Do you store genealogy records on Google Drive or Google Photos? Or, do you use a free Gmail account as a "backup" of genealogy correspondence with relatives? If you do, and you haven't accessed your account in a while, you need to make a plan to store this priceless information somewhere else. That's because by the end of this year, Google will begin deleting inactive accounts. You can read the details here.
I've warned for years that giant, profit-focused tech companies including Ancestry.com cannot be trusted to preserve important genealogy data, such as family history records, photos, and correspondence with relatives. There primary concern is profit, not family history. Here are a few examples:
- A few years ago, Ancestry deleted online genealogy forums on MyFamily.com
- Dropbox deletes inactive accounts after a year.
- Microsoft deletes inactive accounts (including OneDrive files) after 2 years.
And now Google will do the same, after 2 years of inactivity. This apparently applies to the accounts of deceased people as well.
What can family historians do to preserve their data? I back up all genealogy data to an external hard drive. I keep all printouts of core genealogy records such as death certificates and baptism records. And I have genealogy charts, including hand-written charts and EasyGenie fillable genealogy PDFs stored in binders by family branch.
Bottom line: While Google and Ancestry are easy to use, they have no commitment to ensuring our data is saved for future generations. This requires family historians to do what's necessary to preserve, protect, and share their genealogy.