We had a record-breaking weekend this Memorial Day weekend, and we are so appreciative of everyone’s efforts. Some of you noticed that services were down for a period yesterday—one of our servers was acting up because of the huge amounts of traffic to our site and huge numbers of photo uploads this weekend. The problem was resolved within a few hours. If you had any problems uploading photos or transcribing images, try again today and everything should be working fine.
Are you on the Leaderboard?
You only have a few days left to take action to guarantee your spot on the Leaderboard. Don’t forget that now the top 50 transcribers and the top 50 picture-takers get prizes for being on the Leaderboard at the end of the month. We’ve updated the Leaderboard for the month to show what category you’re in and what prize you will receive if you maintain your spot. The prizes are pretty awesome, including a year’s subscription to BG+, BillionGraves t-shirts, and Record Watches. If you’re not on the Leaderboard yet, check your suggested goal on that page to see what it would take to get there. You may only need a few more photos or transcriptions to be in the top 50!
May is ending on Thursday, and your last chance to get photos uploaded or images transcribed is Thursday, May 31 at 11:59 PM GMT (7:59 PM EDT). That’s just a few days away!
Happy Memorial Day weekend to those in the US! At a time when we pause to remember those who fought for our freedom, we visit our cemeteries and show our love with tokens and kind words. In honor of Memorial Day, some members of the BillionGraves team put together a fun video about finding your ancestors’ headstones using BillionGraves.
You may have seen the good news: the BillionGraves Index is now available through FamilySearch! Now when you conduct a search on FamilySearch, BillionGraves data will be included in the results. You can also choose to search through just the BillionGraves Index, if you want to narrow your results. BillionGraves is a great genealogical resource, and we’re excited to have this new avenue to access our GPS-encoded headstone data. FamilySearch also provided a great article about getting started with BillionGraves on their blog last week.
A Few Clarifications
We’ve been checking the comments on some message boards and we want to clarify two things:
1. The data on BillionGraves is created by the public. We respect that and we intend to always make the database free for the public to use.
2. You don’t necessarily need a data plan to use BillionGraves. We’ve looked into the $150 Samsung Galaxy Player, which has GPS, WiFi, and a camera, and it works great. You won’t be able to see that you’re in a specific cemetery, but don’t worry, we’ll take care of that on our end, and your pictures will be added to the correct cemetery.
Don’t forget to check the Leaderboard this weekend to see what you need to do to get on it! (Or stay on it, if you’re already there.) Have a great weekend and keep adding photos for Million More in May!
Many people have been asking us lately why they can’t submit photos taken with traditional cameras to the BillionGraves database. The BillionGraves database is unique in that it contains GPS information.
By adding GPS data to each headstone image, cemetery and location data is attached to the image. This means that when you are researching your ancestors, you’ll be able to search for the transcribed headstone, see an image of that headstone, find out where in the world that headstone is located, and learn more about the cemetery it was found in. This wealth of information will make a big difference in your research.
GPS Makes Visiting the Cemetery Easier
Along the same vein, the GPS data allows you to visit a cemetery in person and walk directly to the headstone you want to view in the cemetery. The free Mobile Records Search on your iPhone or Android device is handy for finding the headstone you’re looking for. So if it’s your first time in a particular cemetery, you’ll be able to find that headstone in no time. And if you’ve been to that cemetery dozens of times? No more counting trees, memorizing certain fence posts, or documenting the number of paces to find your loved one.
You Can Find Other Relatives Buried in the Same Cemetery
Another advantage of keeping the GPS information with the headstone images is that it allows you to see all other headstones located in that cemetery. How great is it that you can see direct neighbors of the headstone you’re researching? This is a huge help in making valuable family history connections. You’ll be able to find relatives you didn’t know existed.
Not all GPS’s are Created Equal
What about cameras with GPS data in them? We’ve looked into using those photos, and the GPS is neither accurate nor reliable enough to use in our database. With our phone app, we can verify that users are in a cemetery, and because of this, information about cemeteries and locations is standardized in our database. So, at this time, we aren’t accepting photos from cameras, even if they have GPS.
You Can Still Add Additional Photos to BillionGraves Records
What if you have a photo of a headstone for a record that already exists? You can add that photo to the record! From the History tab on any Records View, you can add both personal histories and any additional photos of the person or the headstone. These photos do not have to be GPS encoded, since they are tied to the BillionGraves record with the GPS encoded headstone photo. This is a great way to create a robust record for your ancestors.
Thanks for your participation in BillionGraves! If you have additional questions, contact support.
We’re halfway through the month! Right now, we have over 100,000 images that need to be transcribed. Because many headstones have multiple individuals’ records on them, those 100,000 images could translate to 150,000 or 200,000 new records for our database. Transcribing these records will bring us so much closer to our goal!
Thanks for all the transcriptions you’ve done so far. For all you super-transcribers, check out our transcribing shortcuts to help you get through even more records faster.
Many people are interested in completing transcriptions for the photos they upload—did you know you can do that? Here’s how:
From your dashboard on BillionGraves.com, click on Images Uploaded. Click on one of the albums containing your photos (these are usually grouped by date). Then click on a photo you want to transcribe. Clicking next at the top of the page will take you to the next image in that album, so you can easily continue to transcribe all of the photos in your album. For a more detailed description, read our blog post on the subject.
What if a headstone was transcribed incorrectly? That’s OK. You can edit transcriptions and make improvements to them. From any headstone’s Record View, there is a blue button that says Edit on the right next to the name on the record. If you click Edit, you can make any changes you’d like to the record.
We are so grateful for everyone’s volunteer efforts here at BillionGraves. Keep up the good work! Just under two weeks left to reach our goal of 1,000,000 new records!
Android users: Check Google Play today for a new BillionGraves app update! This update fixes a bug that caused problems with uploading photos, so now the upload process will run more smoothly. There are also improvements to the camera’s functionality as well as to location services. Go get the app today from the Google Play store!