A Cup Of USB Sticks

Photo created in FOREVER Artisan check DEALS For Savings

If you’ve been following along, you know that I talk about “Getting My Poop In A Group,” and I’ve been working on that project since 2017. (if you are on Facebook, come join my group and be sure to answer the questions)

How many of you have a cup full like this one? Or perhaps you don’t even have them in a cup. Are they just here and there around the house? What treasured documents and photos are stored on them? Did you know that USB sticks have a life expectancy? It’s actually about five years.

Take a moment and collect all those sticks and put them in one place. Then when you have time, go through each one and ensure you have copies of that information stored on your computer and in the cloud. It’s easy to lose track of things you got from a cousin that were put on a stick, and you never got around to putting the information where you intended.

I have spoken about a 3-2-1 Plan, you can read more about that HERE, but essentially it ensures that you have;

  • at least three copies of your photos
  • storing the copies on two different media.
  • Keeping one backup copy offsite. (Cloud)

For me, this means having the physical photos and documents, storing them on my computer and on a digital hard drive. My hard drive of choice is found on Amazon, and in particular, it’s a Seagate which you can find on Amazon. There are various sizes, so it’s essential that you choose the size that you can count on to meet your current and future demand. It’s also important to remember that these devices have a shelf life of approximately five years as well.

For cloud storage, I use FOREVER. But as I’ve blogged before, FOREVER is so much more than just cloud storage. When I think of what most people believe is cloud storage, I think of Google Photo and iCloud. Those are fine, but I think of those as temporary sites because I’m not paying for them, so what’s in it for those sites? Are they really doing it out of the goodness of their heart?

When you read the Google terms and conditions, they read like this. The important bits I’ve bolded.

When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services.

Like the terms and conditions at the various genealogy sites, you want to read those terms to make sure they fit your goals. Even if they are boring and could put you to sleep.

Cute kitten sleeping after reading terms and conditions

Something else you need to make sure of when choosing cloud storage is if something happens to you, would your family be able to access your photos and documents? I know that you can now name a beneficiary at iCloud, which is also available at FOREVER.

So getting back to the cup of USB sticks and getting my poop in a group. Checking the USB sticks and ensuring that I have the info captured precisely where I want to store them helps me feel more in control. You see, it’s not just my plan to have all my photos stored at FOREVER but to also have my genealogy stored there as well. I wrote about this in a blog this past January, and I’m tracking the entire process and will be sharing it with you. You can find Part One here. Stay tuned as Part Two is coming shortly.


  • Nancy Frey says:

    I agree with most of what you say, however, after having two external digital hard drives (Seagate) fail, I was alerted to the difference between a digital hard drive and a solid state digital hard drive. The latter may be more expensive but are worth it. They do not have the failure rate that a normal digital hard drive has. I didn’t see that stresed in your article.

    • Nancy, you make a good point. Solid-state is a better hard drive as it has no moving parts, like a traditional spin drive. But even solid-state drives are not all created equal. There is the basic solid-state drive within that technology, which is not truly designed to be constant read-write technology. Within the SSD family, there is a server-class version that is considerably more money and is designed to perform the task of continuous read-writing. So one has to determine ahead of time what type of storage media you are looking for. An external spin drive could last as long as an SSD if you only plugged it in when you needed to use it, as its failure rate is based on the number of hours it’s spinning.

  • Diana evans says:

    Your article really gave me something to think about. All the hours I have spent “saving” information, pictures etc and it is only for 5 years! And if no one else in family is interested, at this time, why do it? Keep the pictures as they are now, everything has lasted so why change?

    • Diana, True, they are good for only 5 years, but you can transfer quite easily from one device to another. As for family not being interested, I understand because there isn’t a lot of interest in the photos and the genealogy from my younger generation. But that doesn’t make me give up hope. With my FOREVER account, everything I set up is preserved for my lifetime plus 100 years (see the Guarantee). I have made my two sons beneficiaries for my account. So they will have access. I can also go into the settings and decide when my account is open to the public. So I can set my account to be open when I die, 5 years later, 10, 25, 100 years later. Have a look at this legacy account that has a public setting. I also like FOREVER’s promise, We enable you to decide how your memories will be shared with future generations and who has access to view, curate, and manage the content in your account. We will never shut down your account or delete your content unless that is what you have asked us to do.

      My sons are mildly interested, but that may change as they grow older. I see that a lot in other families. But even if that doesn’t happen, I’m putting things in place for future family and genealogists, so my hard work isn’t lost.