In today’s world, technology is growing at a rapid pace. It is now routinely found in areas that heretofore had not even been imagined by our parents, let alone our grandparents. One such area where you may not have considered how technology could be used is in our cemeteries. Yes, that’s right, I said cemeteries. And, of course, it is the youth who lead the way.
“A couple of months ago I was looking for an Eagle Scout project with some of my friends, and my mom showed me a website called billiongraves.com that basically is trying to record images of gravestones and log their GPS locations. Since I am into using technology, that appealed to me right away,” said Cade Fuhriman, a 16-year-old high school student from Salt Lake City, Utah.
Cade’s mother is Rachel (Frieden) Fuhriman, daughter of Martin and Deb Frieden, who grew up in rural Elgin and graduated from Valley High School in 1996. When Cade discovered that all the cemeteries in Utah had already been documented, his mother had an idea.
“I knew of a place just down that road from where my parents live, the Apostolic Church Cemetery, that would be perfect for a project like this. We checked it out and no one had done anything with it yet, so here we are,” explained Rachel, who now lives with her husband Shawn in Salt Lake City.
The Apostolic Church Cemetery, located southeast of Elgin on Abbey Road, was mowed and cared for by the Frieden family for a number of years. Cade estimates that there are more than 400 graves to be photographed and transcribed in the cemetery, several of which belong to his relatives. As we walked among the grave markers, he stopped to do a little cleaning and take a photo of his great-great-grandfather’s grave, Jacob Friederich Sr.
“There are many people buried here that are our relatives, including some with the last name of Friederich, Schneider, Butikofer, and Frieden. It’s just amazing that you can do something like this, which could be very helpful to someone searching for a relative who doesn’t live close by,” said Deb Frieden, Cade’s grandmother who lives just down the road from the cemetery.
The goal of billiongraves.com is to preserve at least one billion graves by using modern technology to capture images of headstones with their GPS locations so that users worldwide can access those records from anywhere. The site can be searched by location of a known cemetery or by an individual’s name. It is relatively easy to use and anyone can create an account for free.
As Cade began the project, he expected that preparation and organization would be the most difficult part of the task.
“Doing some cleaning of the stones so that they will be readable when they are photographed will take some time, and I will have some family members helping me with that. I also have a group of 8 to 10 fellow Scouts who will help me transcribe all the information from the stones into billiongraves.com. I have to make sure that we aren’t redoing graves that may have already been done and that we aren’t overlooking any, as well,” said the aspiring Eagle Scout.
Fuhriman is a member of Troop 7630, which is in the Great Salt Lake Council in Utah. He is hoping that after he returns home, he can complete the project within a couple of weeks. As of this writing, 502 images had been entered into billiongraves.com for the Apostolic Cemetery, which is actually located just across the county line in Clayton County.
“When I was researching the Apostolic Cemetery, I noticed that of the 127 cemeteries listed in Clayton County, only four of them had documented photos. There seems to be plenty of opportunity for anyone else who is interested in doing something like this to help document their family or community history,” observed Cade.
Billiongraves.com has partnered with familysearch.org and myheritage.com to assist those who have a desire to discover more about their family history through the use of technology. Anyone who creates an account on billiongraves.com can become involved in the transcription of gravestone photos already uploaded by others like Cade. If you are interested in taking photos of gravestones, the first step is to determine if a cemetery has been documented and to what extent. After downloading the billiongraves.com app on a smart phone, you can visit the cemetery to take photographs and add to the site any information that has not already been recorded.
It might interest some to know that a search of Fayette County on billiongraves.com currently lists 59 cemeteries, of which only 11 have documented photos. On your next trip to any cemetery in Fayette County, you might want to consider taking your smart phone along and playing a role in the preservation of your community’s history.
Fuhriman’s interest in technology and his experience as a family historian consultant for his congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City made this project a perfect fit for him. Combining those two things, as well as the connection his own family has to the Apostolic Church Cemetery has been rewarding for him.
“I hope that when this project is completed, it will benefit people here as well as people who may not live in this area but do have an interest because their family has a history here. Hopefully having the information available online will help people make connections that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise,” closed Fuhriman.
While technology may frustrate us from time to time, there is no doubting that it can often be used to turn a daunting task into a more manageable one. By helping to create access to information in cemeteries across the country and throughout the world, you just might be able to help someone find that lost relative for whom they have been searching. Or, like Cade Fuhriman, you might learn a little about your own family as well.
BillionGraves is thrilled to announce our new partnership with Tributes.com!
We are pleased to announce that our records will be made available on the Tributes.com website in an effort to make our valuable headstone information with GPS locations more readily available to those friends and relatives who are looking for ways to remember their ancestors. About the partnership, Hudson Gunn—President of BillionGraves—said:
“We are excited to have partnered with Tributes.com to feature our rich headstone data and working with their users to document and preserve loved one’s records around the world. Working with Tributes.com will allow us to continue our mission to preserve and share this information with the world.”
Elaine Haney, CEO and President of Tributes, Inc., said
“BillionGraves and their large volunteer network are creating a unique database of headstone information and content that will be very valuable to our users, helping them to visualize, locate, and where necessary, to newly document, both historic and current burial plots of family and friends.”
We are very pleased to have partnered with such a great company and look forward to getting our records out to those people who will appreciate them the most. Partnerships like this ensure that BillionGraves will be able to move forward and continue to make these records available free of charge!
For more information, read the official press release.
BillionGraves is and will always continue to be a free resource to you and the world. BillionGraves is still fully owned by Otter Creek Holdings, LLC. This partnership in no way denotes any kind of company acquisition by Tributes or any of its affiliates.
In an effort to provide better content and to make records found on headstones more readily available to genealogists around the world, we are happy to announce that we have partnered with MyHeritage!
This partnership will expand the reach of BillionGraves records to more than 75 million registered users on MyHeritage—an enormous international network of trees and historical records for discovering family history.
MyHeritage is an amazing company backed by amazing technology and a database filled with several billion records! These world-wide record collections include:
- 1.5 billion exclusive family tree records
- Birth, marriage and death records
- Millions of Newspapers, back to 1739
- Vital records from 16 countries
- Military and immigration records
- Census records back to 1790
- And now more than 5.5 million headstone records from BillionGraves.
In addressing this great news, Hudson Gunn—President of BillionGraves—said, “Since day one, our goal has been to document these headstones and make them available to everyone in the world; and today we take a giant step forward in achieving that goal. Partnering with MyHeritage is an important milestone in the exponential growth of BillionGraves, solidifying our position internationally as a key resource to families looking for accurate vital records.”
Russ Wilding, Chief Content Officer at MyHeritage said “We’re excited to partner with BillionGraves and Tributes.com to deliver such fascinating and meaningful content to our users. This is the type of information that adds color to our family histories and helps even experienced family historians break through brick walls in their research.”
A Special Offer for You!
We have teamed up with MyHeritage to give the friends and family of BillionGraves exclusive special 50% discount on MyHeritage’s annual PremiumPlus + Data membership! This combination of a PremiumPlus account, which provides space for an unlimited family tree, along with the Data Membership which gives unlimited access to billions of historical records, plus the automatic matching technologies which are included in this package is something you can’t find anywhere else!
- Click NOW to claim this limited time offer from MyHeritage! **Offer expired**
- When you purchase this special MyHeritage offer, a large portion of the proceeds will be given back to BillionGraves; these proceeds will be used to continue and improve our service.
This is the first time we have ever promoted a product like this to our users and we wouldn’t be promoting a product or company that we didn’t trust and believe in ourselves. With that said, we couldn’t be happier to partner with such a great company that shares our desires and commitments to enriching and connecting families around the world through this information.
Thank you again for your countless hours contributing to BillionGraves; we are extremely grateful! We look forward to this new partnership with MyHeritage and the exciting new features and advancements coming to BillionGraves in the upcoming months!
This is a promotional offering sponsored by MyHeritage and is NOT required to make contributions to or gain access to the BillionGraves website. BillionGraves is and will always continue to be a free resource to you and the world. When you purchase this special MyHeritage offer, a large portion of the proceeds will be given back to BillionGraves. These proceeds will be used to continue and improve our service and maintain BillionGraves as a FREE resource.
New Tricks and Treats for Halloween – Search for Your Ancestors’ Gravestones and Obituaries Online at MyHeritage
MyHeritage teams up with BillionGraves and Tributes.com, adding millions of gravestone records and obituaries to its searchable database of historical records.
TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah & BOSTON, MA & KAYSVILLE, Utah – October 30, 2013 – MyHeritage, the popular online family history network, has partnered with BillionGraves and Tributes.com, making new gravestone and obituary collections available to search on its service. With advanced technologies enabling the automatic discovery of these records, MyHeritage makes it easier for families everywhere to shed light on their family history.
MyHeritage has licensed 5.5 million records and images of gravestones from BillionGraves, bringing its total collection of gravestone records to more than 100 million. Packed with valuable information that helps tell the story of an ancestor’s life, such as birth and death dates, family members and epitaphs written by loved ones, gravestones often provide an emotional turning-point in family history research. These records are available for free on SuperSearch, MyHeritage’s advanced search engine for historical records.
By partnering with Tributes.com, MyHeritage has added 3.5 million obituaries to its search engine. MyHeritage users will enjoy access to additional information about their ancestors, as obituaries help paint a more colorful picture of the life of deceased family members.
Users with family trees on MyHeritage will receive Record Matches – alerts about any gravestones or obituaries (amongst other records) that have been automatically matched to their ancestors.
The addition of these new collections highlights MyHeritage’s commitment to increase the quantity and quality of records available for its users. It follows MyHeritage’s announcement earlier this month about its strategic partnership with FamilySearch to bring more than 2 billion additional records to MyHeritage.
“We’re excited to partner with BillionGraves and Tributes.com to deliver such fascinating and meaningful content to our users”, said Russ Wilding, Chief Content Officer at MyHeritage. “This is the type of information that adds color to our family histories and helps even experienced family historians break through brick walls in their research.”
“Partnering with MyHeritage is an important milestone in the exponential growth of BillionGraves, solidifying our position as a key international resource for families seeking accurate vital records,” said Hudson Gunn, President of BillionGraves.
With over half of the users on the BillionGraves network under the age of 30, BillionGraves’ free mobile technology reaches beyond the “traditional” genealogist and caters to a new rising generation of enthusiastic contributors.
“At Tributes.com we believe that every life has a story that deserves to be told and preserved”, said Elaine Haney, CEO & President of Tributes.com. “We’re delighted to be able to extend access to these records and stories to MyHeritage’s huge global audience, helping millions more make meaningful discoveries about their ancestors.”
Through one centralized national web destination, with 95 million and growing current and historical death records dating back to the 1930s, Tributes.com has made obituary and online memorial service information easily accessible.
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 unique social 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 5.5 million headstone records created by over 57,000 volunteers in just two years, BillionGraves is the trusted resource for accurate and reliable GPS headstone and burial record data on the web. With users in more than 212 countries, the website is available in 11 different languages. Over 13 thousand records are added each day to the BillionGraves network and four thousand new registered users join every month. BillionGraves’ mobile GPS tracking technology on its mobile application perpetuates this progress, bringing a wealth of genealogical information right to your fingertips.
Tributes.com is the online source for current local and national obituary news and a supportive community where friends and family can come together during times of loss and grieving to honor the memories of their loved ones with lasting personal tributes.
The brand has experienced rapid growth since its launch in the fall of 2008, and is now relied on by thousands of funeral homes and over four million unique consumers each month to publish and locate obituary news. For more information about Tributes.com, visit the website at www.tributes.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
BillionGraves is excited to announce our new partnership with GenealogyBank. This is a very unique partnership because you now have access to over a billion supporting records that will solve the mysteries in YOUR family tree!
GenealogyBank and BillionGraves stand side by side to provide you the records you need to fill in those gaps, verify your family tree, and perpetuate the stories of your ancestors through:
- Birth and Marriage records
- Various news articles from historical newspapers
- Passenger lists
- Military and government records found in historical books and documents
- And more!
Because of this partnership, you are now able to access that information as easily as using our search page.
Now when you do a search on BillionGraves.com, you will notice that a green bar is displayed that says “Search for <name> on GenealogyBank“. Clicking on that bar will extend your search by taking you to the GenealogyBank site. If you already have a GenealogyBank subscription, log in and you will automatically be directed to any related records.
If you don’t already have an account, sign up for one (right now there is a 30-day risk-free trial available) to see how GenealogyBank can greatly aid in your research!
Don’t let this valuable information slip through your fingertips by letting your family stories go undiscovered and untold!