Author Topic: Cloud storage of family history, too hard for the target audience?  (Read 1103 times)

Offline Paul McEvoy

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Cloud storage of family history, too hard for the target audience?
« on: Saturday 27 April 19 00:58 BST (UK) »
I have just started to use cloud storage for family history hoping that this would make it accessible to as many interested family members as possible. It also offers the possibility of other family members adding their own files to the collection. It seemed like a good idea at the time but I am beginning to have second thoughts.

I have sent out links to the cloud storage by email but the feedback I am getting is that the whole operation is too technically challenging for my target audience. Of course that audience is at the older end of the age spectrum and generally not so tech savvy. I suspect family members are intimidated by the technology but don't want to admit this. Rather than asking for help they don't persevere and I receive no feedback at all.

To start with, clicking on the email hyperlinks seems to work depending on the email server being used by the reader. The alternative to clicking is to copy and paste the link into a browser address bar but I suspect that is a challenge for older family members. Nothing happens when they click on the link so they then give up. If they use a mobile to read the email that produces its own set of problems.

If they get the link to work they are then faced with a main history file and a supporting folder. Within the file there are text, photos, links to URLs and links to supporting files. There is even a link which opens Google Earth to show an abandoned family farm and homestead ruin from 80 years ago along with supporting historic photos. The technology offers such exciting opportunities but it is of little value if it is seen as too hard to access.

I expected this matter to have been raised before but I was unable to find it addressed anywhere on the internet. I wonder if that is because most compilers of family history regard access as secondary to recording and maintaining records.

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Offline maggbill

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Re: Cloud storage of family history, too hard for the target audience?
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 27 April 19 05:35 BST (UK) »
HI Paul,
Have to keep reminding myself that I am now in that "older age group" - though I consider myself to be fairly tech savvy (apart from mobile phones - I must be the only one in the world still happy with a "flip-top" oldie.)
Must say that I don't save to "The Cloud" - know little about it, but consider it to be too? accessible to the world in general.  (Could the lack of "privacy" be another issue for the older generation?) It would seem to be the way to go for the younger generation, though I have failed totally to get my "younger" ones the slightest bit interested in family history.  Let's face it technology is getting away from me - still have old videos around the house - dvd's are "passe", computers lack dvd drives - So how will our hard work end up?  Filing cabinets and boxes full, Anc... private tree - - Have set up private website to be able to "tell the stories" - though I find I  am "talking to myself"...  Hmm all sounds a bit doom and gloom eh?  comments from others re how to "save" our work from disappearing would be helpful!
McNab, Kenney, Johnstone, Carrigan, (Cargan, Kirgan, Corrigan), Toll, Tracey, McNulty,  Reilly, Maguire, Loughlin, Banks, McGonagle, Forsyth, McDonald, Michael,  Kennedy, Bagnell, Cronan, Dunleavy, McMullan. -  Glasgow, Ireland, British Columbia Canada, Manchester New Hampshire USA.

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Online chempat

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Re: Cloud storage of family history, too hard for the target audience?
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 27 April 19 07:28 BST (UK) »
Welcome to rootschat, Paul.

I think they are several issues to your question

e.g. ' hoping that this would make it accessible to as many interested family members as possible.'
Have they said and actually are interested, or are just being polite? 
It is your hobby, not theirs.
Many people have no interest whatsoever in their family history.

'I have sent out links to the cloud storage by email but the feedback I am getting is that the whole operation is too technically challenging for my target audience'
Do they regularly use such links in their normal communications - if not, I have total sympathy with them.
It is a challenge if you have not done it before, and so need actual help, in person, to make it work.

'The alternative to clicking is to copy and paste the link into a browser address bar but I suspect that is a challenge for older family members. ' 
How old?  Help in person required, and written instructions to remind how to do it.

' If they use a mobile to read the email that produces its own set of problems.'  Exactly.  Again, help in person is needed.

I know someone who works with computers, but still has little patience with non-working links, slight differences to how he usually accesses information etc, particularly if it is something that he is not interested in. Think that attitude applies to most of us.

I do not have the correct software installed on this computer to do some very simple operations on the rootschat site, I spent hours trying to solve the problem until this was pointed out.

'It also offers the possibility of other family members adding their own files to the collection.'
Have other people got their own files, or are you the only one?  If they have files and have not added, are they just not wanting to do so, or cannot technically do so (seems unlikely if they have created them in the first place)

Some people do not want to share family trees even with very close family, including a very bitter person on here recently. 

I use the cloud, but not a lot. I would not regard family history as requiring privacy if you just use it for dead people. Have you asked them if that is a problem?

Online [Ray]

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Re: Cloud storage of family history, too hard for the target audience?
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 27 April 19 09:19 BST (UK) »

Hi     

2 items = 2 steps.     

1= Storage of backup/full documentation.     
You will never be correct if something happens to you and no-one takes the project up.     
Keep the filing as up-to-date as you can.     
If they are interested they will find a way of reading old technology.     
Print it, put it in folder(s)     


2= Publish it on something a little more modern, eg Zoompast.com.     
Give anyone interested a copy+login&password     


R
"The wise man knows how little he knows, the foolish man does not". My Grandfather & Father.

"You canít give kindness away.  It keeps coming back". Mark Twain (?).

Online Mckha489

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Re: Cloud storage of family history, too hard for the target audience?
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 27 April 19 09:23 BST (UK) »
Iím older than I was but still youngish I like to think (62)
But more importantly I have two children in their 20s who both work in the IT industry as developers, luckily for me, they are both very interested in my genealogical findings. And they say I am more  technologically adept than their friendís parents.

Nevertheless when I asked them how they would like my work preserved/filed for them in the future I was very surprised they wanted books. The old fashioned sort,

So thatís what I do. When I come across Something particularly interesting I use them as the basis for a book. In the back I put full trees and notes plus blank pages for handwritten additions should they become necessary. I always get a couple printed off and advertise the availability around the family, am always surprised at the uptake.

Each of the four I have done so far has had a different format, according to the information I want to share. For example

One big one, was all about one man Cornelius Hatfield, American Loyaist, some of his story and an outline of his descendants but I did another whole book about the family and descendants of one of his grandchildren . The Family of James Anderson and Caroline Maria Furrain, 19th & 20th centuries 

One online thing I did do, was a Cousin and I went around all the oldies and took photos of their old photographs and uploaded them to Evernote, and provided a link. Was popular, but still my children want me to put them in a book format with notes (I haven Ďt done it yet  :()

Iíve another three on the go

And I did some very interesting work on a collateral branch, didnít warrant the expense of printing, so I made a blog for that.


Anyone connected to Fred Goodwane/Goodmane/Goodmayne/Smart Professor of penmanship?

https://tangledweb.puzl.com/

But even that Iíve printed off and bunged into a ring binder.
currently concentrating on NUTCHER & MARSHALL families, Hampshire.
and family of Thomas ANDERSON a Tailor of Perth, Scotland

Offline LizzieW

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Re: Cloud storage of family history, too hard for the target audience?
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 27 April 19 10:39 BST (UK) »
I have a Legacy family tree which as well as being backed up to a separate hard drive. it is also backed up to Legacy Cloud.  As far as I'm concerned that's enough.  I've had my DNA done by Ancestry and 23andme and if I'm contacted by a distant relative I'm happy to share information with them, also my family although they're not particularly interested. 

I only back up to Legacy Cloud because when I change my laptop, which I've done a few times, it's been a hassle to download Legacy and then find the info on the hard drive and send it to the new Legacy tree.  With Legacy Cloud I'm hoping that the process will be much more straightforward in the future.

Offline Paul McEvoy

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Re: Cloud storage of family history, too hard for the target audience?
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 27 April 19 16:07 BST (UK) »
Thanks for all the responses.

Firstly I should say that I just joined the family history business in the past year, somewhat accidentally. So it is not really my hobby. Family history as a hobby - 'my hobby not theirs' - implies that it is an end in itself. That you should write the history irrespective of whether anyone else is interested. If you are writing books about your research material, like Mckha489, it is more than a hobby of course.

It is too complicated to explain in detail, but my involvement relates to a published article about my family, on the internet now, which I consider unbalanced. There is a schism in the family and the journalist was informed by the other side. My sister had been our branch's family historian - she was writing a book centred on my parents' life. But she passed away a decade ago before it was finished. I took possession of all her records and compiled some history perhaps more as a response to the journalist who wrote the article which has now become public history. 

I have not thought of security as an issue with family history. I put greater value on making information generally available. The attraction of the cloud is that the history can be always accessible to all family members rather than in the personal possession of the historian. But that is only relevant if they feel comfortable accessing it.

Chempat asks have family members expressed an interest?
Some have. Could they cut and paste a link to a browser? I'm not so sure. It's simple enough to explain, but would they be sufficiently interested to ask for advice on how to go about it? That is probably a threshold  question for which I am unsure and gets to the core of why I started this thread. I feel quite a few would have enough interest to at least glance through a hard-copy history album, but I suspect not prepared to do the same for digital records if the technology seemed daunting to them. If that is right then the cloud will not achieve what I had in mind.

How old are the family members I am talking about?
 They are all over 70, I suspect with rudimentary computer skills. I have no illusions about young people being interested, although they too will become old and some may take an interest later in life.

Have other people got their own files, or are you the only one?
I know there is an interest in family history and others have kept records. It is possible they could collaborate in a joint effort but they would have to feel comfortable with the technology. My point was the cloud solution would make that a possibility, not a likelihood.

Maggbill mentions saving 'work from disappearing'. I would think having a copy on the cloud would help. There would at least be two copies then.

Ray talks of interested people reading printed history. But the new technology offers so many advantages, even if the documents end up on USB flash drives. For instance, hyperlinks to websites, of which I have many, can link the history to the current day or provide confirmation of evidence presented. But I accept that the old way of doing things has nostalgia and charm.

Ray also mentions zoomcast.com. That appears to be a family tree application. LizzieW writes of Legacy family tree. Much of my material comes from old letters and written accounts. I have not tried to present a strict chronological account but rather put together a series of articles on themes from within the history. I do include a mostly single paternal line family tree in an appendix.

Offline Marmalady

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Re: Cloud storage of family history, too hard for the target audience?
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 27 April 19 17:58 BST (UK) »
The things I take away from your reply is:

1 You do not consider what you are doing as a "hobby" but as a means of setting right some previous wrong.

2 Other family members may have expressed a passing interest in family history or have some documents -- but none are actively researching

3 These family members are on the older side and less confident with computers / technology. They may also have eyesight problems which make reading a screen difficult


So you need to consider -- WHY are you doing this and WHO are you doing this for ?

If it is for your own peace of mind that the "wrong" is righted -- then write up the info, publish on a blog or similar webpage or in print and be done.

If it is to properly research your family history with full trees for your own knowledge -- then you need to keep the info organised in a family tree programme such as Legacy or one of the many others -- otherwise you will get lost in reams of paper and documents.

If it is to pass this knowledge onto other family members -- you cannot force this, only make it known the info is there if they want it. In my own family, my sister & I are avid researchers, one brother has an interest but no time/inclination to do any research, another brother has no interest.

By all means, put copies up on the Cloud for the younger / internet savvy -- but many people, especially older people with failing eyesight, will relate far more to hard copy -- so print out some trees and interesting documents to show them if they ask
Wainwright - Yorkshire
Whitney - Herefordshire
Watson -  Northamptonshire
Trant - Yorkshire
Helps - all
Needham - Derbyshire
Waterhouse - Derbyshire
Northing - all

Offline LizzieW

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Re: Cloud storage of family history, too hard for the target audience?
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 27 April 19 18:36 BST (UK) »
Just a comment, I am 78 and quite au fait with computers, Cloud, etc. so don't think that all over 70s only have rudimentary knowledge of computers - although I agree some do.  Many people, my husband included have worked with computers since the early 1960s and are perfectly capable of using them now.