At least I hope I have learned my lesson. Last week, while accompanying my husband to a work seminar, I stayed back in my room and worked on some genealogy. My project, to go through some pages a distant relative sent me from a family history book that someone published back in 1986. He scanned about 20 pages of this book along with the cover and title pages so that I could properly source the items to my genealogy software.
The problem that I created, I should have never created. I use Family Tree Maker for my genealogy program because I like how it syncs my tree to Ancestry.com. I always had my tree privatized so that when others find a match in my tree, I am able to expand my tree. But that is getting off the subject of my challenge.
I use a desktop computer and a laptop computer regularly to do my genealogy work. In the past, I would copy my desktop database to a flash drive and then copy from the flash drive to my laptop. After I was finished working on my laptop, I would then have to copy from the laptop back to the flash drive and then from the flash drive back to my desktop. The problem, I would forget to copy back to my desktop and start working and it would not be updated. Then I would have to have my laptop open next to my desktop and figure out what I did on one versus the other. I could have merged the two together, but I run into so many problems because of the size of my file and the duplicate names that I come across. Therefore, I just don’t merge if I really don’t have too.
Therefore when I found Dropbox.com I thought I had my problems solved. I store my Family Tree Maker database and supporting files on Dropbox within a genealogy/FTM subfolder. Then, I make sure to turn on my laptop from home before leaving anywhere and making sure that my Dropbox folder syncs before I leave. Then when I get back, I make sure I turn on my laptop before starting my home computer so that any changes that I made on the road get updated to my home computer.
This works great in Theory. However, when I was in my hotel room, I guess my internet connection was weak and it didn't update to Dropbox properly while I was away. Then I didn’t turn on my laptop before I started working on this project again from home. OUCH! Therefore, my files didn’t sync properly. The good news is that Dropbox informed me of this problem.
So now I have two FTM files open at the same time, with the index of individuals open. I will just compare name for name all the people in one file against the names of the other file. But first I need to redo the pages that I did last week. I hate redoing my work. I probably could merge my two files, but again, I have so many problems with merging that I just won’t do it. My hat does go off to those who are able to merge but I find I get duplicate facts with duplicate sources. It seems I get like a parallel file of names because it just doesn't merge correctly. Yes I do the backup before I start, and then I just don’t use the newly incorrect merge files. I get the most frustrated because of all the time I would spend trying to do the merge and then it doesn't work properly, so I am not going to this.
So here I am, kicking myself, scolding myself and feeling sorry for myself for being so spacey and forgetting to turn on my laptop when I got home from my trip. ARGH! Next time, I will put a big post-it-not on my desktop that reads “Before using this computer…. turn on your laptop and make sure Dropbox updates completely. Then make sure Dropbox updates completely on this machine before proceeding.”