Watch researchers entering the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and you might think they’re about to board a plane. The luggage they’re wheeling along isn’t full of clothes, though—it’s stuffed with family group sheets and pedigree charts. (You never know what your research might turn up, so why not have all your notes handy, right?)
Also known as a jump drive, thumb drive or USB key, a flash drive is usually about 21/2 inches long, weighs less than an ounce and easily fits in your pocket or hangs from a cord around your neck. Despite its tiny size, a flash drive has room to hold all your family history files and probably your digitized family photos, as well.
If your genealogy program isn’t installed on the computer you’ll use with the flash drive, you might be able to run the program from the flash drive. It’s easy to run Macintosh software from a flash drive. But to run Reunion on a flash drive plugged into a computer not licensed for the program, you’ll have to enter your license information. (Remember to write it down before you go.)
Readyboost ($24.99 at OfficeMax) and the SanDisk Cruzer Micro 4GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive ($27.99 at <www.bestbuy.com>) both use U3 Smart technology. MojoPac, a free download for Windows XP, is another tool that lets you run some programs from a flash drive, but not usually on a public computer. Users have reported success running Legacy Family Tree with MojoPac.
Be careful to remove a flash drive properly, or you risk corrupting your files or damaging the drive.
5. In Windows XP, click on Start and My Computer. Navigate to the folder where you saved your file.
6. Right-click on the file, select Send To and click on the flash drive letter.
7. Plug your flash drive into a USB port on the computer and wait for Windows to recognize it. From the pop-up window, select “Open folder to view files using Windows Explorer” and click OK. (No pop-up? Go to My Computer.)
8. Double-click the shortcut to PAF5 on your flash drive.
9. Select Open an Existing PAF File and navigate to the family file on the flash drive, select the file and click Open.