Monday, October 20, 2014

Billion Graves Cemetery Maps and Gravesite Transcriptions

I have not explored the Billion Graves website at all over the past few years.  At this time, there are about 10 million gravesite photographs.  I want to look deeper at the site.  Most features on the site are free, but there is a subscription component, called BG Plus, also.

Billion Graves permits volunteer photographers to use the free Billion Graves mobile app for iOS and Android units to take a photograph of a gravesite or gravestone, and the app uploads the photograph, along with the GPS coordinate of the grave, to Billion Graves servers.  Once the photo is on the website, then volunteers can transcribe the photographs.  The transcription information, and the photograph and GPS location, are then available to search on the Billion Graves website and on the FamilySearch website (  FamilySearch updates the collection on a regular basis.

1)  Here is the top of the Billion Graves home page after I signed in with my credentials:

On the "Dashboard" view above, you can see that it knows my location, and tabulates the number of photos I have uploaded, number of transcriptions, number of cemeteries visited, and number of cemeteries added.  There is a "Request Board" in the left-hand column for gravesite photos near my location.  The right-hand area provides "Billion Graves Activity" for recent additions to the collection.

There are menu links at the top of the page for "Search," "Blog," "Store," "Get Started" and "Community."

The tabs are "Dashboard," "Photos," "Tools," "Transcribe," "Notifications" and "BG Plus."

2)  In the "Tools" tab, I clicked on "Cemetery Map:"

The map for the San Diego area, centered on my location, opened, and I could see the location of the  cemetery sites that have gravesite entries, color coded for number of entries:

I can zoom into an area on the map using the zoom bar at the top left, or with my mouse scroll wheel.

Here is the map of Glen Abbey Memorial Park in Bonita, California, which is the closest cemetery to my location:

The color coding is in the lower left-hand corner of the screen:

*  Purple for a cemetery with 1000+ BillionGraves images.
*  Yellow for a cemetery with BillionGraves images.
*  Green for a cemetery with less than 20 BillionGraves images.
*  Blue for a cemetery without BillionGraves images.

3)  To transcribe an image, I clicked on the "Transcribe" tab (which has 923,367 images waiting for me and others to transcribe them!), and it opened for gravesite in Glen Abbey Memorial Park in Bonita.  I guess it choose the cemetery nearest the user to transcribe entries.

There is a photograph for the gravesite, and fields to enter information on the "Buried Here" tab.  The fields shown are Prefix, Given Names, Family Names, Birth month-day-year, and Death month-day-year.

There is an "Advanced Options" link, which adds fields for Maiden Name, Marriage date, Suffix, and Age-at-death.

There are links to Add military specific info, Show/hide Hebrew dates, and Others not buried here.

The icons on the Cemetery name line are for "New Individual Buried here" (e.g., if more than one person is on a gravestone) and "Add Epitaph/Notes."

I added the name, birth date, death date, military information and epitaph/notes to the form, as shown below:

Before I could Save the transcription, I clicked on the "thumbs up"  icon at the top of the photograph to indicate that the photo quality was good.

When I was finished, I clicked on the green check mark at the top right of the form.  That showed the transcribed information in a form:

If I wanted to transcribe another gravesite, I can click on the dark blue right-arrow at the top right of the screen above.

That was pretty easy, but the icons and some links to add information are not particularly noticeable for new users.  Once you've done some transcriptions, the process gets easier.

I will explore more features, including the BG Plus features, in future blog posts.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Finn said...

Randy, Welcome to BillionGraves! I have been a user since the beginning. I know you will discover many of the features as you do your excellent work of discovery. If you have taken the pictures, on the Photos tab you will find "My Photos" that will let you see the pictures you have taken and also give the opportunity to transcribe them before others have a chance. That way you won't have to wait in the queue for transcription. When you are doing transcription the system checks for matches on FS Family Tree and you are given the option to attach the image as a source. Likewise if you go to the "Tools" tab and then FamilySearch you will be given the opportunity to attach already transcribed records to FamilySearch. Newly transcribed records will be added to FamilySearch about monthly. Then they are searchable there like other historical records.