Friday, November 25, 2011

Keeping the Memory Alive

Memory Medallion®

Last week I wrote about the life of a dear friend, Hap Fleming.  I wished I could have shared some of Hap’s music and Annis’ singing with you. Then I remembered meeting Glenn Toothman at the Midwest Family Expo in July. I immediately located the information he had given me on his company, Memory Medallion®.  Let me state up front, I am not affiliated with, nor do I receive any compensation for this product.  But I am intrigued by it and can see so much potential for genealogists in helping to share our love of family and ancestors, with each other and the world. Just the idea of being able to share a video of Grandma at a family reunion, or a genealogy conference, is fascinating and fun.

Glenn Toothman
Photo by Rebecca Droth -
Pittsburg Post-Gazette
Glenn Toothman came up with the idea of a way to digitally preserve and share photos, videos and family stories about a decade ago.  Toothman said that his father is the reason. His dad returned from a visit to a local cemetery some years back, frustrated that there was no real way to let others know who these people were, what they had done, how they had lived.  Their lives were represented by nothing more than a dash between the date of birth and death.  His father then challenged him to create a better way to honor and remember those who had passed.  Toothman, who was a county district attorney at the time, accepted the challenge and set to work.

Medallion with QR Code
The results are a medallion about the size of a half-dollar.  It is placed on a cemetery stone, mausoleum, or vault and is created to withstand harsh weather conditions.  Each medallion has a QR code, serial number and access code that allows the purchaser entry to a web site online where they can build a loved one’s story profile to share.  The profile can be made up of photos, videos, music, web links, even friends and family reminiscing about the loved one.  The customer can put the profile together and edit it as often as they choose.  The company offers several video tutorials to assist in creating a memorable story. Family members can also work together to share and create displays, each adding what they have to the profile.  Anyone with a smart phone can read the QR code, similar to a barcode, and view the display in the cemetery.  You can also email the web link to those you want to view it, or post it on your Facebook or Twitter page for anyone to see.

Medallions also come in the form of a heart-shaped silver locket or military-style dog tag that you can wear.

The average Memory Medallion® package runs around $225 and includes the medallion, website location for eight photos and a 1,000 word story and printed biography.  Some models are now under $80.

Memory Medallions are located on Veterans Memorials,  9/11 Monuments and personal graves.  Toothman says that the medallions are also being used to memorialize weddings, anniversaries, births, graduations and special pets.  Also on Alumni Walls, sports walls. For more information, visit their web page at  or on Facebook at

With this being Thanksgiving weekend and families gathered together for a few days, maybe this would be the perfect time to begin to assemble the lifetime story of a loved one or ancestor.  What a special way to remember and celebrate someone’s life.

~ Joy

(All photos not labeled are courtesy of Memory Medallions)