If you are lucky enough to have Wi-Fi connection where you are having your reunion, and most venues do have this available these days, you simply bring a laptop, tablet, or even your cell phone, and connect to the Internet. there you can view your family tree online if you have posted it to a website for safe keeping. But what if, like me, your reunion is usually held in a rural area, where even dial-up connection is not available?
Well, one way you can bring it, is simply on your laptop. Even a large file can be saved to your laptop. Or, you can save it to this handy, dandy thumb drive.
Simply plug it into your USB port, and you can view it. Why do I mention this, when you will still need your laptop to use it? Well, simply because some individuals don't keep their digital records and photos on their hard drives. I don't know about other people, but my digital records are so huge that I keep them separate from my hard drive on an external 2-TB hard drive. I know what you're going to ask next!
So, how do you put those huge digital files on a single thumb drive? Well, it all depends upon how large your files are. So how big of thumb drive can you get? I have searched high and low, and the absolute best place I have found to purchase a 2 TB thumb drive is on Amazon. Simply type in 2 TB thumb drive in their search window, and you will find them as economic as less than $10, and greatly more expensive at over $1100. I would go for something with a reliable name like Seagate, or Toshiba. If you are planning to keep your digital files on a thumb drive permanently, I would probably plan on getting a Kingston Security thumb drive. This can cost you upwards of about $1400, but is definitely worth a consideration if you are protecting precious digital records and irreplaceable photographs.
You can also bring hard copies of your files, rather than your laptop or thumb drive. For me, that would equal approximately 150 3-inch binders! But, someone might want to look through all of those notebooks!
You might also bring a condensed version, sans copies of records or photographs. This might be easier to carry. But even printed out, without records and photographs, my files would be well over 8,000 pages. Or about 10 large 4-inch bound books. A bit daunting.
I find it much easier, to simply load my laptop into the car, and bring along a thumb drive with my photos and records. The genealogy program I use is fully searchable by name, date, or location. I can assist anyone who needs information directly from there.
You might also want to bring along some blank data disks (CD disks) to burn copies of records for individuals who might want them. Or ask those who want to get copies of records to bring their own thumb drive. This would allow you to share your files if you choose.
One other hint, which I have used many times in our family reunion, is to set up a slideshow, that runs in a continuous play mode on my laptop. When I am not available to show individuals photos, they can always stop by the table and watch as the slideshow plays. Many are excited when they see photographs of those who have passed on as they play.
I also, usually, keep a list of names and addresses, of those who would like complete copies of my files, which I am happy to share with them in a gedcom file, as most genealogy programs utilize this type of file. You can choose to include photos and records if you like when preparing your gedcom file. This file can be compressed (zipped) and reopened when it reaches its destination.
I hope this helps as you prepare to share your files at your family reunion!