April showers bring May flowers, setting a perfect stage for our Million More in May promotion! During the month of May, we want all of our users to go out and take thousands of photos in their local cemeteries. Together with friends and family, we can all try to reach one million new records in one month!
This has been an amazing first year for BillionGraves. The number of records is growing exponentially—let’s work together to keep growing our database. During the month of May, with volunteers around the world contributing, we can add one million new records to BillionGraves.
We can definitely reach this goal: let’s look at the numbers. If two thousand users take 500 pictures each, we’ll be at 1,000,000 new images this month. But won’t it take a long time for one person to take 500 pictures? Nope! A beginning picture taker will be able to document 500 images in 2 hours or less. Two hours! Imagine how many records would be recorded in just two hours each weekend in May. And once we all work together to transcribe these images, we’ll have our 1 Million records in May added to our database, searchable all over the world.
If you are one of the most stellar picture-takers or transcribers during this promotion, you’ll be publicly recognized on our Leaderboard on the BillionGraves website. You’ll be famous at BillionGraves.com, and you’ll motivate others to continue adding new images and transcribing records. At the end of the month, the top 25 photographers and the top 25 transcribers will be rewarded with their choice of a free BillionGraves t-shirt or one year of our BillionGraves Plus Account! [Updated!]
We want to remind you about the value of the BillionGraves database. The information we have gathered and are currently gathering is not available anywhere else. Volunteers are documenting entire cemeteries, providing exact locations for cemeteries and even specific headstones within that cemetery. Then, when you search for your ancestor, you have the ability to see all the headstones in the vicinity—many connections can be discovered by locating relatives buried nearby the one you searched for. We know this information is priceless, and that’s why BillionGraves exists. So, when we all contribute new records, we all benefit from the information collected.
We are holding our Million More in May promotion for several reasons:
- Because the goal of the entire BillionGraves project is to help people throughout the world connect with their ancestors, no matter where they are buried.
- We want more people to learn about and participate in BillionGraves.
- We want to commemorate Memorial Day in the US (May 28) by making more pictures and records accessible to people all over the world.
But don’t wait till Memorial Day to start taking your pictures! Get started early in May so we can be sure we’ll reach our goal by the end of the month. In addition, headstones will be adorned with beautiful arrangements and decorations for Memorial Day—not ideal picture-taking circumstances.
We’ll be communicating with you registered users regularly via email during the month of May to give you tips, suggestions, and motivation to reach our goal. And in future blog posts, we’ll tell you how to get friends involved, how to create a Facebook event to meet at a cemetery, etc. Keep visiting the blog and checking your email to see how you can help us reach a Million More in May!
Today we want to highlight an experience shared by Geniaus, a great Australian genealogy blogger. She shared her experience with BillionGraves on her blog recently, and she is so gracious as to let us share that post with you!
On our recent trip we travelled back to Sydney via a few towns where some ancestors buried.
One of the cemeteries I had previously visited in Cobar many years ago but the images I had taken of my grandparents’ headstones were poor quality. I wanted to rephotograph these and also look for other family resting spots. The two other cemeteries where I managed to find some family graves, in Broken Hill and Forbes, were new to me.
Locating the graves in each of these sites wasn’t particularly easy. In Cobar and Forbes there was no resource available to pinpoint the graves’ exact location; the map of Broken Hill Cemetery that was available by the Cemetery gate was quite confusing even for Mr Geniaus who is not spatially challenged like me.
|Ben Hall the Bushranger – Forbes Cemetery|
In order to make it easy for cousins who may be seeking these graves in the future I added each of them to Billiongraves. The GPS coordinates that Billiongraves attaches to these images will make finding them in the future much easier for those who make use of the Billiongraves site or app.
As we were on a tight time schedule I could not commit myself to photographing all of the graves in each of these cemeteries. I did, however, take and upload a few rows of headstones around the graves I was visiting in Cobar and Broken Hill.
In less than half an hour I was able to photograph over 100 images in Cobar cemetery. These are now available on Billiongraves site; those who wish to visit these graves can use the GPS coordinates to locate them efficiently.
How about joining and downloading the Billiongraves app to your Android or other device so that you can contribute to the database when you find yourself (above ground) in a cemetery. While in a cemetery take some time to photograph a row or two of graves. This is a painless and enjoyable way of helping others connect with their ancestors.
Thanks for being part of the BillionGraves effort, Geniaus! Go check out her blog to get some great advice on your genealogy work. And use her experience as motivation to take more pictures. After all, we all benefit from this volunteer effort.
There’s a new BillionGraves Android update available on Google Play. With this update, in-app purchases are GONE. You can perform Mobile Records Searches for free from your phone or tablet. Get the update, and then go to the Records section in your app and try it out if you haven’t already.
Other features in this new update:
- Favorites: You can save your favorite headstone images on your phone so you can access them quickly and regularly.
- Nearby Headstones: See what headstones are in your proximity.
- Cemeteries Visited: From your Dashboard in the app, you can see a list of all the cemeteries you’ve visited.
Go get the update today!
Did you notice the rewards program for transcribers on the BillionGraves website? Go check it out if you haven’t!
In addition to the rewards you can earn by uploading pictures of your local cemetery, you can also earn rewards by transcribing images for our database. For the first 500 images you transcribe, you’ll earn one Record Watch. After you transcribe 1000 images, you’ll earn one Record Watch for every subsequent thousand images you transcribe.
Did you forget what Record Watches are? A Record Watch means you’ve submitted a specific surname you’d like to monitor at BillionGraves. Whenever a headstone with your specified surname is transcribed, you are notified via email. With these notifications, you’ll know right when the latest data on your family history becomes available.
BillionGraves keeps track of your transcriptions in several places—on the dashboard, you can already see how many records you’ve transcribed.
In the transcription view or on the Upgrade page, you’ll see how many records you still need to transcribe to earn your next Record Watch.
Once you earn your Record Watch, visit the Create Record Watch page to create it. Let us know if you have any questions.
Thanks again to all of our volunteers—image uploaders and transcribers alike—we couldn’t do it without you! Start transcribing more images so you can earn your Record Watch!
An index for the 1940 census does not yet exist, but FamilySearch is providing a way for volunteers to index the census so that it can be searchable and available to the public. The indexing project will greatly improve your ability to research the wealth of information included in the census, so to expedite the indexing process, you can join the volunteer effort! Visit the FamilySearch website to get started. You can also sign up on the 1940 Census website.
When you need a break from indexing the Census, head out to your local cemetery for some fresh air and snap some pictures while you’re there! It’s always exciting to have access to new research like the 1940 Census, and when you document a cemetery for the BillionGraves database, you are providing new and valuable research for people all over the world.
Besides the obvious excitement of gaining access to new family history research, the hubbub surrounding the release of the 1940 census is the fact that there are many people alive today who are actually included on it. Babies born in 1940 are only in their early 70s now, and their parents could still be alive as well. When you study the census, you’ll be able to make important family connections as well as find occupations, immigration data, and locations for your own relatives.
You can access the 1940 Census at these sites: