Tombstone Technology: Passing Information on Generation After Generation

By Scott Sarvay

June 27, 2011 Updated Jun 27, 2011 at 6:02 PM EDT

KENDALLVILLE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Imagine being able to find out everything you need to know about a long lost relative - pictures, video and complete life story - equipped with nothing but a smart phone."

"The possibility that many people can make sure that your story, the story of your life and your contributions and your ancestors, lives on is huge,” says Curt Witcher the Manager of Allen County’s Genealogy Center."

It's called a memory medallion, a small granite disk with an RFID microchip that attaches directly to a tombstone, indefinitely.

Ron Stanley of R& T Monuments in Kendallville says, “It's been tested 30 meters underwater. It's been tested in below zero freezing conditions."

Just use your phone or computer to enter the URL and six-digit code and learn about the deceased person's life, genealogy, pictures, video, and even a map with the grave's location.

Novice Genealogist Rachel Walker says, “It can be confusing sometimes to figure out which relative is yours. There's a lot of them with the same name, so it would be nice to have some clarity sometimes."

Stanley says, “There's space for all kinds of data, and we know it'll only get better. One of the neat things from a consumer point of view is that the price continues to drop." "Headstones or monuments just have a name and a date. Now there is a choice."

"I see in the future, many genealogists and even non-genealogists that just want to leave something of themselves for their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I see it really catching on as something that can live on after you're gone", says Witcher.

But the applications can extend far beyond a cemetery. Imagine them on monuments, landmarks, in museums and at libraries.

Witcher says, "For a very little amount of money, you can put a medallion by a quilt, by a bust or by a display."

But it's doubtful anyone would find it more useful than a family member wanting to see their loved one, one last time.

"Now, we can leave something of ourselves for the people who come after us."

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