05 December 2012

Belt, braces and DNA archiving

The post yesterday with a suggested method for backing up your genealogical data provoked several responses.

Charlie Godwin emailed me to encourage every attempt to get people to archive their data, but warning that flash drives have a limited life. "You can only write so many times and then poof! Using multiple drives or some other device periodically is good practice."

Personally I use an online service and selective media backups on CDs and flash drives. I also have a gedcom copy with my brother in England and selective parts of my family tree on Ancestry. At present I still have most confidence in the survival of information committed to print and distributed to family members with copies to a physical public archive if possible - lots of copies keep stuff safe.

When will the day come when we will have the option of coding our family history into our DNA? A whole book has already been recorded in DNA http://hms.harvard.edu/content/writing-book-dna. Imagine multiple copies of a family history engraved on various chromosomes, in the regions with no (known) biological function, being automatically passed down to trillions of cells of the body of the next generation.


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