Paper and Ink

For hundreds of years, if not thousands, paper and ink was the only way to go. Then printing came along, and you could transfer data to a printed document. Nowadays, of course, we have computers, so you can record information electronically. But you can certainly still record on paper. So what are the advantages and disadvantages?


  • Privacy. You have complete control over your information. Unless you make a copy to give away, nobody else has access to your data.
  • Cost. It is inexpensive. Even if you purchase forms, such as a family group sheet or pedigree chart, you will not have a huge outlay to get started.
  • Compact. Easy to transport with you in the event of an emergency. Also, you can take just a few pages with you if you go on a research trip.
  • Convenience. You probably already have paper and pens at home so you could start immediately.


  • Backups. It is not easy to make and store backups. You would have to take photocopies (or laboriously copy everything out again) and store off-site to avoid destruction in the event of an emergency such as fire or flood, especially if you are not home at the time of the disaster.
  • Sharing. If you ever wish to share data, such as with family members, you have to make copies.

Now, the fact that you are reading this means that you have access to a computer, smart phone, or tablet. That being so, you may prefer some of the other alternatives. For that, see the next article.

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