Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Family History, WiFi and the Church

WiFi connections in the chapels of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have become ubiquitous in some parts of the world. These connections are commonly relied upon by members of the Church in displaying online lesson materials and for other administrative reasons. The Church's Family History associated callings now require a connection to the Internet for training materials as well as access to's resources including the Family Tree program.

Assuming that interest in doing family history increases in the Church, it follows that any increase in family history activity during times when the members are using computers in ward and stake buildings with require access to the Internet. Some buildings have direct Internet connections in a Family History Center with from one to a few computers. Sometimes these computers can also be accessed for use in teaching situations on Sundays. But often, members who are trying to use their computers in Sunday classes or workshops are frustrated by either the speed of the connections or their unavailability.

Some of the connectivity problems are caused by too many people trying to access a limited number of available WiFi connections. This is a problem that can be reduced by urging members to refrain from using their smartphones and tablets except when absolutely necessary. Most of these devices have the ability to access the online scripture programs and other resources by making them available "offline." But on the other hand, in many local ward building situations, there is adequate "bandwidth" and the number of users could be adequate if the local leaders and their tech support personnel take advantage of the number of WiFi connections that are actually available to be used. I have found a number of instances where local support people were simply unaware that the number of users connections available was being limited by the way the their local WiFi routers were configured.

In addition, some parts of a building may be so far removed from the original WiFi router or source that access is intermittent or lost. This problem can be solved by adding a WiFi Repeater, a small box that amplifies the WiFi signal from the router. These can be located in a closet or some other protected place in the building limited by the availability of an electrical connection. It may take some time, with a smartphone of other WiFi receiving device to determine the best location for one or more repeaters.

If poor reception or lack of WiFi connections exist in your building, you might want to investigate this issue with the Stake or Ward technology people. In one of the buildings where we attended our meetings, it took a number of requests and a number of months to finally get the problem resolved. It turned out that the additional connections has always been available, but the settings in the WiFi router were not enabled to take advantage of the existing additional access.

Recently, the Church, FamilySearch and other related organizations have been adding a significant amount of training material to the online program. However, because of pre-conceived attitudes towards the program, reception for movies is blocked in almost all buildings operated by the Church. The October, 2015 opening session of General Conference was even broadcast on It is true that many of the videos available on are inappropriate for viewing at all, much less in a chapel on Sunday, but the videos are a reflection of the entire spectrum of content available online. It is a significant issue that the videos that are being made available online by the Church and its organizations are not available in the chapels on Sunday because of the blocking issue. It is true that some of the videos may be available on, but there are others that are only available on This is a policy that needs to be reviewed. If content is unavailable because of a issue, then perhaps there should be a Church video website where instructional materials can be uploaded by those creating these types of media instruction.

For example, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah is conducting a series of online webinars. Those webinar recordings could be archived and made available on There may be some other restrictions but the number of family history related videos on is growing daily and it would be useful to have access to these videos for class and individual instruction in the buildings of the Church.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my pet peeves right now so I'm glad you addressed it. I wish FamilySearch YouTube channel would allow Family Tree users to upload family videos there, and then get programmers to write code to Family Tree so that we could upload family videos to living and deceased relatives, either as memories or sources. With the advent of Family Projects where living relatives can share records, making sources for living in a Private setting would be great. Adding videos surely is the future of how we record family events. The way everyone is pulling out smartphones and capturing all kinds of events, is evidence that what I am urging is indeed relevant. And for sure, use of YouTube videos from FamilySearch, the Church, and others in church buildings has just got to get easier. There was a big discussion on this topic on Yammer too.