Wellington Startup Lets Families Pass Down Ancestry Info

Dear Descendant, a social media ancestry startup company, has created a new approach to traditional ancestry web sites.

Founded in Wellington by sisters Holly Caracappa and Melinda Rockwell, Dear Descendant’s platform allows people to log their family histories privately through voice memos, written family accounts, document storage, photos and more.

Dear Descendant’s simple, intuitive platform design makes logging family history and memories effortless while keeping the database consistent and consolidated. Most important, the social platform is secure and completely private. Only family members who possess the “key” can enter the platform.

Dear Descendant is the first “digital time capsule” of its kind to hit the market, easily allowing family history to be passed down from generation to generation.

While access to Dear Descendant requires an affordable annual membership fee, the ability to preserve important family documents, memories and history in a safe digital environment is priceless.

Although payment of the membership fee is required to access the time vault, a family’s memories remain in the secure database regardless of whether the subscription is renewed. “If, for some reason, a subscriber can’t join one year, or for five or 10 years, their Time Capsule is safely stored and no back money owed, only the fee for the new year’s subscription,” Rockwell explained. “The Precious Memories are there waiting to be retrieved by your Dear Descendants.”

Before the Internet craze over web sites such as Ancesry.com, Holly and Melinda made a hobby of searching for information about their heritage. “At some times, the hobby became obsession, and we would traipse through cemeteries and dusty old courthouses to find proof to join a certain genealogical society. Now, as members of [several] genealogical societies and board members of some, and having done the required research ourselves, we realized that something was needed to facilitate the research for our future descendants,” Rockwell said. “Ancestry sites were helpful for census and certain records, yet much of the histories were inaccurate. We were uncomfortable with strange and very distant relatives sharing the information and having easy access to things that were very difficult and personal to find. We knew we had to do something and put it out there for like-minded people.”

The initial concept came to the sisters on a long car ride to their boarding school, Foxcroft, for its 100th anniversary weekend.

“We have queried many board members of the genealogical societies, clerks of courts, genealogical researchers and historians of all ages,” Rockwell said. “We received an overwhelming response to our idea of a private storage space, where only one’s direct descendants have future access.”

Dear Descendant’s database is not only completely private, but also located in one of the most secure places on Earth. The data is stored at Newtek Web Services, a web company in Arizona, one of the safest places in regard to climate. Advanced security measures within the network facility allow Dear Descendant to guarantee that family memories are safe over the long term.

For more info., visit www.mydeardescendant.com or e-mail Rockwell at melindarockwell@mydeardescendant.com.