What started with a discovery of grandma’s old letters ended with a $25,000 prize for the People’s Choice winners at the 2017 RootsTech Innovators Showdown. For cousins Kimball Clark and Cathy Gilmore, the award represents a heartfelt validation that Kindex®—web software that enables families to archive and index their family records together—is needed by families everywhere.

“This Award is an honor,”  Kimball said. “We’ve built something entirely new and innovative that solves a real problem almost every family has: ensuring their precious records can be preserved, shared, and found for generations.” Paul Brooks, CEO of Twile and winners of the same award in 2016, agrees. “In the end, People’s Choice is the award that counts,” he said. In a year that saw customer growth, new product offerings, and a partnership with FindMyPast, Twile has proven its staying power. Kindex expects to be no different.

As self-described record hoarders, Cathy and Kimball share an ambitious goal. “Our mission is to rescue the most at-risk, under-utilized resource in family history: the records in your own home,” said Cathy. Her interest in family history began when she discovered a box of letters written by her Grandma Dorothy Smith Clark. “I thought I knew my grandma,” she said, “but after reading her letters, I saw her in a new light and I wanted to share that with everyone.” That desire to share family records grew into what is now Kindex—indexing software that enables families to “search every word” of their family records. “Letters, journals, video and audio—these personal records have gone largely underutilized by historians and families. It’s time we change that,” said Kimball.

“This is a family business in every way,” Kimball continued. “The more we read our grandma’s records, the more we discovered she had the very same vision—to share family history with everyone. But she lived with limited technology, so we are carrying on her vision in a new way.” Many of Cathy and Kimball’s family members are already catching on. Using Kindex to transcribe and search their own family’s personal records has fostered family unity and provided an easy, inviting gateway to for their family to connect with their ancestors on a more personal level—by reading and searching records written in their own words.

After adding nearly 400 users at RootsTech, Kimball and Cathy are back at work overseeing the development of their collaborative archives and other upcoming features for their almost 800 users. They are also busy with the services arm of Kindex, giving families hands-on help organizing and digitizing their family records. Kindex’s “Record Rescue” service include digitization services and record-gathering events for families. “Gathering and digitizing records is a huge bottleneck for many families,” Cathy said. “These services help families take a huge step forward in getting their records digitized and on a collaborative family archive. On-site scanning events at family reunions are especially successful in unifying records that are scattered among various households.

To learn more about how Kindex can help you rescue your family records, visit kindex.org and sign up for a free archive.

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