How to Win:
|All you need to do to win a prize (see below) is to place in the top 12 transcribers or uploaders on the leaderboard by December 31 at midnight (GMT)!|
|1st||$30 Amazon Gift Card|
|2nd||$20 Amazon Gift Card|
|3rd||$10 Amazon Gift Card|
|4th||$10 Amazon Gift Card|
|5th||$10 Amazon Gift Card|
|6th||$10 Amazon Gift Card|
|7th||$10 Amazon Gift Card|
|8th||$10 Amazon Gift Card|
|9th||$10 Amazon Gift Card|
|10th||$10 Amazon Gift Card|
|11th||$10 Amazon Gift Card|
|12th||$10 Amazon Gift Card|
-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.
-Items will ship in 6-8 weeks after contest closes for winners in the U.S. Please allow 8-12 for winners outside the U.S.
-Recipients will be required to provide a mailing address for physical items.
-All images must be uploaded/transcribed no later than midnight (GMT) on December 31, 2013.
Enjoy your time visiting a new (or familiar) cemetery, transcribing photos from around the world, and a HAVE FUN time BillionGraves-ing!
Lyle Clugg was so excited about BillionGraves when he first attended a class about it two years ago that he went out and bought a smartphone the next month.
“The whole reason why I got a smartphone was because of what I heard at that seminar at RootsTech.” Lyle said, “I thought this is just the perfect application… I have used so many other pieces of information from [a lot of other sources] so I thought this would be the perfect way for me to pay it forward and make information available for other people.”
And talk about paying it forward; Lyle has now uploaded over 25,000 pictures.
Lyle loves doing family history and traveling all over the country researching his own family. So while he’s out traveling, he usually fits in some BillionGraves-ing too.
His latest trip was to Oregon where he took over 2,000 pictures with BillionGraves. Every night when he would stop, he would find the local cemetery to take pictures.
How does his wife feel about his hobby? “She goes shopping while I take pictures” Lyle says.
He may not have his wife sold on BillionGraves yet, but he has taken a few trips with his daughter to some cemeteries. She lives in the Chicago area, so a few times when he’s gone out to visit, she’ll go with him to nearby cemeteries. They were even able to locate Lyle’s great-grandmother’s grave on one specific trip together.
“She’s not as addicted as I am,” he admitted. “But she does have a lot, she has 5,000-6,000 names.”
One of the most interesting moments Lyle’s had was once when he got caught in a cemetery during a sudden rain and windstorm blew through. Lyle took refuge under a tree to wait out the storm. The wind was so loud, Lyle didn’t hear a hundred-year-old tree about 50 yards away blow over. A few minutes later when the storm was over, Lyle found the tree and told me “Now we know the answer to the age old question – when a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?” I guess not!
One might wonder why Lyle spends so much time taking pictures in cemeteries. Lyle even told me sometimes when he’s out there in a cemetery, he wonders “Why am I doing this? I’ve been out here for 6 hours, I’m starving!”
But every once in a while Lyle will get messages from people much like the one he received yesterday saying
“You found my family’s graves. I live California. Lost my father as a child, and lost the family history with him. So amazing to find my great-grandmother’s grave, [as well as two of her children's graves]. THANK YOU! I saw their graves. Made my day.”
That’s when he realizes “Okay, THAT’s why I’m doing this. It’s helpful and it will be helpful for the next couple of years. It’s not just this week that we’re concerned about.”
That is what it’s all about. It’s people like Lyle that are selfless and generous with their time who make the BillionGraves project worthwhile. That pay-it-forward mentality is what helps BillionGraves change lives.
We’ve made a few improvements to the iOS app and wanted to let you know what we’ve changed. Here’s what you’ll be getting when you download the latest version of the app:
- Camera view is “what you see is what you get.” Because the aspect ratio of the picture doesn’t always match the size of the iPhone screen, a lot of users were unintentionally getting their feet and other objects in the picture. We now adjusted that so what you see on your screen is exactly the shot that is taken.
Because of this, you might see a black border around your screen in the camera view (especially if you are on an iPhone 5+). This is normal and will help you be able to take the exact picture you want.
- Display activity view when removing images. If you tap on “Remove all Images” the app now displays a spinner while the images are being removed. This didn’t happen previously and people were confused as to why the app wasn’t working. Now you’ll be able to see that the app is working on removing those images from the app for you.
Just be aware that if you are removing a lot of images, it may take some time to do this.
Some minor bug fixes. There are quite a few bugs we’ve fixed, and here are a few you might notice:
-better handling of indoors mode
-cemetery list now refreshes when you open the cemetery page
-fixed translations for spanish and portuguese in the Transcription view
-magic transcription parsing now works for spanish and portuguese
-and other minor bug fixes
If your phone doesn’t already do it automatically, make sure you download the latest app and happy BillionGraves-ing!
Not very many people can say they visited a cemetery for their wedding anniversary, but Colette Hokanson can. In fact, last year’s anniversary was her first time taking pictures for BillionGraves; she and her husband downloaded it before dinner and then visited the their local cemetery afterwards.
They enjoyed it so much, they visited 3 more cemeteries that very weekend.
Colette was hooked on BillionGraves. She continued taking pictures for BillionGraves throughout the next year with her family on Saturday mornings and occasionally on family trips. Each time she passes a cemetery, she begs her family to let her stop so they can take pictures.
One day, a friend asked Colette if she had any suggestions for an upcoming “Day of Service” their church had planned. Colette told her about BillionGraves and her friend loved the idea. They set it up so each congregation would be in charge of taking photos at different cemeteries throughout Oregon and northern California.
They held their “Day of Service” on September 14th, 2013 and had over 327 volunteers from 7 congregations participated in photographing 8 cemeteries. Together, they ended up taking over 17,000 photographs and were featured in an article in their local paper the next morning.
“The thing that was really cool was just to see all the people that all of a sudden got turned onto finding out more about their family.” Colette said. “It’s interesting how when you’re out there taking pictures. It turns your heart, you [think] ‘Wow, these were real people. I want to learn more about my family; where are they buried?’”
But that wasn’t only great thing that happened that day.
Colette’s congregation was assigned to the Central Point Cemetery because she knew she had a great-uncle (John Daley) buried there and she wanted to find where he was at. She instructed everyone to keep an eye out for any headstones with the name “Daley.” Coincidentally enough, her husband found her uncle’s headstone surrounded by some of his family members.
However, after they had finished taking photographs, one of Colette’s friends—Kristina—said she found two babies’ headstones in the corner of the cemetery with the last name of Daley: Daisy Bell Daley and Victor Hugo Daley. Colette hurried home to research if they were related and sure enough, Daisy was a grandchild to Colette’s great-uncle John.
Colette was amazed. “I would not have found her if we wouldn’t have done this,” she said, “because she was born [and died] in between censuses.”
But the miracles didn’t stop there!
Colette went home and did more research on that side of the family and found out that she had even more relatives than she knew about buried in her area. As she discovered more grandkids of her great-uncle John, she looked up where they were buried and found that one of them was on BillionGraves.
“I thought ‘Oh my gosh, someone took their picture!’” Colette recounted, “And I looked and it was me! I took the picture last year when I first got that app and I had no idea that I was taking a picture of one of my family members. It took me taking a picture in another cemetery (of Daisy Bell) to go and continue to search… It [was] just so, so amazing, so fantastic!”
Not only was she able to find her own relatives through the pictures she took, but she also helped a friend find his relatives too. As she was helping him find out more information about his grandparents, she suggested they look on BillionGraves to see what they could find. When they did, they found out that his grandparents were buried nearby AND that her husband had taken that picture.
“It was just a little miracle to think that about 7 months before we had taken pictures in a cemetery and it turned out to be the grandparents of a friend of ours.” She said. “I thought ‘how coincidental.’ If you want miracles, go take pictures for BillionGraves! Download the app so you can have miracles in your own life.”
Her advice to anyone is to “Always keep BillionGraves in mind” when you’re traveling anywhere. “Make time on family vacations or on a Saturday to take a few pictures. Make time to stop and take your kids—my kids love it! If we don’t stop and take pictures of these cemeteries, we don’t know how much longer some of these headstones will last…”
“Just do it—even if it’s only a few headstones.” She said. “You never know what impact it will have on someone’s life.”
In an effort to provide better content and to make records found on headstones more readily available to genealogists around the world, we are happy to announce that we have partnered with MyHeritage!
This partnership will expand the reach of BillionGraves records to more than 75 million registered users on MyHeritage—an enormous international network of trees and historical records for discovering family history.
MyHeritage is an amazing company backed by amazing technology and a database filled with several billion records! These world-wide record collections include:
- 1.5 billion exclusive family tree records
- Birth, marriage and death records
- Millions of Newspapers, back to 1739
- Vital records from 16 countries
- Military and immigration records
- Census records back to 1790
- And now more than 5.5 million headstone records from BillionGraves.
In addressing this great news, Hudson Gunn—President of BillionGraves—said, “Since day one, our goal has been to document these headstones and make them available to everyone in the world; and today we take a giant step forward in achieving that goal. Partnering with MyHeritage is an important milestone in the exponential growth of BillionGraves, solidifying our position internationally as a key resource to families looking for accurate vital records.”
Russ Wilding, Chief Content Officer at MyHeritage said “We’re excited to partner with BillionGraves and Tributes.com to deliver such fascinating and meaningful content to our users. This is the type of information that adds color to our family histories and helps even experienced family historians break through brick walls in their research.”
A Special Offer for You!
We have teamed up with MyHeritage to give the friends and family of BillionGraves exclusive special 50% discount on MyHeritage’s annual PremiumPlus + Data membership! This combination of a PremiumPlus account, which provides space for an unlimited family tree, along with the Data Membership which gives unlimited access to billions of historical records, plus the automatic matching technologies which are included in this package is something you can’t find anywhere else!
- Click NOW to claim this limited time offer from MyHeritage! **Offer expired**
- When you purchase this special MyHeritage offer, a large portion of the proceeds will be given back to BillionGraves; these proceeds will be used to continue and improve our service.
This is the first time we have ever promoted a product like this to our users and we wouldn’t be promoting a product or company that we didn’t trust and believe in ourselves. With that said, we couldn’t be happier to partner with such a great company that shares our desires and commitments to enriching and connecting families around the world through this information.
Thank you again for your countless hours contributing to BillionGraves; we are extremely grateful! We look forward to this new partnership with MyHeritage and the exciting new features and advancements coming to BillionGraves in the upcoming months!
This is a promotional offering sponsored by MyHeritage and is NOT required to make contributions to or gain access to the BillionGraves website. BillionGraves is and will always continue to be a free resource to you and the world. When you purchase this special MyHeritage offer, a large portion of the proceeds will be given back to BillionGraves. These proceeds will be used to continue and improve our service and maintain BillionGraves as a FREE resource.