Friday, 10 February 2012

QR Codes for Genealogy Societies

I was at a meeting at the Branch on Wednesday night and someone mentioned a cemetery that has QR codes on some of the headstones. That got me to thinking.
QR codes are a relatively new phenomenon in North America. They have been around in Japan for quite some time. It has taken longer for the Western World to catch on. But then, some of us still don't really understand Barcodes either.
QR stands for Quick Response. Simple enough. The QR looks like this

You've seen them, right? And really didn't understand them, so walked away. Fair enough. But for those with Smartphones, this is a great way to get quick access to information. All of the smartphones (Android, Apple, Blackberry) have free apps for scanning and reading QR codes. Check your app store or marketplace. Once the app is downloaded, you open the app, and it automatically opens your phone or tablet's camera. You hold the camera over the QR code and you are provided with more information. It may be a website link, a YouTube video, a photograph or a text document. A whole library of possibilities right in the palm of your hand.

For instance, you may see a QR code on a restaurant door. Scan it and you find out the opening hours, menu, or whatever else the owner wants you to know. Think of the possibilities for Genealogy Societies.

Two common concerns for local genealogy societies is a.) getting people to come in to see what is available and b.) selling their publications. So, why not use QR codes to help make that happen?

Here's how it works. Generate a QR code ( Have the QR code take the consumer to your website, your publications listings, or your shop. Then place the QR code where it will be seen and where someone who sees it will want to know more.

Here's an example. Your branch volunteers have spent HOURS combing cemeteries. A group or committee has transcribed the Monumental Inscriptions. You may have a book with corresponding obits or a CD with the inscriptions and photos of the grave markers. Generate a QR code that will provide a link to your Societies publication listings, or shop. Place the code on a corresponding headstone. When a family history addict goes to find aunt Martha's headstone, she can not only take a photo for herself, but she can scan the QR code and learn where she can find a copy of the Obit for aunt Martha as well. Once she finds your website, she will get an idea of what other resources are available. Maybe aunt Martha's marriage announcement or aunt Martha in the census records. This could generate more sales, a query or two or even a visit to the Society!

Technology is an amazing thing. Finding ways to make the technology work for our local Genealogy Societies is even more amazing.

What are you waiting for?? Start generating!!


  1. HUMMMMMM!!! Now you got me thinking.

    Steve Fulton

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.