July 19, 2017

How to Conduct or Attend a Virtual Funeral

A virtual funeral, is that a real thing? Absolutely. Broadcasting a live service online is an innovative way for families to come together when time and distance keep them apart.

Virtual funeral

I recently received an email marked URGENT. A long time Genealogy Gems Podcast listener and Premium Member needed help ensuring that her close relatives on the other side of the world could ‘virtually attend’ her brother’s burial service. She wrote:

“This Wednesday my brother is being buried and a service is being held at the crematorium. I have a brother and family who are in Chicago. With your wide experience, what do you consider the best app to use on my iPad or iPhone so that my family in Chicago can see and hear it.”

I was indeed sad to hear of her loss, but happy that she felt she could turn to me. I have two suggestions that might make this virtual funeral possible.

Facetime for the Virtual Funeral

One of the easiest ways to accomplish a virtual funeral is if both parties have Apple mobile devices, then you could use Facetime.

Facetime is a video chat app that comes installed on your Apple devices. You will use Facetime to ‘call’ the family privately at a designated time using either a phone number or email address, depending on the type of device you are calling. The app allows you to share the burial or funeral service with your family members anywhere in the world.

The really nice thing about Facetime is that you can see them and they can see you making this as interactive as it can be.

Android Users: Click here to read 5 Best Alternatives to Facetime for Android on Geek.com.

Periscope App for the Virtual Funeral

periscope iconAvailable on both Android and Apple, the free Periscope is my go-to app for live broadcasting here at Genealogy Gems. (At the end of this article, you can watch a video of one of my classes that was live-streamed using Periscope.) Using the Periscope app would be a great solution for privately broadcasting the virtual funeral.

Start by downloading the free app from the App Store (Apple) or Google Play (Android.) If you decide to use it on your iPad rather than your iPhone, select the “iPhone” filter from the menu. Even though the app was built for iPhone, it will work on your iPad. (Periscope requires iOS 8.1 or later and is also compatible with the iPod touch.)

Sign-in with a free Twitter account or your phone number. Then, add each other as friends. Each person needs to install the app on their device.

Start a “Broadcast,” but before you click the “Start Broadcast” button that pops up, tap the lock icon. From there, you can select your “Friends” (your brother and his family in Chicago) and start a “Private Broadcast.” The Periscope app will also record the broadcast to your phone so you’ll have a video of it. Your video can be saved for a future viewing or as part of your family history.

Sharing Special Moments

Sharing special moments using new apps and technology is one of the advantages of living in today’s modern world. Even when distance keeps you apart, you and your family can lean on each other during hard times or cheer each other on in happy times. I would love to hear from you. How have you shared your special moments with family far away? Leave a comment below.

Genealogy Gems: your home for learning about the best genealogy apps! 

My book Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research will teach you about top apps (most of them free!) for all those important genealmobile genealogy bookogy tasks we do on-the-go: note-taking, file storage and management, photos, reading, collaborating and communicating, genealogy website apps and more. You’ll find recommendations for both Apple and Android device users. Click here for more information on the book, and then head to this page to watch my free video class Mobile Genealogy Tips and Tricks which we live streamed from a recent conference using Periscope!