Thursday, October 28, 2010

OK - More about Dropbox

There have been several listener and reader responses to the casual mention of Dropbox during Ol' Myrt's Blogging webinar a week ago. This morning's glance at Google Reader brings to view Dick Eastman's article Dropbox: File Syncing & Sharing Made Easy. I heartily recommend reviewing this if you'd like another opinion in favor of the service.

Dropbox is available for a variety of platforms - Windows, Mac, Linux and Mobile. When  you first visit the site, take the time to view the orientation video, as it describes the use of the service quite well. Ol' Myrt here is sure you'll find the Dropbox service indispensable, even if you aren't planning a trip to Africa.      

Initially Dropbox is a free service for your first 2 gigabytes of file storage space. This is good for testing out the service, and for sharing a large file that won't transfer via email, such as a GEDCOM file of your genealogy database. You can specify a password-protected file, so that the recipient cannot access other files in your Dropbox.

Dropbox has a plan for inviting friends and in exchange you can receive up to 16 GB additional free storage space. Right now, you can see I've earned 1.50GB of the maximum 16GB. Notice I've blocked out the full e-mail addresses of the friends I've invited to join Dropbox using the referral system in this screen shot of my account below:

If you require additional storage space, then upgrade to Pro 50 (50GB for $99 per  year) or Pro 100 (100GB for $199 per year). Payments may also be made in monthly installments.

I've organized my Dropbox folder with sub folders for major surnames in my compiled genealogy, and merely move each file I unearth to the appropriate folder. As I move back and forth between our home out west and the one here in Virginia, I take the time at each computer to look for those stray scanned images and downloaded source documents about my ancestors, and move them to a surname folder in my Dropbox.

One Dropbox, many computers.

Lately I've been adding scanned images from several ancestors' US Civil War pension and service files I've been researching at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The next time I turn on my computer back in Utah and connect to the internet, Dropbox automatically syncs all the new folders and files I've added, so both computers have the same content. 

The green circle w/ check mark means the file or folder
is synced to the online Dropbox folder.

When I turn on my laptop these updated files and folders will also be replicated on my laptop's hard drive. This also works well when adding scanned images on my laptop at a library or archives. When I return home, I'll see that my desktop computer has already been synced by Dropbox, since it is always connected to the internet. Next, I'm ready to crop out the excessive black borders of the scans, and attach them to ancestors in my genealogy database. For such image fine-tuning, I prefer using an external mouse rather than my laptop touch pad. (And then of course, there is no time like the present to insert appropriate source citations, while things are fresh in my mind.)

If you'd like to try Dropbox, do use this Dropbox link, as it will help Ol' Myrt here earn her full 16GB of free storage space. I've got a lot of my ancestor's source documents to scan from my old 3-ring binders.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.


  1. Posting to say thanks for the info on Dropbox I signed up last night using your referral link and am amazed at how quick and easy it is.

  2. Thank you, I am new to dropbox. I signed up as a result of information from the Atlanta Family History Expo. Now to learn more about how to use it.

  3. I love Dropbox! Great tool indeed!

  4. Thanks to you I have been using Dropbox for a few years now, which has prepared me for online collaboration with other genealogists in my extended family! Your articles have been invaluable in this process!