Have you ever wondered if your contributions to BillionGraves are really making a difference? Well, they certainly do. Here’s just one of the many stories of the people who are benefitting from YOUR contributions:
Diane, a resident of Ontario, Canada, was on a quest to find more information about her Uncle Bruce—her father’s brother. Before her father had passed away, he wrote down his life story for his children but he had put little information down about Uncle Bruce. Diane’s father had written that Uncle Bruce died of a heart attack and that he had lived in Surrey, England.
But that’s all she knew.
Uncle Bruce died when Diane was only 10 years old and she doesn’t remember her family talking about him at all. Diane is a twin, and so is her Uncle Bruce, so she felt a connection to him and that she needed to find where he was buried.
Diane started by searching “Surrey England” in Google. From here, she saw a link to the cemetery page on BillionGraves where she found she could register and submit a request. So she did and hoped for the best.
About 10 minutes later, she got a response from a man named Laurence who then referred her to a man named Jeff who Laurence thought could help her.
Throughout the next two days, Diane worked with Jeff, Laurence, and a caretaker at the Kingston Cemetery, until she got her answer 3 days later.
“I [had] my information in a matter of days! So it didn’t even take months, it was days!” Diane was amazed.
She was told that Uncle Bruce did not actually have a headstone because he had been cremated and his ashes were spread on the Kingston cemetery grounds. She found out her uncle had a male stillborn baby buried in an unmarked grave in the same cemetery. She also received a picture of the crematorium, a picture in front of where his ashes were spread, and a picture of Uncle Bruce’s death notices in the paper.
“And they not only did that, but they sent me the registry of the stillborn baby and the death announcement! I can’t even tell you how much information they sent me!” Diane told me. “They were so thorough!…[It was] above and beyond what I expected!”
Within a matter of days, Diane was able to give the information to her aunt—the only living sibling of Uncle Bruce’s—and the wife of Uncle Bruce’s twin who were both very grateful to finally know where their brother (and brother-in-law) was buried.
“I’ve never dealt with anything like this in my life, it was absolutely wonderful.” Diane said. “I mean, I got emotional, the hairs on my arms stood up…I thought, I DID find him! This is wonderful!”
Diane added all the information she had found to the binder full of what her father had written for her family and children to see. She couldn’t wait to “tell everyone about it.” Her only wish? “I wish my dad was still alive because he would’ve been pretty proud of me.”
This is what the BillionGraves project is all about. We want to help those people like Diane honor their family members who have passed on. This is why we do what we do.
“The feeling I had when I got the final [say] of where [my uncle and his stillborn child were buried] was indescribable. It’s just so nice that I can give this information to my two aunts. And now they know where’s he’s resting.”
Have YOU or someone you know had success in finding a relative through BillionGraves? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below. We’d love to hear your story. Just think, YOU could be the next story featured on the BillionGraves blog and newsletter!Read More
We are in the process of calculating the entries for the winner of the Legacy Mobile Launch iPad mini giveaway for the month of April.
The winner will be posted here, on the BillionGraves blog, tomorrow! Stay tuned!
It’s back! The second annual “Million More in May” competition is here! Start getting excited for some friendly competition and taking pictures in the warmer weather! Here’s how it works:
The goal is to add a million more images to BillionGraves during the month of May. If only 500 of our users upload 2,000 images this month we can easily reach this! That’s only 65 images per day (only 500 images per week)!
With only 500 of our thousands of contributors taking 1-2 trips to their local cemetery each week, we could reach this awesome goal!
As always, the greatest reward for your efforts comes from knowing that you are preserving invaluable genealogical records as well as making them readily available for family members to locate.
However, we are also giving away BillionGraves T-shirts to the Top 30 uploaders this month. Keep an eye on the leaderboard* to see if you are on track to win one of our coveted T-shirts at the end of the month!
But there’s more! For those that always go the extra mile and end up in the Top 3 uploaders, we are throwing in a $20 Subway gift card as well!
*Note: The leaderboard is updated daily and is not measured in real-time.
Some tips for you:
- Make sure that you have the latest BillionGraves app. We are working constantly to remove any obstacles that we find! Check the iTunes App Store or Google Play for any updates for your device.
- Make it a habit. Go to the cemetery regularly—incorporate a local cemetery into your daily walk or bike ride, and snap some pictures along the way.
- A word of advice: don’t wait for Memorial Day. The decorations at the cemetery for that holiday actually make it MORE difficult to collect images—people have to transcribe the content, and flower arrangements and other decorations can easily obscure that important content.
Set your personal goal:
We need YOU! What can YOU contribute to Million More in May? We challenge you to set a goal for the month for how many you will contribute per day/week.
Comment below and let us know what you plan on doing!
Who knows? You might just be the next superhero for someone looking for these records.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Make sure you have permission and are welcome to take pictures in your local cemetery before doing so. Remember, private cemeteries require permission of the owner before taking any pictures.
Winners will be announced at the end of the month on the BillionGraves blog.
Promotion is open to all to participate for free. Registration is required.
More than one individual may contribute to a single account, however, the limit is one prize redemption per BillionGraves account.
Awards will ship within 30 days at the end of the promotion.
Recipients may be required to provide a mailing address for physical items. T-Shirt winners will be required to provide their requested size.
All images must be uploaded no later than midnight GMT on May 31
For the fourth and final entry this week, we want you to tell a friend about Legacy Mobile! Spread the news about this handy app and help your friends be able to take their family tree with them wherever they go!
Once you have done this, simply have them post your name on the Legacy Mobile Facebook page saying “I heard about Legacy Mobile from [your name].” When they do this, BOTH of you will be entered to win the iPad mini!
And don’t forget to leave your feedback and ideas about Legacy Mobile on last week’s post. You can still be entered to win the iPad if you do! We’d love to hear your suggestions!Read More
Meet Denis, the BillionGraves biker. Okay, so he didn’t bike 1700 miles down the west U.S. coast ONLY to take pictures for BillionGraves, but he definitely made it a priority last fall to stop at every cemetery he passed to take as many pictures as he could.
His motivation? “I find BillionGraves almost addictive” he admitted. “[It's] great to have two interests that provide a sense of satisfaction and allow me to exercise at the same time.”
Denis Ashton, a retired teacher from Gilbert, Arizona combined two of his passions—biking and BillionGraves—in one epic trip called the Pacific Coast Tour. His group of 11 people started in Vancouver, British Colombia and rode down the coast until they hit Mexico. All in 42 days.
Yet, he still found time to take as many pictures as he could at five cemeteries along the west coast: Tillamook IOOF Cemetery, Westport Cemetery, Little River Cemetery, San Carlos Cemetery and Halcyon Cemetery. Thanks to the external battery he brought with him (which kept his phone charged for about 45 hours of continuous use) he was able to take a total of 1,110 images!
Denis started biking before he retired and found he needed something to keep his physical body in shape. He entered a couple 100K tours and found he could do the distance, so he started training more. Eventually he came in contact with a man in Florida who was organizing this Pacific Coast Tour and signed up. The group consisted of 11 people from all over the world: Nova Scotia, Vancouver, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, and South Africa. And most of them were 50+ years old!
Denis soon found that each person in the group had a remarkable background. One man—who was 26 years old from South Africa—worked in Australia and Canada. Each day he would plan out the route for the group and always beat everybody to the next campsite.
One lady turned 49 on the trip. When she was 18, a friend’s father dared her to sign up for the Canadian Navy. 30 years later, this bike trip was her celebration for the end of her career in the Navy.
Another guy walked across the entire country of Spain just because he wanted to see if he could do it.
Needless to say, this group was a group of the greatest, most interesting people, including Denis. At one point during the trip, he was riding with a bag on his handlebars. It broke loose and went under the front tire which caused Denis to fly off the bike, tearing his rotator cuff.
And yet, his very first thought after the crash was “Can I finish the trip?” His legs were bleeding, his shoulder was obviously hurting badly and his thought was “I’ve come this far, I want to go all the way!”
He made the rest of the trip with a torn rotator cuff!
Toward the end of our conversation, Denis told me he had several personal experiences during the grueling trip. One was spiritual, and two were profound physical/mental experience. About one of these experiences, he said:
“When I was swinging my leg over [the bike at the beginning of the day], I had a period of euphoria that I’ve never experienced in my life. I know that exercise is very good for the brain. I advise my clients [he currently counsels people in behavioral crises] to exercise, because it’s good for your brain.”
This September, Denis is planning on doing another trip that starts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and ends in New Franklin, Missouri. That’s 1000 miles in 20 days with higher altitudes than Denis has ever ridden before. And yet he still plans on taking pictures for BillionGraves any chance he gets along the way. What dedication!
“I would love to connect with other people doing BillionGraves who also love bicycling,” Dennis told me. If you like biking and BillionGraves, let us know; Denis would love to hear from you!
I loved hearing Denis’s story mainly because he is just one example of the kind of people who contribute to BillionGraves; thank you, Denis, for all you do for the BillionGraves project!
It was so fun to see how Denis incorporated BillionGraves into another activity he is passionate about. Where does BillionGraves fit in with your other talents/hobbies/interests? If you would like to share your story on the BillionGraves blog or know of someone who would, email email@example.com.Read More