Monday, March 16, 2020

PGS: Pinellas Genealogy Society

Online, Virtual Meetings with

All classes for the Pinellas Genealogy Society (PGS) have been cancelled through the end of March. The Federal government recommended this to prevent the spread of the Corona virus. The cancellations may extend through April!

The Board of Directors is learning how to use Zoom video conferencing for our Board meetings. This post is designed to assist them.

This is the first step for the PGS board to offer online classes to PGS members!

No Account Necessary

Members do not need an account from to participate.

Everyone will be sent an invitation via email. The message will contain this information:
    1. The Pinellas GenealogySociety is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
    2. Topic: Virtual Meeting Capabilities
    3. Time: Mar 17, 2020 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
    4. Join Zoom Meeting:
    5. Meeting ID: 529 458 207


    The "https://" will be a click-able link that will open a new tab in your web browser to the zoom website (Any browser is acceptable ~ Chrome, Edge, Safari, etc.)

    Zoom will check to see if you have the zoom application installed. If not, Zoom will install it in 2-3 minutes.

    Finally, Zoom will connect your device to the meeting, and the video conference screen will appear. If you have a camera, you should see what the camera is seeing.

    There are "controls" on the bottom of the screen that you will become familiar with:
    • Mute/Enable Microphone
    • Stop/Start Video
    • Invite (Participants)
    • Manage Participants
    • Share (your screen)
    • Chat
    • Record
    • Leave Meeting
    In the upper right corner of the window are two buttons. One is a toggle that flips between "Gallery" view and "Speaker" view. Try it. The other is a button to enter the Full Screen display.

    Part of the training for the Board of Directors is to try each button to see what it does.


    Best: The preferred setup is a desktop computer with speakers, and a webcam. If the webcam does not have a built-in microphone, then you'll need either an external microphone or a headset. Either apple or windows computers will work. (I actually have a small $10 tripod for my webcam.)

    Best: Another really good option is a laptop computer because it already has a built-in webcam, microphone and speakers! This, too, can be either a windows or an apple laptop. The only challenge is that you may go out of camera range.

    Next best: You can participate without a webcam, but you should still have a microphone and speakers. You can still see everyone else, and you can speak up when you have something to say. It's just that the other participants cannot see you. (That may be a good thing if you are prone to roll your eyes!)

    Acceptable: You can participate without a webcam and microphone. You will still need speakers. The challenge is that when you have something to "say" you'll have to type it into the Chat window. Not difficult. It's just tedious.

    Cell Phone: You can use your cell phone to connect to a zoom meeting! You'll need to download the ZOOM cloud app on your android or apple. The session does use your cell phone camera, microphone, and speaker. The control buttons are more difficult to understand for your first video conference, and there has been some discussion about propping it up while you're online.

    On my business blog, I wrote an article about buying a microphone and/or a webcam. It even has a video!  (
    Here is a link to show what the tripod looks like:

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