Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Email, Vulnerable Family Information

I just read an interesting article on Lorine McGinnis Schulze's blog Olive Tree Genealogy. In the article, Can You Teach an Old Genealogist New Tricks?, Lorine writes about a problem she's having with identifying photos shared with her by family members because the email with the identifying information didn't get transfered to her new computer when she replaced the old one, and it's been lost.

This really struck a chord with me. If there is one segment of my genealogy information that I consider to be more vulnerable than the rest it would be that which exists only in email.

For many years, I used Microsoft Outlook as my primary email client for checking my POP3 email account. Consequently, I have literally hundreds of emails that I've received from cousins and family contacts over the years that are stuck in Outlook in its native .pst format. I have faithfully transferred those files to each new computer I've had and I've purchased new versions of Microsoft's Office Suite as needed. So that information is not lost nor is it inaccessible. However, I stopped using Outlook as my email client a couple years ago (in favor of Yahoo Mail and GMail) and I don't want to have to purchase the program ad infinitum to continue to access and store that information.

I would like to get all that email, 1) printed as batch files folder-by-folder so I don't have to print each email individually, 2) converted to a more standard format (preferably .pdf), again, as batch files so I don't have to do it email by email, and 3) exported from Outlook to my GMail account, again, preferably as batches by folder.

If any of my readers can recommend a software program, app, widget, gadget, etc. that could help me accomplish any of these tasks I'd really appreciate hearing from you! Or if you know of a way to accomplish this within Outlook please share the how-to link(s) because I've not been able to find a way to get it done. :-7