Week 7 of 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog (see Tonia’s Roots) asks us to “Write a post linking out to another blog or blogs.” This is actually a task at which I have been getting better in recent weeks.
Randy Seaver (Genea-Musings) has been answering questions raised by his readers. His latest is “Dear Randy: How can I sync my files with my brother?” The reader and his brother both use Family Tree Maker and were wondering about keeping their files synchronized. One response was to utilize Dropbox (with the suggestion that the reader check out Dick Eastman’s articles on Dropbox). Randy is great at demonstrating “how to.” As an example, look at his posts on Family Tree Maker 2012. Randy’s suggestion to use Dropbox was a good on; unfortunately Randy, himself, does not use Dropbox, That doesn’t invalidate his suggestion, but it does necessitate some further description.
I use RootsMagic 4 as my desktop genealogy database. Before I started using Dropbox, I had copies of my files on several computers, memory sticks, external harddrives, and online storage. I also sent copies of those files to my son. I was never sure which file was the “right”one — meaning the one with the latest update. I hadn’t designated one computer as the primary one. RootsMagic has an interesting feature called RootsMagic to Go. That allows RootsMagic to be installed on a memory stick (and thus can be used on any computer). When RootsMagic to Go is started from the memory stick, it syncs files on the computer with those on the memory stick. That helped me (if I remembered to have the memory stick with me) but didn’t help me to share those files with my son. My solution came when I began to use Dropbox.
After establishing my free 2GB account with Dropbox, I opened Tools / Program Options / Folders in RootsMagic and set my default folder for RootsMagic data files as C:\Users\Bart\Dropbox\BFT – RM4. I then logged in to my files on the Dropbox website and marked the BFT – RM4 file to be shared and linked it to my son. As a result, when he goes into Dropbox, he has full access to those files. My son runs RootsMagic 4 on his MAC under Parallels. Dropbox has a MAC app. My desktop computer runs Windows 7 (there is a Dropbox app) and my other computers run RootsMagic 4 through Virtualbox with a Linux Mint operating system. (Yes, there is a Linux app, as well.) Dropbox is serving me well, and keeping my database files synchronized. (Of course, I have a number of back-ups as well.
I have also used “BackUp my Tree” to automatically backup all my family tree files. Backup my Tree searches my files for family tree files (all popular family tree software and gedcom files). This was extremely helpful as I was trying to consolidate files as I was moving toward using Dropbox. I must admit that since I have been using Dropbox I haven’t found it necessary to refresh files from Backup my Tree; but they are there in the event of a genealogical catastrophe.