that I upload (with living people filtered out) to RootsWeb’s WorldConnect family trees. UPDATE: Yikes! MediaMax is closing down as of August 8th. Time to switch to Carbonite, I’m thinking.

I never thought I might have to back up my blogs.

Yesterday afternoon, I received three e-mails from Google/Blogger, stating my AnceStories blog, my AnceStories2 blog and the EWGS blog had all been flagged as potential “splogs” (spam blogs). I was given instructions to submit them for reviews by Blogger to prove they weren’t. Several hours later, my AnceStories2 blog was unlocked and back in business. My AnceStories and the EWGS blogs are still locked. This means I can write posts, save drafts, and edit changes on already published posts, but I cannot publish or schedule to be published any posts until the blogs have been cleared.

I’m not the only one with this problem. Schelly Taladay Dardashti of Tracing the Tribe was also locked out, as was Maureen Taylor of The Photo Detective. Debra Osborne Spindle (“Tex”) of All My Ancestors has been fighting a battle with Blogger for weeks…she got flagged as a malicious blog, and even though she’s jumped through all their hoops, if you use Mozilla Firefox as your browser and go to her site, you’ll see a big warning posted. And when you Google her site, there’s a notice “this site may harm your computer.”

After I got locked out, I thought about opening another Blogger blog, but the thought of importing 692 posts was more than a little daunting! Then Schelley told me about WordPress, and after reading messagesfrom many Blogger users on the Blogger Help Board who are doing the same, I decided to go for it.

WordPress has a very easy import feature that will import your Blogger posts (including drafts and scheduled ones), comments, categories, and links within the posts over to WordPress that is quick and painless. Everything remains as-is back at Blogger, too (“importing” here really means duplicating; not removing). The drawback is that I can’t have advertising on this free account, and importing my widgets will take time. However, I feel it’s worth it as a backup.

I’m meeting with members of my society today for our Washington State Genealogical Society 2009 State Conference Committee Chairs and plan to request permission to import the society’s blog to WordPress as well. And I’ve decided as a backup plan, I’m going to back up all my blogs to WordPress, keeping them private, just in case something happens to them.

So expand your horizons and don’t limit your idea of what “data” is to just the files and folders in your computer. Take the time to protect your invested time, research, and perhaps money and come up with a backup plan for your blogs as well.

Data Backup Day – No Kidding!

As Thomas reminds us, today is Data Backup Day.  When I think of data, I usually think of my scanned photos and images of genealogy documents that need to be backed up to my secondary hard drive, my flash drive, DVDs, or an online backup service (right now I’m using MediaMax), or my RootsMagic databases that I upload (with living people filtered out) to RootsWeb’s WorldConnect family trees.  UPDATE: Yikes!  MediaMax is closing down as of August 8th.  Time to switch to Carbonite, I’m thinking.

I never thought I might have to back up my blogs.

Yesterday afternoon, I received three e-mails from Google/Blogger, stating my AnceStories blog, my AnceStories2 blog and the EWGS blog had all been flagged as potential “splogs” (spam blogs).  I was given instructions to submit them for reviews by Blogger to prove they weren’t.  Several hours later, my AnceStories2 blog was unlocked and back in business.  My AnceStories and the EWGS blogs are still locked.  This means I can write posts, save drafts, and edit changes on already published posts, but I cannot publish or schedule to be published any posts until the blogs have been cleared.

I’m not the only one with this problem.  Schelly Taladay Dardashti of Tracing the Tribe was also locked out, as was Maureen Taylor of The Photo Detective.  Debra Osborne Spindle (“Tex”) of All My Ancestors has been fighting a battle with Blogger for weeks…she got flagged as a malicious blog, and even though she’s jumped through all their hoops, if you use Mozilla Firefox as your browser and go to her site, you’ll see a big warning posted.  And when you Google her site, there’s a notice “this site may harm your computer.”

After I got locked out, I thought about opening another Blogger blog, but the thought of importing 692 posts was more than a little daunting!  Then Schelley told me about WordPress, and after reading messagesfrom many Blogger users on the Blogger Help Board who are doing the same, I decided to go for it.

WordPress has a very easy import feature that will import your Blogger posts (including drafts and scheduled ones), comments, categories, and links within the posts over to WordPress that is quick and painless.  Everything remains as-is back at Blogger, too (“importing” here really means duplicating; not removing).  The drawback is that I can’t have advertising on this free account, and importing my widgets will take time.  However, I feel it’s worth it as a backup.

I’m meeting with members of my society today for our Washington State Genealogical Society 2009 State Conference Committee Chairs and plan to request permission to import the society’s blog to WordPress as well.  And I’ve decided as a backup plan, I’m going to back up all my blogs to WordPress, keeping them private, just in case something happens to them.

So expand your horizons and don’t limit your idea of what “data” is to just the files and folders in your computer.  Take the time to protect your invested time, research, and perhaps money and come up with a backup plan for your blogs as well.

2008 Artistry of Genealogy Awards – the Joke’s on Me!

You’re going to laugh when you read this. At least I did, because the joke is on me. On Wednesday, I received the following e-mail:

The Photo Preservation Center is announcing the 2008 Artistry of Genealogy Awards through an upcoming Businesswire news release and your site was mentioned. Congratulations and I hope the attention draws many more people to your excellent site. An advance copy of the release is posted on our Tales from the World of Photo Scanning Blog – www.blog.ScanMyPhotos.com. We will make sure to have your site hyperlinked on the official Businesswire release. Thanks for your commitment to also helping preserve families history and memories.

Well, I had never heard of this organization and to be quite frank, there were a couple of spelling and grammatical errors in the subject line and message, and the link embedded in the message led to a 404 error page–all normal indicators of a possible spam message. So I deleted the e-mail. Yes, I did!

On Thursday, Becky’s congratulatory post at kinnexions popped up in my feed reader, followed by many others in the geneablogosphere, and suddenly I realized this was authentic! Sheepishly, I retrieved the e-mail from my trash folder and replied with a humble “thank you.” Are you laughing at me yet? That’s all right. I’m laughing right along with you!

Here is the correct link that will take you to the blog, and here is the press release on Yahoo! through Businesswire. I’m not going to repeat the whole message here as most of you have probably read it on other blogs, but I did want to mention a few things.

First of all, thank you to the Photo Preservation Center for creating these awards and to all those who voted for AnceStories as Best Personal Genealogy Blog (Renee Zamora of Renee’s Genealogy Blog also received this award). I’m sorry that I didn’t recognize the award for what it was at first glance!

Secondly, congratulations to all my fellow award winners! I’m honored to be listed among them. Every one of the recipients was familiar to me at first glance, with the exception of Favorite Genealogy Research Guide: Genealogy Research Guides, Tips and Online Records. After investigating this site, I slapped my forehead and said, “Oh, it’s Joe!” Yes, Joe Beine of www.deathindexes.com and Genealogy Roots Blog. ResearchGuides.net is the front door to his portal of wonderful pages of links to online records. The other one that seemed at first unfamiliar but turned out to be part of Illya D’Addezio’s conglomeration of sites (think GenealogyToday) was Family Tree Connection, which won Most Popular Genealogy Database.

One thing I learned from all this (besides not to look a gift horse in the mouth!) was that April is The Great American Photo Scanning Month! As the hostess of Scanfest, I think that’s simply terrific! In honor of that event, ScanMyPhotos.com has created the following offer:

Throughout April, ScanMyPhotos.com is providing free photo scans to all members of four leading social networking sites; subscribers to Flickr, MySpace, Blogger and Facebook can have up to 1,000 4×6″ photos scanned to DVD without charge when they mail their pictures to ScanMyPhotos.com and pay $19.95 for return S&H, along with the downloadable order form.

This sounds like a sweet deal, and would work wonderfully for all those modern photos you have sitting around in boxes that need to be digitized. As for the antique or one-of-a-kind old family photos or documents, I urge you to join me and scan them during Scanfest (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday this coming week) and Spring Break Scan-a-thon, currently in progress. If you can’t make it this week, the April Scanfest will be held Sunday, April 27th from 11 AM – 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time.

2008 Artistry of Genealogy Awards – the Joke’s on Me!

You’re going to laugh when you read this. At least I did, because the joke is on me. On Wednesday, I received the following e-mail:

The Photo Preservation Center is announcing the 2008 Artistry of Genealogy Awards through an upcoming Businesswire news release and your site was mentioned. Congratulations and I hope the attention draws many more people to your excellent site. An advance copy of the release is posted on our Tales from the World of Photo Scanning Blog – www.blog.ScanMyPhotos.com. We will make sure to have your site hyperlinked on the official Businesswire release. Thanks for your commitment to also helping preserve families history and memories.

Well, I had never heard of this organization and to be quite frank, there were a couple of spelling and grammatical errors in the subject line and message, and the link embedded in the message led to a 404 error page–all normal indicators of a possible spam message. So I deleted the e-mail. Yes, I did!

On Thursday, Becky’s congratulatory post at kinnexions popped up in my feed reader, followed by many others in the geneablogosphere, and suddenly I realized this was authentic! Sheepishly, I retrieved the e-mail from my trash folder and replied with a humble “thank you.” Are you laughing at me yet? That’s all right. I’m laughing right along with you!

Here is the correct link that will take you to the blog, and here is the press release on Yahoo! through Businesswire. I’m not going to repeat the whole message here as most of you have probably read it on other blogs, but I did want to mention a few things.

First of all, thank you to the Photo Preservation Center for creating these awards and to all those who voted for AnceStories as Best Personal Genealogy Blog (Renee Zamora of Renee’s Genealogy Blog also received this award). I’m sorry that I didn’t recognize the award for what it was at first glance!

Secondly, congratulations to all my fellow award winners! I’m honored to be listed among them. Every one of the recipients was familiar to me at first glance, with the exception of Favorite Genealogy Research Guide: Genealogy Research Guides, Tips and Online Records. After investigating this site, I slapped my forehead and said, “Oh, it’s Joe!” Yes, Joe Beine of www.deathindexes.com and Genealogy Roots Blog. ResearchGuides.net is the front door to his portal of wonderful pages of links to online records. The other one that seemed at first unfamiliar but turned out to be part of Illya D’Addezio’s conglomeration of sites (think GenealogyToday) was Family Tree Connection, which won Most Popular Genealogy Database.

One thing I learned from all this (besides not to look a gift horse in the mouth!) was that April is The Great American Photo Scanning Month! As the hostess of Scanfest, I think that’s simply terrific! In honor of that event, ScanMyPhotos.com has created the following offer:

Throughout April, ScanMyPhotos.com is providing free photo scans to all members of four leading social networking sites; subscribers to Flickr, MySpace, Blogger and Facebook can have up to 1,000 4×6″ photos scanned to DVD without charge when they mail their pictures to ScanMyPhotos.com and pay $19.95 for return S&H, along with the downloadable order form.

This sounds like a sweet deal, and would work wonderfully for all those modern photos you have sitting around in boxes that need to be digitized. As for the antique or one-of-a-kind old family photos or documents, I urge you to join me and scan them during Scanfest (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday this coming week) and Spring Break Scan-a-thon, currently in progress. If you can’t make it this week, the April Scanfest will be held Sunday, April 27th from 11 AM – 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time.

The February 2008 Scanfest is Upon Us!

Attention, Scanfesters! Haul out those photo albums, boxes of unsorted pictures, stacks of documents, and other family ephemera! The second Scanfest of 2008 is coming up next Sunday, February 24th, from 11 AM – 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time.

Sally Jacobs exhorted us in a post earlier this week not to let our New Years’ resolutions to organize our photos fizzle out. Getting tired of all that snow? Wishing something new would come along? Can’t bear to think of those unfinished projects? C’mon, now! Join us during Scanfest, and catch the enthusiasm once again. Get those projects finished up! Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know other family historians and archivists and chat away using Windows Live Messenger, and make a monotonous job much more enjoyable!

Here are the details:

To join us, you’ll need a Hotmail or Gmail account, and Windows Live Messenger downloaded to your computer (Mac users go here to download Microsoft Messenger for Mac). Although WLM states that it is compatible with Yahoo! e-mail accounts, we have had difficulty adding Yahoo! users to our chat conversation. If you don’t have a Hotmail or Gmail account, it’s very easy (and free) to set one up. Just go to the links in the first sentence of this paragraph. Once you have gotten set up, send me an e-mail (my address is found on this page) and I’ll add you to our chat list. You’ll receive an invitation message from me at my hotmail address, which will be sent to the e-mail account that you’ve set up for Messenger (Hotmail or Gmail), and will need to verify that I can add you as a contact.

The second thing you need to do to prepare for scanning is go to Sally’s website here and sign up for her free e-mail newsletter. This will then allow you to download her helpful information called 8 Blunders People Make When They Scan Photographs…and How You Can Avoid Them All. Then you will know how to set your scanner correctly to enable you to scan your items without damaging the originals or compromising the digital images you create.

Please join us! We had such a blast last month, our biggest attendance at Scanfest, ever! Remember, you don’t need to be a genealogist or a blogger. All you need is a scanner, Windows Live Messenger on your computer, and a desire to scan your family’s photos or papers. See you Sunday!

The February 2008 Scanfest is Upon Us!

Attention, Scanfesters! Haul out those photo albums, boxes of unsorted pictures, stacks of documents, and other family ephemera! The second Scanfest of 2008 is coming up next Sunday, February 24th, from 11 AM – 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time.

Sally Jacobs exhorted us in a post earlier this week not to let our New Years’ resolutions to organize our photos fizzle out. Getting tired of all that snow? Wishing something new would come along? Can’t bear to think of those unfinished projects? C’mon, now! Join us during Scanfest, and catch the enthusiasm once again. Get those projects finished up! Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know other family historians and archivists and chat away using Windows Live Messenger, and make a monotonous job much more enjoyable!

Here are the details:

To join us, you’ll need a Hotmail or Gmail account, and Windows Live Messenger downloaded to your computer (Mac users go here to download Microsoft Messenger for Mac). Although WLM states that it is compatible with Yahoo! e-mail accounts, we have had difficulty adding Yahoo! users to our chat conversation. If you don’t have a Hotmail or Gmail account, it’s very easy (and free) to set one up. Just go to the links in the first sentence of this paragraph. Once you have gotten set up, send me an e-mail (my address is found on this page) and I’ll add you to our chat list. You’ll receive an invitation message from me at my hotmail address, which will be sent to the e-mail account that you’ve set up for Messenger (Hotmail or Gmail), and will need to verify that I can add you as a contact.

The second thing you need to do to prepare for scanning is go to Sally’s website here and sign up for her free e-mail newsletter. This will then allow you to download her helpful information called 8 Blunders People Make When They Scan Photographs…and How You Can Avoid Them All. Then you will know how to set your scanner correctly to enable you to scan your items without damaging the originals or compromising the digital images you create.

Please join us! We had such a blast last month, our biggest attendance at Scanfest, ever! Remember, you don’t need to be a genealogist or a blogger. All you need is a scanner, Windows Live Messenger on your computer, and a desire to scan your family’s photos or papers. See you Sunday!

New Genealogy-Related Websites

Interesting new (or new-to-me) websites I’ve discovered during the past week:

  • *South Dakota State Archives has started databases of Civil War veterans (both Union and Confederate) listed in Dakota Territory’s special Veterans Census of 1885 (hat tip to Leland Meitzler of Genealogy Blog). Also at this archive website, I discovered the South Dakota Newspaper Vital Records Index, spanning 1781 – present. Joe! You need to add this one to your website!
  • *Southern California Genealogical Society’s Virtual Surname Wall is now searchable. You can also add your own surnames.