Training and Help Video Series
Ten’s of thousands of records are created each day on the BillionGraves website. Occasionally mistakes are made during the transcription process that creates incomplete, inaccurate, or false records. This is VERY unfortunate as this makes the photo unsearchable to genealogists and impossible to sync with partners.
Headstones are a treasure trove of information, and EVERY headstone and contribution is important! So today we will discuss the proper method to find, edit, and fix improper transcriptions found on the BillionGraves website.
Watch the video below:
If you are new to BillionGraves, “Transcribing” refers to a process where a user records the information found on a headstone photo in order to make it searchable on the website. You may be familiar with other similar terms that are used in the genealogy industry like “indexing”. Let’s get started.
1. Why Edit Improper Transcriptions:
You may be wondering why BillionGraves wants you, the user, to edit improper transcriptions. It’s simple…We can’t always see the millions of records circulating the website so with your help we are able to find these records and make them much easier to locate.
When a record is transcribed incorrectly, it can cause that record to be unsearchable by researchers. Typing in the wrong birth or death date, miss-spelling a name, or not transcribing all the information on the stone can all lead to an unsearchable record and/or give researchers bad information. Also, these bad transcriptions carry over to our partners sites who are unable to connect the records to individuals in your family trees. All of these cases lead to records that can’t be found or connected to actual people.
Improper transcriptions can greatly affect record watches, notifications, and other search tools when finding family plots and relationships as well. This can hinder further insight and make finding the rest of the family much more difficult.
Finally the quality of the records are very important to BillionGraves and these memorials are some of the last tangible evidence of a person’s life. This means documenting and preserving that information for all of time is important to those individuals researching and to the those who have passed on.
2. What qualifies as a bad transcription?
When going through the search fields you may find records containing numerous wrong characters such as “unknown”, “-“, or “?”. You may find incomplete names or dates. In some cases these may be due to bad photos or debris covering parts of the stone. However in other cases, these are mistakes made during the transcription process.
For international stones and multi-lingual stones, you may even find records which have been transliterated. Transliteration is when a language is translated by a transcriber from its proper language on the memorial to the language of the user.
For example, a stone that is in Russian but is transliterated into the English meaning for any given word is transliterated from it’s original meaning. Often times leading to improper record translations. This is why all records must be transcribed in the language that appears on the headstone. Whatever the error may be, the headstones require editing and correction in order to be properly searched and matched.
3. How to Find Improper Transcriptions:
Now that we have shown you what to look for, now we’ll show you where to look to find records that need to be fixed. The easiest way to start is to look for records in a cemetery nearby. To do this:
- Log into your account at BillionGraves.com
- Next, click the blue “Search BillionGraves” button in the top right corner.
- Click on the “Cemeteries” tab.
- Enter in the name of a local cemetery. If you are unsure of cemeteries near you, use the filters to select the County, State, or Country.
- Navigate to the cemetery by clicking on the cemetery in the search results.
- Click on the tab, “Search Records” just below the cemetery photo.
- You will now see a list of all of the records in the cemetery. At this point you can either use the search function to find common mistakes like “?”, “unknown”, or “-“; or you can scroll through the list of names looking for errors as well.
- For more advanced ways to assist in correcting records:
- Often times the stone holds more valuable information than just the name and dates. Marriage dates, military service, children, and religious icons are some of the many things you may find on a headstone that can also be added to the record. You can review each record in the cemetery to ensure that ALL information on the stone has been entered into the record.
4. How to Edit and Correct Improper Transcriptions
- On the current record Select the “Wrench Icon”.
- Next, click “Edit Record”.
- Using your mouse scroll down to the bottom and review the “Vital Information”.
- Make Necessary edits in the fields by selecting the field with our mouse (Ex. First Name, Last Name, Dates, etc…).
- Scroll back up the page and select the check-mark icon to save your work.
- The record is now edited.
5. Advanced Techniques:
For updated and advanced techniques for finding improper transcriptions, please visit our community at https://community.billiongraves.com/questions/transcribing-images/advanced.
Thanks for watching this video! We hope that with this new information you are able to understand the importance of correcting improper transcriptions. With your help we can improve the quality of the records and help researchers have better results.
For further information please contact our support team at https://billiongraves.com/support/.
Yesterday, our friends over at Ancestry.com say they were hit by what’s called a DDoS Attack, or a “Distributed Denial of Service” attack. It has temporarily shut down Ancestry.com and their affiliated mobile application, Find A Grave, which is frustrating for the company and users alike. In the last 12 hours, BillionGraves has been inundated with questions from all over the place about this attack, wondering how it happens and if BillionGraves is prepared for something similar. While the attack has shut things down for a moment for Ancestry, it’s important to understand what a DDoS attack is, and what WE, and other companies, do to try to prevent them.
What is a DDoS attack?
While we could give you a long, drawn-out answer, we think the website HowStuffWorks.com gave a great response, found HERE
“The idea is pretty simple — a [hacker] tells all the computers on his botnet to contact a specific server or Web site (In this case Ancestry.com/Findagrave.com) repeatedly. The sudden increase in traffic can cause the site to load very slowly for legitimate users. Sometimes the traffic is enough to shut the site down completely.”
To simplify it even further, hackers try to make a website so slow with fake traffic that the website ultimately crashes.
Why do people do this?
Why do people steal? Cheat? We don’t know… Possibly boredom or a challenge. Maybe revenge? To quote Batman’s butler, Alfred, “Some people just want to watch the world burn.” While these attacks can be momentarily debilitating for a website, it’s important to note that, usually in specific cases of a DDoS attacks, hackers aren’t capturing any portions of anyone’s personal information. They’re simply using an army of fake computers (zombies, if you will), to “attack” and bog down the company’s website. All the information stored there is safe and secure, IF secured correctly.
What do companies do to avoid this?
There are several safe guards that a company can implement to protect their sites from malicious attacks. Unfortunately, there’s not much a company can do with a DDoS attack. Companies like BillionGraves (and Ancestry) hire entire herds of engineers just to keep a website safe and running. It’s a tiresome, time consuming, and thankless position that often goes unnoticed. During a DDoS attack, a system administrator can block specific users, or IP addresses, or start limiting traffic to the website, but it’s extremely difficult to know where the origin of the attacks are coming from. Many of these “attackers” spoof their addresses, making them harder to identify. In most cases, the system administrator has to take the website down and regroup to ensure their site is safe, which is exactly what Ancestry.com is doing at the moment.
All in all, while DDoS attacks appear to be harmless, they can significantly disrupt operations for a website. Companies make their livelihoods with their websites, and these attacks are taken seriously. While no website is 100% immune to these attacks, we have a solid and intelligent team of computer nerds working around the clock to keep BillionGraves safe and running!
Waiting for Ancestry.com to come back online? Go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather at your local cemetery and snap a few pictures! Register for BillionGraves now! It’s FREE… and working!