The summer months are coming to a close here at BillionGraves and that means it’s time for one last summer competition! Let the image rush begin!
The goal this month is to get as many images as possible while the weather’s still good and before school starts up again. So get the whole family out this month and take pictures while you still can!
How to Win:
All you have to do to win one of our great prizes (see below) is to be in the top 15 on the leaderboard by August 31 at midnight (GMT)!
The top 3 uploaders will receive a “BillionGraves Top Contributor” fanny pack complete with waterbottle holder, 8 card holder, 2 pen loops, and a key clip inside. It’s the perfect pack to take with you to the cemetery!
-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 no later than midnight (GMT) on August 31.
Enjoy your time visiting a new (or familiar) cemetery, take lots of pictures, and HAVE FUN BillionGraves-ing!
As of today, here are the numbers for the results so far of Million More in May:
158,725 images uploaded by 409 people
152,946 records transcribed by 709 people
296 cemeteries added with
Over 80,000 images queue, ready to be transcribed.
We are well on our way to a million! However—as you can see—we still have quite a way to go. And that means we need YOUR help! We know a million is quite the lofty goal, but it would be a huge milestone for BillionGraves. One that YOU could say you were a part of!
So get out to your local cemetery as much as you can these last two weeks. Remember, Memorial day coming up (on May 27th) for those of you in the U.S., which is a great time to take some photos while you’re already out in the cemetery!
Let’s see if together we can accomplish something big. Like a MILLION kind of big.
In transcribing images for BillionGraves as well as other genealogical records, I have been extremely frustrated in trying to decipher blurry, obscured, or faded records. I feel personally responsible when I can’t correctly transcribe an image because I know that means it won’t be accessible for anyone to search for later on. And that’s the whole goal of our project, right?
So I’ve compiled 7 ways you—as as a photographer of these valuable, fading records—can improve every image you take and therefore make both transcribers and genealogists love you forever (and I mean forever)!
1. Frame your photo well.
The headstone you are photographing should fill up as much of the frame as possible without cutting off any of the headstone.
2. Take pictures at the right angle.
The more straight-on your picture is, the better. Taking pictures from any angle besides straight on can distort the words on the headstone and make it nearly impossible to transcribe. For upright monuments, bend down to get a better angle for the picture.
3. Link images correctly.
Some headstones are either too large or are actually made up of two connected headstones. If this is the case, take a picture of the WHOLE headstone first, then take close ups on the different sections of the stone.
MAKE SURE the little chain link in the bottom left corner of your screen is highlighted in blue before taking the close ups!
4. Avoid taking blurry images.
Allow your camera to focus before clicking the green picture button. It’s very tempting to rush through the picture taking process in order to capture more images, but make sure you’re not forfeiting your images because you’re going too fast.
5. Clear off any debris before you take the picture.
Make sure you set aside any decorations and remove any of the debris/growth that is covering up any part of the headstone (you might want to take some grass clippers with you).
And don’t forget to move your feet out of the picture!
6. Make sure the lighting is right.
The best time to take pictures is when the sky is slightly overcast. Different times of the day are better for taking pictures of certain kinds of headstones. In any case, pay attention to how light or dark your picture is. Schedule your trips to the cemetery when the lighting is right and beware of shadows—including your own!
Helpful hint: Consider taking an umbrella, flashlight, mirror, or grab the sunshade from your car to either block out the harsh sunlight or to reflect some light on the back side of headstones that are in the shadows.
7. View your images before you leave the cemetery.
Don’t forget to make sure they turned out okay! This is the equivalent of checking your answers before you turn in your test: go back and review your photos so every record on BillionGraves will get an A for Accuracy!
What things have you found make the best pictures? Anything I missed? I’d love to hear from both photographers AND transcribers!
BillionGraves gained a lot of momentum in May, and we are thrilled with the growth we’re experiencing. Let’s keep up the momentum and celebrate!
For the month of June, the Leaderboard will show which region around the world is gathering the most new uploads. Regions are broken down into US states, Canadian provinces, and countries. Check up on your state, province, or country regularly this month to make sure it is doing its part. You should also check up on regions you want to collect research from—are people contributing in that part of the world?
When you look at the Leaderboard this month, you’ll see a beautiful map of both the United States and the whole world. The more green a region is, the higher its ranking.
Below the map is a breakdown of the top 25 regions for the month. You’ll see a number to the right of the region showing the number of uploads in the last 5 days. With this number, you can tell if your region is still working hard to maintain its spot on the Leaderboard!
At the time I wrote this post, Pennsylvania was in the lead, with Utah and Georgia close behind. And two countries made the list—The Netherlands and the UK!
Don’t worry, the regular user-based Leaderboard can be found just below the region-based one, so you can still track your own progress against other BillionGravers.
Are you in a State (or province, or country) of Growth this month?
Congratulations! We had a monumental month at BillionGraves, and it’s all thanks to you. At BillionGraves, we’re all about bigger and better goals. Even our name is an audacious goal: One Billion Graves. Some people think it’s an impossible number, but there are truly a billion headstones out there, waiting to be documented and mapped.
Our Million in May goal was one of those bigger and better goals we like to set. During May 2012, our database received hundreds of thousands of new records. We had 2,825 new users sign up with BillionGraves. Over 500 users uploaded their first picture this month. Because of all this new participation, our database will be sure to grow more quickly moving forward. We saw new cemeteries being photographed all over the world, and we added 662 new cemeteries to the database. Previously, the month with the highest number of new records was April 2012. May was 3 times more successful than that! We did in one month what we did in our first 7 months last year. Our average daily upload has increased by 300%. Wow! The amount of growth has been huge, and again, we thank all of our volunteers for your hard work!
What’s Next? BillionGraves: In a State of Growth
We love the energy and enthusiasm you BillionGravers have shown, so let’s all keep going through June! June is going to be all about the progress of states, provinces, and countries around the world. The Leaderboard will show which US state, Canadian province, or country is producing the most new data! You’ll be able to see how well your state, province, or country is doing, and you’ll also be able to check on the progress of the states, provinces, and countries you want to research! We’re excited about the growth we’ve already experienced, and we are confident that June will be another epic month.
Congratulations to those who made the Leaderboard in May! Check out the results below. If you’re a winner, we will be contacting you via email soon to get you your prizes!