Wow! We’ve had record uploads every day so far in May! Keep up the good work—we’ll still need thousands more images, so let’s make the weekends our highest uploading days. Keep watching that Leaderboard to see how you’re doing—if you are among the top 25 transcribers OR picture takers on May 31, you get your choice of a free BillionGraves t-shirt or one free year of our great BillionGraves Plus Account.
It’s more fun to head to the cemetery with other people—plus, you can photograph an entire cemetery in just a few hours if you join forces!
Create a Facebook event to help you get the word out to your friends and family. You’ll be able to set up a meeting time and location for everyone to meet up and take pictures.
Facebook’s instructions on how to create an event:
- Go to the Events tab on the left side of your home page
- Click Create Event in the upper-right corner of the page
From here, you can customize the event, edit its privacy settings and invite guests. Please note that you must include an event name and time. For more information about Facebook events, click here.
Here is a template you can use to tell your friends and family about your event and answer some of the questions they may have:
Come join me at the cemetery to clean, photograph and document grave markers!
We will be photographing the headstones using the free BillionGraves iPhone and Android application.
What should I bring?
Bring your iPhone, Android phone or tablet (must have GPS), or your 3G iPad2 or 3G iPad3 (the 3G internet versions have GPS, the WiFi only do not have GPS), fully charged with the BillionGraves app already installed (download links are down below). Bring your car charger if you have one (GPS uses a lot of battery).
Register for an account and/or log in to the app before coming.
Do I need an iPhone or Android phone?
No. Many times the vital information on the grave markers are covered with grass clippings, leaves, flowers, pinwheels, or other decorations. We could use help clearing the markers of these items, so a photograph can be taken, then put the decorations back as they were.
If you do not have a device to take pictures with:
- Bring a soft broom or car snow brush to clean off grass and leaves.
- Bring a pair of gloves just in case a headstone has mud covering parts of it and needs the mud/dirt cleared off by hand.
- Bring a blanket to cast a shadow on gravestones that are facing the sun. The picture taker’s shadow and the reflection of the sunlight can make it difficult to read the vital information on the headstone.
- Bring your children. This is an excellent opportunity to help your children develop an appreciation for family history.
- You can also borrow a device from a willing friend or family member.
Can I use my digital camera?
Not to take pictures of the headstones, but you can bring one to document our activity and your family’s participation in this great work. There are other grave-finding websites that accept photos taken without GPS coordinates, but BillionGraves is the only service that has that important information.
More about BillionGraves
The BillionGraves apps are easy to use and free to install on your iOS and Android devices. The app geotags each picture you take with the exact GPS coordinates of the gravestone, making it a valuable resource for genealogy and family history enthusiasts searching for their ancestors. After taking the photos, you will upload the pictures to the BillionGraves.com website where thousands of volunteers are transcribing the images almost as quickly as they are added. Transcribing is also free. Once the records are transcribed, they are available to be searched, for free of course, by anybody who visits the BillionGraves.com website. Users can also find the exact, physical locations of their ancestors’ final resting places, and the app will actually direct them to their locations.
We hope to see as many people as possible attend. With enough participants, we can easily photograph the entire cemetery. Thank you!
We’re excited about this update for iOS devices. Go get the update today from the iTunes App Store. Some of the features and fixes included in this update are listed below.
- Use Indoors: Now you can use BillionGraves while you’re inside or under covered areas.
- Check-in and Share Records: You can check in at a location or share a record on Facebook or Twitter from your device. Let your friends and family know what you’re up to. Maybe they’ll come join you at the cemetery!
- No more In-App Purchase! Mobile records search is now completely free. Forever. In fact, everything in the app is free.
- Linking issue: The problem with linking images from the device is now fixed.
- The update handles users with a lot of pictures much better.
- You can use your new iPad 3G to take pictures!
- A few additional bug fixes
- Translation updates
- And much more!
Go get the update for your iPhone or iPad and keep taking pictures to help us reach a Million More in May!
From your Android or iPhone app, you can now access the Mobile Records Search for free.
The Mobile Records Search feature enables you to search for headstones on the go. While you are at a cemetery taking photos, you can search for specific names to find ancestors. When you find a headstone you want to view, tap on it, and you can view both the image of the headstone and a map of its location in the cemetery.
We hope you enjoy this great feature. To unlock this feature, tap on Records on the BillionGraves Home screen on your app. If you are having any problems accessing the Mobile Records Search, check your dashboard in the app to be sure you are signed in, then return to the Records view to begin your search. If you have any questions, feel free to contact support.
Users who purchased the records search (for $2.99) before it became free have been given a notifications package as a replacement for their purchase (a $4.99 value).
We’re unveiling new features on BillionGraves! All of the free features that you’ve come to enjoy are still free.
- BillionGraves Plus account
- Notification Packages
- Earn these new features for free!
By opening a Plus account, you can access all of the BillionGraves features.
- 30 Records Watches: A Record Watch means you’ve submitted a specific surname you’d like to monitor at BillionGraves. Whenever a headstone with your specified surname is transcribed, you are notified via email. With these notifications, you’ll always know the latest data on your family history.
- Virtual Walkthrough: from any record view, you can click on the Nearby Records tab, where you will be able to see surrounding headstones in that cemetery. This is a great way to learn additional information about other people buried in that cemetery. We hope you make valuable research connections as you experience the whole cemetery where your ancestor is buried.
- Mobile Records Search: You can search and view all BillionGraves records directly from your iPhone, iPad, or Android device in addition to searching on the web. This means that while you are in a cemetery, you’ll be able to lookup a name to help you find a specific headstone or specific surnames buried in that cemetery.
- Favorites: This feature is coming soon, but we’re really excited to share it with you. You’ll be able to keep track of all your favorite BillionGraves records in one place. Once you mark a record as a favorite, you’ll never have to search for it again; it will be easily accessible from your Favorites page.
The BillionGraves Plus account is only $9.99 per year. And if 30 Record Watches isn’t enough, you can purchase Notification Packages, which include 10 additional Record Watches. You can purchase a Notification Package even if you don’t have the Plus account. For more information on signing up for a BillionGraves Plus account, visit BillionGraves.com.
Earn New Features for Free
Because we love our volunteers, we have started a program to reward you for your hard work: you can earn features just by uploading new images! When you upload just 500 images, you will receive 1 Records Watch (you can be emailed notifications when a certain surname has been added to the BillionGraves database). At 1000 images, you’ll receive an additional Records Watch. Then, you’ll continue to earn features for every 1000 images you upload. Visit the Upgrade page for more details. We know you’ll enjoy making a habit out of recording headstones, and we want to reward you for your efforts.
Of course, all of these features only serve to enhance your experience on BillionGraves. Our database of records will always be free. You do not need a BillionGraves Plus account in order to continue using BillionGraves.
We hope you are as excited about these new features as we are. Thanks again to all of our volunteers—image uploaders and transcribers alike—we couldn’t do it without you! Start uploading more pictures so you can earn your first Records Watch!