Let’s admit it. We all like new stuff. The only thing better than new stuff is new FREE stuff! Well, we are here to make your week a little better by introducing our new transcription page and enhanced record connector to FamilySearch! For the past several weeks we have been working tirelessly to make some much needed improvements to our transcription page! Including enhancements that allow you to filter headstones by language, country, and by cemetery! Now you can transcribe the records that YOU want to transcribe in the language and location YOU want! We’ve also condensed the fields to include buttons and fields that are used the most so navigating around the page should be easier and smoother. On top of this, we have updated all the code for this page as well. Meaning it is running on the latest and greatest code, making it faster, smoother, and more reliable. This also allows us to add the additional features that you have all been asking for faster than ever before! We also added more help features and mouse-over prompts to help those that are transcribing for the first time. If you need help on a particular stone or not quite sure what to do, click on the “?” on the bottom to find some helpful tips! For those of you that LOVE FamilySearch; Every transcription on BillionGraves will immediately be searched against FamilySearch’s Family Tree and connected! No more navigating from website to website to connect ancestors! If we find a match we’ll tell you! Just click the “Match” button after transcription and poof, your record is automatically connected! That’s right, it’s now THAT easy! You don’t need to do anything special to get to this page. Just transcribe records as usual. Once we find a match between the record you just transcribed and FamilySearch’s Family Tree, we’ll display to possible match.(No FamilySearch account needed) If the match is an actual match, click on the check mark button to instantly connect it to FamilySearch. If it’s not, click on the red “X”. If you are not sure and need more help, click on the “?” or click on the name of the person, which will take you to the FamilySearch website to do more research before you make the connection. NOTE: The FamilySearch connect button will only appear if a connection is found on FamilySearch’s Family Tree and it is believed to have a high enough accuracy to connect the two records together. We hope you like these new enhancements to our transcription page and connections to the FamilySearch Family Tree. Take it for a whirl and let us know what you think on BG facebook page!Read More
The BillionGraves team is proud to announce that we have reached 9,000,000 million records, and 109,394 users! This is a big milestone in growth of BillionGraves! Thanks to all the contributors around the world! For those of you who prefer to see stats in a pretty little picture, we’ve created this small info graphic for you!
We are reaching each Million Mark faster and faster each time around. This time, it only took 39 days for our transcribers to create another million records! We are photographing headstones at a break-neck speed! Taking only 33 days to take 1 million pictures! With new partnerships and dedicated contributors, we are growing our headstone record database internationally! With 580,000 records coming from the US, that means that nearly 420,000 records are coming from outside the US! That is a huge change for us and a huge advantage to those searching for ancestors overseas!
We want to thank everyone who helped us reach 9,000,000 so quickly! We couldn’t have done it without the wonderful contributors who are visiting and photographing cemeteries throughout the world as well as all those transcribing all those images!
IF you want some additional stats to feed your craving, here are some additional statistics:
Riverside Cemetery, Illinois, USA: 62,384 Records
United Kingdom: 466,686
New Zealand: 99,176
The Netherlands: 39,765
We are delighted to announce the latest (and greatest) Android application is now available on the Google Play store! 2.3 Version 41
Thanks to our users for their feedback and testing of the new Android version. With your help we’ve been able to make a lot of improvements on the app like:
!!BEFORE YOU UPDATE TO THE NEW VERSION, MAKE SURE ALL IMAGES HAVE BEEN UPLOADED!!
Once you have downloaded it, be sure to test out the app and let us know what you think! Please write a review on the Google Play store as well so others will be able to find us!Read More
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!
June Win the Pin Contest
Every user that makes it onto the leaderboard this month will get the Collectors BillionGraves June Pin! Watch the leaderboard throughout the month to make sure you are a part of the lucky 50 photographers and transcribers who get this collectors pin!
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. PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE follow all the guidelines for taking the “PERFECT” picture! Need a refresher? Read this great article about the 7 ways to become the photographer that every genealogists loves!
Due to the overwhelming demand from our users and with the weather as beautiful (and hot) as it is, we’ve decided to continue our 50,000 Challenge to everyone in the BillionGraves community for the month of June.
Simply upload 50,000 photos or 50,000 transcriptions and we’ll give you a brand spankin’ new 16GB Apple iPad Mini WiFi with available 4G-LTE. That’s right, we’ve lowered the number of transcriptions this month to 50,000! There are no limitations on the number of iPad mini’s that a registered user can earn!
A SPECIAL NOTE FROM BILLIONGRAVES:
Taking 50,000 photos and transcribing 50,000 records is no small feat! Only a small handful of people have ever achieved it, and they did it for free! This time, we want to show our users, who really go the extra mile, our gratitude! We know not everyone will be able to reach 50,000. It wouldn’t such an accomplishment if it were easy!
We want to give an iPad away to everyone!! Unfortunately, BillionGraves is a FREE site and we want to keep it that way! Remember, our goal is to document the world’s cemeteries and make it available to anyone and everyone for FREE!
We like to spice things up and give back as we can and will continue to do prizes and giveaways as we can! So for anyone who wants to step up and be apart of a very small elite group of volunteers, this month’s prize is just for you!
|Editorial Note: The average number of photos/hour is based on stats generated from the entire BillionGraves user-base and does not reflect the minimum or maximum number of photos that can be taken in one hour.
Several variables that will impact the number of records that can be collected in any given amount of time:
For instance, photographing flat headstones is much easier and quicker than upright or other monuments. Military cemeteries are ideal as they are usually quite large, similar shaped headstones, and perfectly aligned. So make the most out of June and find cemeteries that will help you reach your goals!
Other Helpful Tips
• Register! It’s 100% free and 100% necessary if you’re going to participate in this competition.
• Like us on Facebook! It’s simple to do and keeps you constantly up to date will all the new amazing things we are doing at BG!
• 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.
• Contest begins June 1, 2014 and ends June 30, 2014 @ 12:00 am GMT (That’s 6 pm MST)
| A great way to reach your goal is to grab your friends and head out to the cemetery as a group!
If everyone in the group logs their different devices into one account, your efforts will be combined, making it easier to hit your goal! Once you hit the 50,000 photo goal or 50,000 transcription goal, switch it up and combine efforts under another person in the group and earn multiple devices!
Note: Only one prize will be given per username, and will be shipped to the username the efforts are performed under.
The Fine Print. (Cause we have to have fine print, right?)
- All photos and transcriptions must be submitted before the closing date of June 30, 2014 @ 12:00 am GMT (That’s 6 pm MST). Any submissions after that point will be excluded from the final results.
- This promotion is intended for photographers and transcribers. Let’s go outside!
- Supporting records will NOT be counted towards the monthly totals. Only images that originate from the genuine BillionGraves apps will be accepted.
- If you or another user marks a headstone picture as “bad” we deduct it from the uploader’s total images.
- For transcribers, we will be looking extra hard at the quality of transcriptions as well. We will erase the record and have it re-transcribed if it’s not done correctly. Any record not transcribed correctly will be deducted from your total.
- In the off chance that we don’t have enough images to transcribe, GO TAKE PICTURES! We will allow both photos taken and transcriptions completed to count ONLY if there are not enough pictures to transcribe.
- 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. No one likes a trespasser! Not cool!
- This promotion is open to all to participate for free. Registration is required. (Register HERE. Come on.You know you want to. It’s free!)
- More than one individual may contribute to a single account, however, the limit is one prize redemption per BillionGraves account. The prize will be claimed by only the username the combined work was completed under. BillionGraves will not arbitrate any disputes. ALL RECORDS MUST BE UNDER ONE ACCOUNT. BILLIONGRAVES WILL NOT COMBINE ACCOUNTS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE.
- 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. However, our shipment robots are getting faster!
- Due to current world-unrest, some areas may increase the amount of time it takes for prizes to be delivered. If for some reason your country isn’t compatible with iPad Mini, we will work with you to provide you with a prize that is equal in value.
- Recipients will be required to provide a mailing address for physical items.
- Winners will be required to provided completed tax forms for redemption of the prize
- REQUIRED: ALL PRIZES MUST BE CLAIMED WITH PROPER MAILING/DELIVERY INSTRUCTIONS BY THE 15TH OF JUNE OR YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE THE PRIZE! WE WILL SEND OUT CONFIRMATION EMAILS BY THE 3RD OF JULY. IF YOU DON’T RECEIVE A CONFIRMATION EMAIL ASKING FOR YOUR ADDRESS, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR SENDING IT TO US BY THE 15TH AT SUPPORT@BILLIONGRAVES.COM.
-The BillionGraves Team