Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Search Cemetery Records in Billion Graves Index

This week's Tuesday's Tip is:  Use the Billion Graves (www.billiongraves.com) website to find cemetery records and photographs.

The Billion Graves website says:

"We aim to provide an expansive family history database for records and images from the world’s cemeteries, all tagged with GPS locations. Our database is growing every day. We are gathering headstones from new countries all the time. Our goal is to collect one billion graves, and we can do it with your help."


"Help us make family history more accessible to everyone. Take the BillionGraves.com iPhone/Android app with you when you go to your local cemetery and contribute to the grave image database. Even if you don’t have the gadgets required to collect images for BillionGraves, you can still help build the database by transcribing the images so anyone, anywhere, can find ancestors’ graves while in their own home."

The web page for Billion Graves has a basic search box.  I put "Seaver" in the Last Name field and received 185 matches (but only 23 were "exact"):

Clicking on one of the entries reveals the information available for that person.  The screen below shows the search results and the gravestone for the person (on the "Image" tab):

The "Map" tab shows the satellite view of the cemetery and the location of the gravestone (from the GPS data on the camera):

The Billion Graves website does not list how many records have been uploaded and are searchable to date. However, the searchable Billion Graves Index database on FamilySearch.org has over 980,000 entries, with links to the image and map on the Billion Graves website.  It showed only 14 "exact" matches for "Seaver," so the indexed entries on FamilySearch.org lags the website (which is to be expected).

While the Billion Graves site does not have nearly the number of entries as the more established Find-a-Grave website (www.findagrave.com), it certainly has come a long way in a short time.  The lofty goal of a billion graves does not seem far-fetched, although it may take decades to achieve.  The mobile app makes it very easy to add content to the site.

If you want to contribute gravestone photographs to the website using your smart phone or tablet camera, you can register at the site and download the app for your Apple or Android device.  Then it's a matter of going to the cemetery, using the app and uploading the photos to the site.  Billlion Graves users will ltranscribe the records and the images and information will appear on the Billion Graves website.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/05/tuesdays-tips-search-cemetery-records.html

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Jacqi Stevens said...

Randy, you and I are on the same wavelength. I just did a blog post on BillionGraves for today, too--but I came at it from a different angle: that of uploading the photos. While BillionGraves is certainly not the first to capitalize on the crowdsourcing idea, I think they have a great concept.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tip! I have never used BillionGraves. I am pretty loyal to Find-a-Grave, but I will definitely check out BillionGraves too. :)

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