The power supply in my main computer workstation failed a week ago and in its dying gasp, sent a power spike through the system that fried the motherboard too. We all know that the hard drive in our machines will die at some point, but power supplies are typically more robust and you don't worry about them exiting life by stomping on the rest of the hardware in your computer.
Wait... What was that? We know our hard drives are going to die? Yes, that is the truth and it seems to be an unwritten fact of nature. It's an immutable law like death and taxes if you will. The few drives that don't die are aberrations that grow so long in the tooth both in size and speed, that they might as well die young with the rest of the breed.
All of us family history researchers regularly backup our data, photos, audio, video, e-mail, etc., right? We are never caught in a situation that results in the loss of our precious records. Fortunately, I take my own advice and do back up my files daily, so the death of my computer didn't result in the death of my data and image files.
While in the process of restoring my files from my backup drives and off-site storage, I realized that I was missing a great free off-site resource. Footnote will let anyone upload their various document images and photos for no cost AND with no storage limits. The maximum size any single image can be is 10 megabytes (big) and they have to be one of these file types, .gif, .tiff, .png or .jpg, but that fits almost every image or photo that I use in my own research and probably in yours too.
When you sign up for a free or subscription account on Footnote, you need to understand the terms associated with uploaded images. They can't be copyrighted unless you own the copyright and they will be visible to others searching the site. You still own them though. The terms are listed here.
Most of us family history researchers share our document images constantly. Birth, marriage, death certificates, passenger documents, wills, etc., are treasures we all 'covet'. It is easier to point other researchers to an image on a website than trying to find it on our workstations and then hope that the e-mail attachment will make it through the mail servers between the two parties.
I'm now uploading my precious photos and images to the Footnote site. I won't have to worry about my house burning down, being destroyed by an earthquake or my hard drives failing. My document images and family history photos are stored off-site at Footnote and I and others can access them any time from any computer that is connected to the Internet and has web browser software installed. To save an image back to my machine, I'll just have to right-click on it and click 'Save As'.
At last … a solution that solves several needs… off-site storage, access by other researchers and the fact that I'm helping the family history community. I found 'my' images and photos over 50+ years of research and there is no reason to plow that field twice. As other folks add their photos and images to Footnote, we will all benefit from them as well. If you don't already have a free or subscription account with Footnote, click here to see the sign up page.
Disclaimer. I work for the parent company of Footnote, but was not asked to write this note but rather, I asked permission to write it. I'm always looking for 'deals' to extend research funds for myself, my research friends and the family history community in general. The free storage at Footnote provides one more great 'deal' in that quest.