For genealogy usefulness purposes (as opposed to legal purposes) which is better, keeping vital records as digital copies or keeping vital records as paper copies? Or, is there some third option? Also in places and times before official vital records were kept, what are acceptable genealogy 'vital record' substitutes?
Robert, because of tech. changes, upgrades, I keep a paper copy of the really important documents on acid free paper. My Gen. files are printed on good quality paper.
Too many Gen sites have closed or upgraded and our years of hard work and stored data has been lost. Also my older FTM programs and Gen. data on backup files are not recognized by Windows 7 & 8.
For substitute "vital records" look for census, land records, wills and tax records. Don't forget to research collateral family members. Good luck.
I agree with Sarah on both questions. I keep both paper trails, as well as copies on my computer. I also back up my software old and new genealogy data on DVD's as well as backing up both of my computers. I never want to lose any of my hard-earned work. Probably I overdue it a bit much but if you do work for others, as I do, you cannot have enough backups of anything. All the DVD's are stored in a safe location. It is also a good idea to have some kind of organization that works for you so you will readily be able to retrieve something without "fishing" around for it.
As a writer, I've been informed that it's always best to keep a copy in three different mediums: paper, online and digitally. Paper, or 'hardcopy' just in case the untoward happens to your computer; online, (again in case something untoward happens to your computer; and either on a flash drive or an external hard drive. I backup everything. I've kept copies of International marriage records; Sons of the American Revolution Applications; etc. saved to my computer, plus a paper copy. That way, God forbid, if something untoward happens and Ancestry.com goes down, I've got a backup of my sources. Also, with those hardcopies, make sure you keep them in an acid-free page protectors.
April, unfortunately we only have access to our files on Ancestry as long as we continue to subscribe.
You are both wise to prepare for the day when digital is not as we know it today. Already DVD players are being eliminated from computers.