To take photos for BillionGraves, all you really need is you phone, right? True, but you won’t regret having a few extra items with you to make your trip to the cemetery as smooth as silk. We’ve compiled a list of suggestions for you to pack in a light backpack or bag. As long as you have your BillionGraves backpack, you’ll never have to leave the cemetery!
What to pack in your BillionGraves backpack (besides your phone, of course):
- Water for drinking
- Water for wetting down old stones for readability
- A hat
- Phone charger for your car (and be sure your phone is fully charged, too!)
- Work gloves for cleaning off headstones
- Small pad and pen, in case you want to note a hard-to-read stone and write down the transcription
- Broom and dustpan set for cleaning off headstones
- A sheet or umbrella to create shade over headstones
Any other suggestions? Leave them in the comments!
Since the BillionGraves Index is now available on FamilySearch.org, a large group from FamilySearch employees decided to learn more about what BillionGraves is all about. So they headed to the Murray Cemetery in Utah to give the app a try.
Some people took pictures, and some people contributed by cleaning off headstones ahead of the picture-takers. This job is an important one: taking pictures goes much more quickly if the headstones are ready with all the information visible.
Dan Shellman, one of the participants, shared a bit about the great experience he had. “The activity that we held in which we took pictures of grave stones to be uploaded to BillionGraves was a great one. As I was taking pictures, it was humbling to see the names of families and wonder at the lives they must have lead. It felt great to know that the information about these families could be used to help others better understand their family history.”
120 different contributors—88 of them first time picture-takers—participated, and about 12,000 new images were added to the Murray Cemetery in one day.
The group even started transcribing the images together after the event.
BillionGraves gained a lot of momentum in May, and we are thrilled with the growth we’re experiencing. Let’s keep up the momentum and celebrate!
For the month of June, the Leaderboard will show which region around the world is gathering the most new uploads. Regions are broken down into US states, Canadian provinces, and countries. Check up on your state, province, or country regularly this month to make sure it is doing its part. You should also check up on regions you want to collect research from—are people contributing in that part of the world?
When you look at the Leaderboard this month, you’ll see a beautiful map of both the United States and the whole world. The more green a region is, the higher its ranking.
Below the map is a breakdown of the top 25 regions for the month. You’ll see a number to the right of the region showing the number of uploads in the last 5 days. With this number, you can tell if your region is still working hard to maintain its spot on the Leaderboard!
At the time I wrote this post, Pennsylvania was in the lead, with Utah and Georgia close behind. And two countries made the list—The Netherlands and the UK!
Don’t worry, the regular user-based Leaderboard can be found just below the region-based one, so you can still track your own progress against other BillionGravers.
Are you in a State (or province, or country) of Growth this month?
Congratulations! We had a monumental month at BillionGraves, and it’s all thanks to you. At BillionGraves, we’re all about bigger and better goals. Even our name is an audacious goal: One Billion Graves. Some people think it’s an impossible number, but there are truly a billion headstones out there, waiting to be documented and mapped.
Our Million in May goal was one of those bigger and better goals we like to set. During May 2012, our database received hundreds of thousands of new records. We had 2,825 new users sign up with BillionGraves. Over 500 users uploaded their first picture this month. Because of all this new participation, our database will be sure to grow more quickly moving forward. We saw new cemeteries being photographed all over the world, and we added 662 new cemeteries to the database. Previously, the month with the highest number of new records was April 2012. May was 3 times more successful than that! We did in one month what we did in our first 7 months last year. Our average daily upload has increased by 300%. Wow! The amount of growth has been huge, and again, we thank all of our volunteers for your hard work!
What’s Next? BillionGraves: In a State of Growth
We love the energy and enthusiasm you BillionGravers have shown, so let’s all keep going through June! June is going to be all about the progress of states, provinces, and countries around the world. The Leaderboard will show which US state, Canadian province, or country is producing the most new data! You’ll be able to see how well your state, province, or country is doing, and you’ll also be able to check on the progress of the states, provinces, and countries you want to research! We’re excited about the growth we’ve already experienced, and we are confident that June will be another epic month.
Congratulations to those who made the Leaderboard in May! Check out the results below. If you’re a winner, we will be contacting you via email soon to get you your prizes!