Capturing the Roots of Your Family Tree

It’s 2016 and I’m out with friends after work. We’re a few drinks in, and like all great sessions the conversation drifted from philosophy to technology, some politics (rarely any solutions), but mostly a ton of laughter. One topic in particular stuck with me though, and it was all about the future.

For some context, we were arguing about technology’s impact on society and what the world might look like in 100, 200, 500 years. Would we even recognize humanity? Would our descendants even be considered human? If we’re all augmented with hard drives…that’s not a Homo Sapien anymore, is it? Are our kids one day going to be considered a different species?

But from there the topic drifted a bit, steering away from our future and back towards our past. What was life like 100, 200, 500 years ago? Did our ancestors also sit around a bar imagining life in 2020? What would remain if we got rid of all the modern trappings and social media and screens everywhere you look today – what would we even still have in common with them?   

The thoughts persisted after that gathering, and I kept pulling on the thread for months and years to come. Will our great, great, great grandchildren, living in a world where every fabric is digital, wonder what’s really real? Will they know (or care) what humanity is? What it was? Who we were?

And today…I still wish we could have a better look back into our past. It strikes me that our generation has a historically unique quality. One that hasn’t come before, and is unlikely to ever come again: We’re the roots of our family tree.  

We’re the first generation since the beginning of humanity that has been thoroughly and completely documented. Our voices, our photographs, our videos, our whole lives are being preserved in a manner and with a consistency that’s unparalleled in history. 500 years in the future, when someone does look back at their family tree, you will be the genesis, the person they’ll point to as the matriarch or patriarch of their modern understanding of family. So, what to say? 😳

I’m writing this while looking at my 2-year-old. He’s on the couch eating “tater-tops” watching a Christmas cartoon. What I do know is that there are certain things about our family that I want to pass down to him. And it’s not the stuff on Facebook and Instagram…truthfully, it’s not really intended for social consumption at all. It’s family stuff. Are they groundbreaking philosophies or revelations? No. But they’re real moments and feelings. They’re his funny quotes, the places we like to go and things we love to do. All the moments that are most meaningful to who we are and who he’ll become. Special moments in our history captured in videos, photographs and words that will hopefully stand the test of time.

Qwill is releasing our first version of Capture this month. It’s a big part of how we look at estate planning in a different light. It’s not just about securing your family’s future from a legal and financial standpoint, it’s about capturing the beauty of your story for generations to come. Money and property are reasons to get started (and a big part of Qwill), but for most, family is much more about the shared memories.

To that end, and to provide a sense for how I use it, I wanted to share a couple of my simple Qwill Captures for you all. The whole Qwill team wishes everyone a wonderful holiday, and here’s to hoping that someone in your family gets a glance at your thoughts in 500 years :-).

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