What is eCapsule

The Paradox

We spend hours and billions researching our ancestors but give little thought to documenting our lives for the benefit of descendants. Case in point, Ancestry.com was purchased by the Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, in 2020 for approximately $4.7 billion (Blackstone.com/news). Yet no company is known to have invested in a product to preserve your life story as captured in personal documents, photos, and videos.

Of course, it will be easier to research ancestry in the future because documents are now digitized and more numerous. However, unless one is famous, these sources usually provide only basic information requiring someone to put the pieces together and guess the many missing details—just as ancestry research is done today.

Further, while we all have hundreds of photographs and videos, digital media is fragile.Our memory chips only last a generation; photography stored in the cloud will be erased when the payments end. One company, FOREVER, commits to storing photos for 150 years, which is particularly good, but storing documents and videos is not user friendly, restricted to certain formats, organized as albums, and not easily searchable.

I have a shoebox of my great grandparent’s photos. These photos may be more survivable than the hundreds of digital photos on my camera, computer, and cloud account.
We can forgive our ancestors for failing to write and preserve their life stories. They had neither the tools nor the time. But today, with little effort, we can. Start your eCapsule and populate it with your documents, photos, and a few videos!

Physical and Electronic Time Capsules

A time capsule is a container holding historical records or objects representative of current culture that is deposited for preservation until discovery by some future age. (Merriam-Webster).

I like time capsules. I purchased a Jasni stainless steel container and will fill it with my favorite memorabilia. Ten to twenty small items should fit including photos, a few papers, and mementos. I will probably ask that it be opened on my 100th birthday, the same day I would like my electronic time capsule released.

The Jasni Time Capsule Stainless Steel Waterproof Container£ ̈13.4 Inch£©.

Today we have another time capsule option—the digital version. While physical items cannot be stored in it, the electronic capsule or eCapsule has other significant advantages.


Occupying up to one gigabyte (GB), it can preserve hundreds of documents, photos, and a few videos. Whereas the physical capsule is opened just once, the eCapsule can be opened by each generation.

  • eCapsule: one gigabyte–hundreds of documents, photos, and a few videos.
  • A life story saved forever for 25 cents a year.

The digital age has introduced a new type of time capsule—the digital version. It can preserve detailed life stories for the benefit of future family members.

Typical Capsule Maker

is interested in taking stock of their life experiences and beliefs

is retired , especially recently

finds their own ancestry interesting and important

wants to do something meaningful in retirement

enjoys writing and collecting information

has children, grandchildren, or perhaps even great grandchildren

is comfortable with computers and scanners

Options for Preserving Your eCapsule.

You have populated your eCapsule with documents, captioned photos, and a few videos. Now ensure its survivability.

Make sure you title the folder as Name, Birth Date and State. My capsule is Clay John Leslie 11-26-1948 UT. This exact format is important so it can easily be found in an internet search.

I recommend you preserve your capsule in three ways:

First, include your capsule folder in a prominent place on your personal computer or computers. Tell your trusted relatives and friends where to look for it.

Second, consider downloading your capsule onto one or more jump drives or other mobile memory devices and provide these to trusted family members or friends.
However, the best existing option is to store your capsule with a cloud provider like Google Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, or similar. I have given my cloud account credentials to my two daughters and asked them not to open the capsule until my 100th birthday.

Unfortunately, no company currently offers to preserve life stories in the manner envisioned by eCapsule. It costs less than twenty five cents a year to store one GB, so such a service is likely profitable. My priority is to find a company willing to maintain a library of eCapsules, accessible to descendants and other interested parties, for at least three generations. However, I need your help!

Protecting Your eCapsule Information

Capsule security and privacy are important. Documents that help tell your life story will likely contain information you do not want in the public until your release date. I chose my 100th birthday for my capsule release. Thereafter, I hope my story will be available to anyone with an interest. After all, life stories are to be shared.

See the tab, Preserving Your eCapsule for a discussion of the methods for ensuring your capsule survives for at least three generations (~100 years). Perhaps you will depend on trusted family members or friends to maintain it until your release date. Emphasize the importance of keeping your capsule unopened and safe until then.


Hopefully, a company or institution will soon offer to store eCapsules for a modest fee.Part of the offering must be the strong commitment and security procedures to protect capsule contents until the release date. Just as we do with sensitive financial and other transactions, uploading and downloading capsules must be carefully controlled with procedures such as two method authentications.

In short, an eCapsule is to be protected until the release date. Thereafter, make your story available to everyone!