Locate Your Ancestors' Graves Online
The basic program is free and it is free for participants in a meeting. The free version of Zoom will allow the person originating the meeting or conference (the host) to have up to 100 people at a time online. You can also have an unlimited number of meetings but the duration of the meetings is limited to 40 minutes. You can see the other limitations and the features of the paid versions here on Zoom Meeting Plans for Your Business.
I watched a couple of online video tutorials about the program including an extensive one from my local public library. With this introduction and a little back-and-forth tinkering, I was able to successfully host a number of meetings.
Now, what about genealogy? I am used to spending many hours a week helping patrons in the BYU Family History Library and I can see that Zoom could provide that same support on a one-by-one basis or even in a class session. With my Pro version of Zoom, I can see up to 49 people on the screen at one time and host up to 100. This would easily cover most of the support situations I normally have at the Library.
Basically, the host sets up a meeting time and sends out an invitation that has a login and a password. You can hold a meeting without a password, but that has an element of risk that someone not intended will disrupt the meeting. The host goes online at the specified time and attendees log on and attend the meeting using their computer or smartphone. There are simple controls for muting people and attendees do not have to participate by video.
I am not begging for things to do, but I do miss presenting and helping patrons. I have been contacted recently about presenting a class via video conferencing and I am really at a loss to understand why every organization from the Libraries to Societies to Family History Centers aren't taking advantage of the availability of this free service. The most complicated part of the whole process is setting a time and contacting the potential participants which you would need to do anyway with an in-person meeting.
Time to get going folks. We need to stop being obsessed with the virus and get on with our genealogy. If you don't know how to contact me already, you can leave a comment with your email address. I will not publish your email address online unless you specifically instruct me to do so.
Just another observation, there are a number of other programs that work for large groups, for general broadcast, and have different features but right now Zoom is capturing the market.