Inscribing information on a gravestone is one of the oldest ways we have of recording history.
Take a walk through any cemetery and it’s possible to see a family’s ancestry before you.
There’s something quite moving about being able to chart the progress of the different generations, as the passing of time gets marked with a new name and a fresh set of dates etched in the stone.
It seems unlikely that we’ll ever lose interest in finding out about the lives of others and nor should we – but the way we go about getting that information is shifting all the time.
Some people will find Darren Somerville’s proposal to put modern mobile phone barcodes on gravestones unusual to say the least.
There will be those who don’t like the idea of using these QR codes at all.
But the way we use social networking and technology already means that how we remember our loved ones has changed. We know some people will therefore welcome the chance to provide others with more information about a family member.
Crucially, the QR codes won’t replace traditional inscriptions. If a family wants to add one of these codes they’ll be able to have it put in a discreet place alongside their chosen words.
Those who have the right technology at their fingertips will then be able to scan the code and bring up additional information about that person on a website.
One of the obvious benefits is that there are only so many words you can fit on a headstone.
A QR code will at least give a family the chance to tell others a little more about the person they have loved and lost.
And the fact that the Somervilles will make sure their clients can choose to have a password-protected QR code fitted also means there’s a chance for the family to control who has access to what might very well be personal information.
This kind of progress seems inevitable and surely the fact it might bring comfort to some during their time of grief can’t be a bad thing.