Wednesday, July 29, 2020

COVID 19 Concerns at your local Family History Center?

UPDATE:  During the summer of 2021, FamilySearch did a security upgrade to the FHC portal.  This changed the URL to  If for some reason this URL does not work for you, get the correct URL for the FHC you are at by looking for it on one of the center's computers.  Remember, all you are doing is accessing FamilySearch from within the FHC WiFi.  The functionality is identical to using one of the center's computers.  

My local Family History Center (FHC) reopened on the 7th of July 2020, after being closed for several months.  COVID 19 had the Placerville, California building closed for months.

Now that we are open again, new safety guidelines are in place.  Social distancing, face masks, and surface cleaning are the new norm.  There are nine computer workstations, but with the six feet of social distancing in place, only four stations can be used.  And these are public computers, used by any number of people throughout the week.  Sure, the volunteer staff clean everything well - before and after each patron - but they are still public.

The good news is there is an option.  I asked around and tested this myself.  The FamilySearch portal can be accessed from within the building with your own computer.  As long as your laptop computer has WiFi, and most do, there are two steps needed to enable your own computer to reach the FamilySearch portal.

First, from within the FHC, login to the FHC WiFi.  If you need help with this, ask one of the friendly volunteers.  Second, direct your web browser to .

Now you are signed on to the same portal as the public computers and have the same functionality.  Any FamilySearch digital film that is locked from viewing elsewhere can now be viewed.  Remember this only works while your computer is connected to the FHC WiFi.

Bring your own computer to the FHC, get your family history research done, and help keep everyone safe with social distancing.  You'll also be opening up a public computer for someone else.