A recent article in the Allied News, from Grove City, Pennsylvania, serves as a key reminder as to why creating and keeping offsite copies of family photos and information is so important.

Family history goes up in flames

FINDLEY — Fire destroyed a 107-year-old farmhouse at 62 Courtney Lane, Findley Township, Wednesday, taking with it generations of cherished family heirlooms.

“There’s a history that went up in smoke,” Pamela Courtney, 67, who lived in the house with her 69-year-old husband, John, said several hours after the fire.

“I really think it’s true that the pictures are the hardest to lose,” Mrs. Courtney said. “The kids are trying to recall stuff of theirs still in the house. They’re taking it hard. I think (Mr. Courtney) is taking it better than I am.”

Click here to read the full article.


While there may be little anyone can do to fully protect heirlooms and personal items from destruction in flood, fire, earthquake, tornado, or other natural disasters and accidents, there are things genealogist can do to preserve their precious family photographs and important genealogical data.

Making digital copies is an easy first step with today’s technology. But what to do with those copies. I have long recommended people send both a digital and print copy of their photos and databases to a friend or relative living in another state. Learning basic storage techniques can also help preserve items from smaller incidents. I have know people to work and save 30 years of family history research only to lose it all with no backup. Allow the above article to serve as a reminder, and take time this week to backup your data, save your digital files, and find somewhere outside your own home to store and preserve a second copy.