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August 17, 2011

Interview With Hudson Gunn of Legacy Markers

Recently I spoke with Hudson Gunn, creator of Legacy Markers. I published a Press Release about this product a few days ago on my Olive Tree Genealogy blog called "Legacy Markers: Barcoding Your Ancestors?"

I'm very intrigued by the concept and can see ways we genealogists could utilize Legacy Markers in our genealogy pursuit. Basically a Legacy Marker is a barcode plaque which you place on a tombstone. When the barcode is scanned with a smartphone, the viewer is directed to a website with information (a memorial) of that deceased person.

I love this idea. Since Legacy Markers can be linked together online, we genealogists could create family trees simply by creating memorial pages for each ancestor tombstone we can physically visit, then linking them together as one family unit.

Imagine finding your great grandfather's resting place and noticing a barcode plaque affixed to his tombstone. You scan it with your smartphone and bingo, you are taken to a page on the internet which has information and documents you have never seen. Perhaps it has newspaper articles or personal stories. What a great way to share our research with other descendants!

I approached Hudson and asked him a few questions about this innovative product. He very kindly took the time to respond and I think you will find his answers below quite interesting.

1. Please tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea of Legacy Markers

The idea for Legacy came from the passing of my grandmother a month ago to complications from a stroke.  I was wandering the cemetery with my wife and brother before her interment looking at other relatives that were buried close by.  My wife was asking questions about who these people were and I found I was having a hard time remembering how each person was related to my grandmother. I could recall pieces of stories that I remembered from my childhood, but I couldn't remember the details.

My grandfather finally joined us and was able to tell us stories about each relative and how they were related. It bothered me that I couldn't remember those stories and even more knowing that most of those stories will be gone when my grandfather passes away. If I couldn't remember those stories now, how will I remember them 15 years from now as I'm trying to tell me kids about their grandparents?It got me thinking about how to preserve those memories so I could share them with my family.

My brother and I started thinking of ways to incorporate this idea with my other business that specializes in QR barcodes for businesses to use in advertisements.  This led to the idea of placing a plaque on the headstone with a QR barcode that links to a memorial of all of the stories, pictures, and videos we could find about my grandma.  After the incredible response from extended relatives and friends we decided it was something that others could benefit from.  So we put our heads together and created Code_IT Legacy.

2. Does the fee for the Marker include the website space for the memorial or is there an annual fee for archive space?

There is only a one-time fee for your Legacy Marker. It comes with a life-time subscription to the memorial service and unlimited amounts of space. Our biggest objective was to create a one-time cost instead of a monthly subscription. We didn't want to restrict people from viewing their family information just because someone didn't pay their bill.  Legacy is about preserving memories, not about collecting a monthly fee.

3. Can anyone other than the purchaser of the marker change the information in the archive?

When purchasing your Legacy Marker, you will create a password (Alpha or Numeric) that identifies the owner of each marker.  This password is required to add or make changes to the information on each memorial. This will protect the information from being changed by someone who does not have permission.  You may give that password to other family members so they may add their contributions to the memorial.

4. What happens to the uploaded information in each person's archived memorial if your website ever disappears?

Of course we do not foresee a reason to close our website, but if the event does occur we will provide an option for each user to download their memorial to preserve in their own database.

5. What is the estimated lifespan of the barcode marker?

Each marker has been hand crafted from a specially treated stainless steel and etched with a high intensity laser. These techniques were specifically chosen to resist corrosion and weather the elements. Even the programming of each barcode was taken into consideration to make sure that every mobile device could easily scan each code every time.

We are so confident that our markers will last that we guarantee every marker for life!

6. You mention on your website that special glue and cleaning solution come with the barcode marker. Is there any danger that these chemicals might damage tombstones, especially older ones?
 To preserve the integrity of each headstone we do not use a liquid based glue to adhere the marker. Each marker is affixed with a self-sealing adhesive tape from 3m. It is already applied to the marker, so all you have to do it peel the protective tape off the back and adhere it to the memorial.  We found that cleaning the surface with a simple alcohol prep pad (included with every marker) creates a clean surface to adhere to. These materials will not harm your headstone or memorial. Older headstones may be brittle, so caution should be used when placing your Legacy Marker on deteriorating headstones.

7. Is a smooth surface necessary to affix the barcode marker to a stone? I'm wondering about attaching one to a rough or crumbling older stone.

A smooth surface is definitely the best place for your marker. However, they will still affix to rough or deteriorating headstones. Regardless of the headstone, installation is easy enough for anyone to do in less than 2 minutes. Simple instructions are provided with each marker to help with the installation process. If you marker falls off or does not stick, we will provide replacement adhesive to make sure it adheres properly.

8. What happens if a marker is lost, damaged or stolen?

Hopefully this will never happen, but in the event that your Legacy Marker is damaged or stolen, contact us for replacement instructions so we can evaluate your individual needs!

9. I see that you can link Legacy Markers together to form a family chain. This could be very appealing to genealogists who might like to purchase several markers to create a memorial for various ancestors. Will you be offering a "Genealogy Special" or a discount for volume purchases?

Yes, we offer discounted rates for multiple purchases! Right now we have a special going on that gives new users a life-time subscription and one Legacy Marker for only $49. If you would purchase multiple markers they are $45 for 2 or $39 for 4. Contact us for multiple orders! If you have special needs or want higher quanties, contact us so we can meet any needs you may have!

10. Is there anything else you wish to tell us about Legacy Markers?

Each Memorial can be accessed from any computer in the world.  We provide a Legacy Marker to affix to a headstone or memorial to allow visitors a direct link to this information with their mobile device.

We know that technology will change. As this technology changes, so will we. It's our highest priority to make sure your information is safe and easy to access no matter what technology is prevalent.

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