MyHeritage and BillionGraves team up to digitally preserve the world’s cemeteries
Groundbreaking multilingual mobile app will power international crowdsourcing initiative
TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI & KAYSVILLE, Utah – Wednesday 19 February, 2014
- MyHeritage, the popular online family history network, has partnered with BillionGraves to launch a global crowdsourcing initiative to preserve the world’s cemeteries.
BillionGraves is a free iOS and Android application that lets users easily photograph and document gravestones, providing an important source of information for people intrigued about their ancestors and family history. Using patent-pending technology, BillionGraves is the only mobile application of its kind. With the help of MyHeritage, the app will be available in 25 languages, and will support Gregorian, Hebrew and Julian dates. It records the GPS locations of gravestones to make them easy to find and volunteers can easily see which areas of any cemetery remain undocumented, to maximize efficiency and avoid duplication. The gravestone photographs are then transcribed by volunteers on the BillionGraves website, resulting in searchable digital data.
With a community of tens of millions of family history enthusiasts all around the world, MyHeritage brings a vast global volunteer base for collecting and transcribing gravestone photos using the BillionGraves application.
All records collected are made available for free on the BillionGraves and MyHeritage websites. The partnership with BillionGraves brings major benefits for families using MyHeritage to explore their past, as all users will receive free Record Matches – alerts about gravestone records that have been automatically matched to their ancestors, making it easy to make new discoveries. In addition to the photographs and GPS coordinates of the gravestones, an index of corresponding information, such as dates of birth and death, close family relatives and epitaphs, is made available to search for free on MyHeritage’s search engine for historical records, SuperSearch.
“We’re thrilled to embark on this global initiative with BillionGraves”, said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “Gravestones are among the most valuable information sources for family history research, and although there are many thousands of cemeteries worldwide, most of them have never been documented, and their information is not available online. Time is chipping away at the gravestones and many are becoming unreadable over the years, so it’s up to our generation to preserve them.”
“We’re delighted to work with MyHeritage on digitizing the world’s cemeteries”, said Hudson Gunn, President of BillionGraves. “At BillionGraves we are working to provide a comprehensive family history database for records and images from the world’s cemeteries—but it’s not something we can do alone. With MyHeritage’s support in mobilizing its massive user community and working with us to launch in 25 languages, we’ll be able to provide incredible value for millions of families and preserve this valuable data for generations to come.”
Over the coming weeks, MyHeritage users will receive documentation about the project and will be able to download the application via a special website designed for this project.
MyHeritage is a family history network helping millions of families around the world discover and share their legacy online. As technology thought leaders and innovators, MyHeritage is transforming family history into an activity that’s more accessible, exciting, and easier than ever before. MyHeritage empowers its global community of users with social crowdsourcing tools, a massive library of historical content, and powerful search and matching technologies. The service is available in 40 languages. For more information, visit www.myheritage.com.
Aaron Godfrey, PR Manager for MyHeritage
Phone: US +1-347-329-5461 | UK +44-208-816-7571
With more than 7 million headstone records created by 70,000 volunteers in just two years, BillionGraves is the trusted resource for accurate GPS gravestone and burial record data on the web. BillionGraves’ mobile GPS tracking technology in its mobile application perpetuates this progress, bringing a wealth of genealogical information right to your fingertips. For more information, visit www.billiongraves.com
Disclaimer: BillionGraves has not been acquired by MyHeritage and is still owned and operated by Otter Creek Holdings. BillionGraves has been and will continue to be a FREE resource for all.Read More
After months of work in response to hundreds of user requests, BillionGraves has added several new features designed to validate and enhance the headstone records found on BillionGraves.
Introducing BillionGraves “Supporting Records”
The Supporting Record feature now allows users to upload evidence-based documents that support the BillionGraves records that have been collected through our mobile Apps. This means that users are now able to upload headstones, birth/death, burial, marriage, cremation, and many other types of records WITHOUT NEEDING A SMART PHONE!
[NOTE] BillionGraves will continue to emphasize the use of our mobile application to upload VERIFIED HEADSTONE RECORDS with their accompanying GPS locations and will remain a FREE resource to all.
Over the last 2 years, thousands of volunteers have uploaded millions of headstone photos with accompanying GPS locations from every corner of the globe. These records are viewed everyday by researchers around the world because these are VALIDATED and ACCURATE records. No fabrications. No interpretations. No assumptions. Here is an example of the information found currently on BillionGraves.
BillionGraves Headstone Record Example
- Headstone Photo
- Exact GPS Coordinates
- Transcribed Headstone Data
- Full Name, Date of Birth/Death, Epitaph, etc.
Thousands of records are being uploaded every day and are breaking down genealogy brick walls and making connections that once seemed impossible. While working closely with our users and genealogists we found that there were many headstones and burials that just couldn’t be accounted for with our current systems; including unmarked graves, cremation scatterings, destroyed stones, and so on.
Our Supporting Record features eliminate this problem while maintaining the validity and accuracy of the BillionGraves database.
Our new Supporting Records feature allows users anywhere in the world to add evidence-based documents that validate and create additional insight into headstone records found on BillionGraves. The addition of these Supporting Records will serve as an invaluable tool to genealogists in their research.
Here are some examples of supporting records:
Supporting Record Types
- Birth/Death Certificates
- Marriage Certificates
- Burial Records
- Cremation Records
- Unmarked Graves
- Military Records
- Headstone records WITHOUT GPS coordinates
- Any other type of record that supports and validates any BillionGraves Headstone Records
Let’s face it, we’ve all been plagued with headaches caused by incorrect/assumed information in our family trees. BillionGraves’ Supporting Records IS the solution to your problems!
By adding and linking supporting documents to headstones on BillionGraves, we are able to connect the dots between each headstone and each member in your family tree by using EVIDENCE and not assumptions. Creating an accurate family history to pass on through the ages.
How to get started?
Supporting records are already appearing in the search results. Search now, to see our Supporting Records in action!
To add Supporting Records of your own:
- Log in to your BillionGraves account. (Don’t have an account? Register for FREE today!)
- Select “Add Supporting Record” from the “Tools” drop-down menu to add one record at a time.
- To upload multiple records at once, select “Add Batch of Supporting Records” from the “Tools” drop-down menu.
Have headstone images, birth/death records, or documentation of unmarked graves? Use the new Supporting Records feature on BillionGraves today!
We had an amazing start of the year creating more than 350,000 records from all over the world, especially Australia who is competing aggressively as our number 1 country for uploads! As the seasons change, we are excited to see what tremendous growth we will continue to see all over the world! Thanks to everyone who participated and made January a great month for photos and transcriptions!
So to continue the momentum, we are offering the next edition of the “Win the Pin” Contest!!
Each month you’ll get the chance to compete for the unique pin of the month. All you have to do to win the pin is to upload or transcribe enough images for BillionGraves to get a spot on the leaderboard by the end of the month. Those 50 Uploaders and 50 Transcribers will be the lucky winners of that month’s pin.
And finally; we are pleased to unveil February’s ‘Win the Pin’ contest design.
So here here the rules. You get on the leaderboard, whether for uploading photos or transcriptions, and you win. It’s that simple. Keep an eye on the leaderboard this month to make sure you get to win this pin.
-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. Prizes must be claimed by the 15th of the following month via email to qualify for shipment of prizes.
-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 the last day of the month.
A big thank you to all the transcribers and photographers who participated this month in the January ‘Win the Pin’ contest.
The cold weather and deep snow didn’t stop our dedicated volunteers from making this month the best January since we started two years ago. Together taking more than 159,851 photos and more than 346,033 records transcribed.
Here are the lucky winners of the first ever January ‘Win the Pin’ contest winners!
|Top Transcriber||Top Photographers|
|1. HonestAbe 12,640||1. Paulwuzhere 15,578|
|2. clyork0415 10,768||2. Lucinda7 14,488|
|3. keithbowden 9,782||3. David58 9,902|
|4. trishkovach 9,228||4. Jim Pack 5,993|
|5. Melyssawebb 8,594||5. kathleenba 5,628|
|6. StoneScriber 7,894||6. celestyna 5,292|
|7. Calopeman 5,769||7. calopeman 5,055|
|8. Pianomom3 5,550||8. NicksEagle 4,682|
|9. PookasMama 5,513||9. Sabrinabettridge 3,647|
|10. grump_redneck 5,301||10. Axemangraphics 2,918|
|11. MsXray40 5,179||11. mike flood 2,900|
|12. sabreid 5,5038||12. sunsearch 2,816|
|13. VeganHiker 5,008||13. Forestbank 2,793|
|14. Tombstoneguy 4,828||14. Tombstoneguy 2,454|
|15. KRobDFW 4,808||15. ryuyuki 2,433|
|16. ralph pierce 4,613||16. valmer 2,384|
|17. Alsher 4,525||17. jbdc_99 2,380|
|18. vblackledge 4,289||18. Whitejaegar 2,250
|19. Charlene 4,022||19. roni46 2,245|
|20. DdraigGoch 3942||20. STEVE N 2,095|
|21. BarbaraSch 3694||21. MsXray40 2,019|
|22. gopanowitz 3,645||22. kj5gcs 1,658|
|23. OurFamilyBefore 3,644||23. kblack 1,641|
|24. jbdc_99 3,516||24. jlarcol ,637|
|25. ljpatockhewitt 3,272||25. Rlturner53 1,577|
|26. MargieW 3,041||26. Alan 1,504|
|27. jaitken 2,946||27. TXGenealogist 1,485|
|28. ncritchlow 2,897||28. gpsguy 1,250|
|29. RachelE 2,875||29. TabathaFBrown 1,168|
|30. melohnt 2,867||30. yorksfive 1,025|
|31. brian 2,816||31. ellentserv ,1,002|
|32. tonicholiday 2,796||32. Quiet_stroll 994|
|33. guthrm 2,710||33. StaceyHooper 989|
|34. shazzyfeet 2,671||34. zaneermine 950|
|35. jlkuncl 2,658||35. George 921|
|36. kblack 2,546||36. OpiumEater 901|
|37. Mptothill 2,511||37. homerdcj 836|
|38. yorksfive 2,413||38. JoyR 2832|
|39. LHM 2,380||39. Joelbeevers 828|
|40. huskerken 2,380||40. CopCruisers 811|
|41. 1renglestead 2,352||41. h12tjp 806|
|42. Melany 2,345||42. thunderbird584 805|
|43. 10131307t 2,341||43. Dolle54 758|
|44. JohnDanll 2,331||44. DunmireEagleProject 751|
|45. Frostyfan 2,321||45. Will 741|
|46. deacant 2,264
||46. joyceboyle216 704|
|47. Hobbie 2,260||47. larry davis 691|
|48. reuben1 2,253||48. TelegramSam 689|
|49. roni46 2,235||49. jesscurren 688|
|50. maz591 2,018||50. Campbell2u 633|
If you are on this list, please make sure your email on your BillionGraves account is your correct current email address. We will be emailing you through the email on your account. You will need to provide us a shipping address where you would like your January Pin sent. So watch your inbox for that this week.
Thanks again to all who contributed this month! We sure appreciate all your many contributions!Read More
FamilySearch has teamed up with BillionGraves to “hasten the work” by organizing groups to taking photos of headstones around the world. Together this will increase the collection of headstones in an astounding rate.
Thanks FamilySearch, for continuing to help us reach our goal of 1 billion photographs and also thanks, Thom Reed, for your article on FamilySearch’s blog:
Wanted: FamilySearch Volunteers to
help BillionGraves Hasten the Work
BillionGraves is the fastest, easiest, and most efficient way to gather headstone data in the world. Using the BillionGraves app, images of headstones are captured with their GPS locations. These records are made available for free to millions of families around the globe. For over 2 years, BillionGraves has teamed up with FamilySearch on numerous headstone data gathering projects. In fact, in January 2014, BillionGraves was featured on Youth.LDS.org as part of the “Photograph a Cemetery” activity for youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Since the onset of the collaborative agreement between BillionGraves and FamilySearch, BillionGraves has provided FamilySearch with unique indexed records on FamilySearch.org that have aided millions in discovering their ancestors. Every headstone image on BillionGraves can be matched directly to an individual’s FamilySearch record page to populate their family tree and confirm vital information about that individual. By linking BillionGraves information to FamilySearch, you are helping people piece together their family stories one record at a time. Because BillionGraves is the only application in the world to include the GPS location of the record, millions have made connections that have gone well beyond the computer screen.
BillionGraves wants to assist in hastening the work of documenting our ancestors. We at FamilySearch invite any and all family history volunteers to register at BillionGraves.com and begin engaging in various BillionGraves projects. The best part about BillionGraves is that it is 100% FREE. A single BillionGraves volunteer can easily capture 500 images in a single hour; a well-organized group can photograph an entire cemetery in a single afternoon preserving thousands of headstones for generations.
Can’t find a BillionGraves project? Then create your own by inviting family and friends to take photos at your local cemetery! Volunteers doing the legwork are the heart of any cemetery project! But you don’t need to create a project to contribute. A couple hours on a Saturday can turn a trip to the local cemetery into a fun and fulfilling trip away from the television and with your family.
If you are interested in organizing a project for yourself or any size group, please visit the BillionGraves.com Contact Us page and the team at BillionGraves will reach out to you to help you make your project a success. Start the work now, to preserve the memories of our ancestors.
BillionGraves will be at RootsTech from February 6 – 8 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, UT. Come visit their interactive booth right next to ours, booth 815, to learn more