Share Your Files With Others

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Family Tree MEMORIES is an amazing place to visit! There is one section called "Gallery" that is a collection place for all the different media types that you uploaded or contributed, and another section that will show your ancestors that have media files attached to them that have contributed by everyone.

How many boxes in your attic or basement are sitting there not seen, or worse degrading over time? You probably have photos of shared ancestors that others, such as your collateral line cousins, do not have.

Remember the "old days" when people kept their photos, documents, and stories in their 8.5"X14" fancy thick "genealogy binders". They sat on shelves, hardly ever viewed, especially by anyone outside of the family. Their PAF files stayed on their computers as they created their pedigree and their family group sheets. The days of "THEIR" are over. With cloud drives, Family Tree Gallery, and other means, we now have the ability to collaborate with cousins we may have never met before. We have the ability to easily share our photos, documents, and stories with others and share our heritage with our cousins.

I challenge you to begin this sharing process! There is a whole new world out there! You will find it a great blessing to share so many different things with others.

What Are "Cloud Drives?"

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"Cloud Drives" are basically large server farms that host huge amounts of storage capacity for individuals and corporations to store their files on. Each user can use a completely self-contained encrypted chunk of that storage for their own files. As long as you practice good security standards, your data is safe from outside viewing. What are those standards? A very strong password and using "two factor authentication". What this means is that upon you logging in with your username and strong password, the system will send you either a text message or email with an additional code that you will have to enter. This ensures that you are truly the owner of this cloud space.

Most provider companies offer a small desktop app that will sync your local files with their servers. This is very handy as it allows files to be modified let's say on a laptop, and then those changes are automatically synchronized with all of your other connected devices.

Where Do I Get Them?

There are many different businesses that will "rent" you space on their servers. Amazon Web Services has the largest server storage sites. Microsoft OneDrive, Apple iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox are some of the more common ones out there. Most of these services will offer a small amount of "free" storage space. Google is the most "giving" with its 15 gb storage capacity. This may sound like a lot, but actually it's a small amount. I personally have almost 43,000 images of my family over the years or about 300 gb of needed storage space.

Cost can run from about $1 per month for about 200 gb, to $120/year for 2 terabytes. Just google "cloud drives", and you will be presented with a variety of different providers for these. It's quite easy to sign up and get started with a provider. Do your research first though to ensure that you are getting a good provider. The ones mentioned above are the most commonly used, but Box, iDrive, and others can also provide you good service.

Are They Safe to Use?

If you leave your house open while you go shopping, you are not practicing good security habits. If you keep a mediocre password on your account, you will become a huge cybersecurity risk.

Complex and long passwords ALONG with Two Factor Authentication will make your account “hacker proof”. Two Factor Authentication is nothing more than making sure you are the person you appear to be when you are logging into your account. The system will send you an email or a text message with a code that you need to additionally provide before being logged into the site with.

Why Should I Consider Using a "Cloud Drive"?

One of the most important reasons to do so, is to have your data backed up and stored in an “off-site” location, just in case you have a house fire, flood, hard drive failure, or computer theft. Should one of these things happen to you, you can still easily access all of your files by logging into the server and re-downloading them onto your brand new computer.

Another big reason to use cloud drives is that you can easily SHARE your files with your family relations by using a simple “link” that you send them in an email. That link contains the information they need to access the files that you are sharing with them. Most of the time, your link is for “view only” permissions, which means that they will not be able to edit, move, or delete your files, but only view them and download them.

Share Family Files Using a Cloud Drive

"Cloud Drives" are a great way to SHARE information with others. By simply sharing a "LINK" with others, they can view the photos, stories, videos, audio recordings, histories, etc, that are located on your cloud drive. "Permissions" such as "view only", or "editing" can be assigned to different people. You may have some family members also contributing the photos, etc to the cloud drive, and so, would give them permission to "edit" or contribute to the files.

The handout below discusses how to set up "sharing" in a Google drive, but the same procedures would be basically the same in OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.

Uploading Family Movies to Family Tree

We often hear the question about "Can I upload family video clips to FamilySearch?" The answer is both YES and NO. Let me explain. FamilySearch does not allow you to upload the video clip directly into FamilySearch. However, the video clip can be stored on "cloud drives" such as Dropbox, YouTube, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, etc. You can create and copy a shared LINK to the file into a document, save the document to a PDF file which can then be uploaded to FamilySearch. It's probably easier to see an actual example than to describe one. Check out the one of me down below.

There is a VERY IMPORTANT THING to consider before you start off doing this type of project. Links to files are easily broken. Let's say that you were using Google Drive to store the movie clip. The link that you copied to you PDF document on FamilySearch is to Google Drive. One day you decide, you no longer want to use Google Drive and move your movie clips to Dropbox. SUDDENLY, you have just broken the FamilySearch movie clip links, so they will no longer work. This is NOT a good thing! (: Be sure that you will continue to use the same service for a long time. You may want to only upload certain very special clips, and just share the other movie clips with family using cloud drive links. If you move to a different cloud service, then it is only a matter of sending off a new link to all your videos.

One VERY nice aspect about preserving movie clips in the way described below, is that you are also preserving who is in the movie clip. Screenshots of the people in the clip pasted into the word processing program allow you to name them. I have old movie film from the 1930s and had no idea who many of the folks were. My mother and we were able to travel together on an ocean cruise and during some of that time, I went through the old digitized movie films that were taken while she was growing up. We went through and identified each of the people in there, so that I could label them. Without her help, these old movie clips are simply old movie clips with nameless faces. I was able to extract a photo of my great grandfather from a couple of movie clips, photos that I did not have of him.

Do NOT let those old movies sit and become useless because no one knows who they are of. Spend time asking your grandparents who these individuals are, and then create a way to ensure that those individuals in the movie live on for years to come.

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Our heritage and that of our ancestors will be lost to subsequent generations unless we actively take steps to preserve it.

Site Maintained by:

Stephen A Meyers
Idaho Falls, Idaho

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