You’ve probably already seen the results of the event we planned to map out part of a Utah cemetery; now try to create some similar results in your area. If you know enough BillionGravers in your area, let them all know a place and a time to get together and snap photos. If you don’t know of any in your area, try contacting a local genealogical society and volunteering to organize an event for its members, or recruit friends and family to help you (a family picnic in the cemetery?). Once you decide on a place and time, let me know about it (kristy.stewart [at] billiongraves.com) so I can announce it here and try to get even more people to attend. Afterwards, let me know a little bit about your area and the stones you mapped out.
At least one BillionGraver would like to plan a BillionGraves event: his name is Matt Hall and you may have seen him commenting here on the blog. He’d like to plan an event in Northern California, but he doesn’t know if there are any other cemetery mappers up in his area. So if you live in Northern California, or if you know people who live in Northern California and would be interested in BillionGraves, post here in the comments so Matt can try to get a solid cemetery-mapping squad together.Read More
Our cemetery mapping trip celebrating Utah’s Pioneer Day was a definite success: American Fork Cemetery is now 2402 images richer. A small group of 15 BillionGraves contributors gathered in the cemetery and in an hour or so had recorded over a third of the grounds. Some people stopped by after a weekend bike ride; others came from the next valley over to help us map the history the cemetery had to offer.
|Our awesome mappers (minus some who had to leave early and me,
because I’m taking the photo and I’m not nearly as
awesome as they are).
|Finn (a transcriber) sweeps a stone before
I take a photo.
|My mother holds up a blanket so I can get a good photo.|
Since we did our mapping in the morning, many of the headstones had ideal light. However, a few of them ended up with partial shadows cast by trees or other less-than-desirable circumstances, so we made our own lighting using some basics that I always keep in my car. (I’ve recommended multiple times that you avoid casting shadows, but that is mostly to avoid partial shadows, which can toy with your photo’s contrast and make it difficult to read. We used a blanket I keep in my car’s back seat to cast complete shadows when a headstone was under a tree or something else immovable.)
The props we found most useful were my blanket and our transcriber friend’s broom, but I would have liked to have a powerful flashlight. Some light-colored stones didn’t have much contrast on the lettering, and a mirror or flashlight could have targeted some light at just the right angle to bring out the words.
517 in Mount Pleasant Cemetery (Gravette, Arkansas, USA)
- Search records that have already been transcribed from within the app (searching on the website is still, of course, free).
- View a list of transcribed records whose GPS tags are near your current location.
- View an already transcribed photo on the map along with your current location.
|Use Records View to navigate
through a large cemetery.
So if you’ve been holding off on buying the iPhone app, hold off no longer. If you have friends or family members who haven’t gotten it yet, let them know about this opportunity to get an expanded version of the app for a dollar off the asking price. After we release version 1.2, they’ll be able to get the basic features (find/add cemeteries, collect/upload photos) for free, so if $1.99 is still too much for them, they don’t have to wait long to get the BillionGraves app.
This Sunday in Utah (USA) is a holiday called Pioneer Day, when Utahns celebrate the pioneers who first trekked across America’s Great Plains and into the Rocky Mountains to settle the valleys of northern Utah. In case you weren’t already aware, the BillionGraves team is based in Utah, and we’ve decided to celebrate by mapping out graves, some of which belong to pioneer ancestors.
We’ll be meeting at the American Fork Cemetery at 8:00 a.m. this Saturday morning (7/23/2011) to map out as much of the cemetery as we can. If you’re in the area, please come join us. The American Fork Cemetery has some wonderful history inside. We won’t be there too long, probably half an hour to an hour (unless we’re having too much fun or someone really wants to make it onto the Leaderboard). We’ll have some light breakfast-style refreshments to start the morning off right in a peaceful cemetery.
What: Pioneer Day Cemetery Mapping & Breakfast Treats
Where: American Fork Cemetery
When: 8–9:00 a.m. 7/23/2011. (show up when you can, leave early if you need to)
Who: Us, you, and anyone you can bring along with you. The more the merrier (and the faster we can map the cemetery).
For those of you who aren’t in Utah, I’d still love to see the photos you can collect this weekend. And we’ll report back to let you know how our first BillionGraves event works out.Read More
Now you can see all the BillionGraves activity from your dashboard. We’ve added an activity monitor and news feed to the BillionGraves website. Once you log in, you’ll see your dashboard, and in the window just below your profile picture is a set of scrolling news items. This window will display new batches of images, recently added cemeteries, new blog posts, and other items of interest.
The activity monitor will make it easier to see when there’s progress in the BillionGraves effort. (When the photo collectors and transcribers are keeping pace with each other, it’s hard to tell that anything’s happening.) It can also help you see when cemeteries and photos are added to areas that pertain to your research.
New batches of photos and cemetery additions may take some time to reach the activity monitor. Cemeteries need to be approved before they show up in searches or in the monitor, and we don’t want to report a batch of photos before the whole collection has been uploaded (otherwise the news feed will be full of announcements of 1–2 photos when a single 498-photo announcement would have done just as well). Even though the new items won’t strictly be in real time, they’ll still be an easy way to keep your fingers on the BillionGraves pulse.Read More