To take photos for BillionGraves, all you really need is you phone, right? True, but you won’t regret having a few extra items with you to make your trip to the cemetery as smooth as silk. We’ve compiled a list of suggestions for you to pack in a light backpack or bag. As long as you have your BillionGraves backpack, you’ll never have to leave the cemetery!
What to pack in your BillionGraves backpack (besides your phone, of course):
- Water for drinking
- Water for wetting down old stones for readability
- A hat
- Phone charger for your car (and be sure your phone is fully charged, too!)
- Work gloves for cleaning off headstones
- Small pad and pen, in case you want to note a hard-to-read stone and write down the transcription
- Broom and dustpan set for cleaning off headstones
- A sheet or umbrella to create shade over headstones
Any other suggestions? Leave them in the comments!
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!
We had a record-breaking weekend this Memorial Day weekend, and we are so appreciative of everyone’s efforts. Some of you noticed that services were down for a period yesterday—one of our servers was acting up because of the huge amounts of traffic to our site and huge numbers of photo uploads this weekend. The problem was resolved within a few hours. If you had any problems uploading photos or transcribing images, try again today and everything should be working fine.
Are you on the Leaderboard?
You only have a few days left to take action to guarantee your spot on the Leaderboard. Don’t forget that now the top 50 transcribers and the top 50 picture-takers get prizes for being on the Leaderboard at the end of the month. We’ve updated the Leaderboard for the month to show what category you’re in and what prize you will receive if you maintain your spot. The prizes are pretty awesome, including a year’s subscription to BG+, BillionGraves t-shirts, and Record Watches. If you’re not on the Leaderboard yet, check your suggested goal on that page to see what it would take to get there. You may only need a few more photos or transcriptions to be in the top 50!
May is ending on Thursday, and your last chance to get photos uploaded or images transcribed is Thursday, May 31 at 11:59 PM GMT (7:59 PM EDT). That’s just a few days away!
Many people have been asking us lately why they can’t submit photos taken with traditional cameras to the BillionGraves database. The BillionGraves database is unique in that it contains GPS information.
By adding GPS data to each headstone image, cemetery and location data is attached to the image. This means that when you are researching your ancestors, you’ll be able to search for the transcribed headstone, see an image of that headstone, find out where in the world that headstone is located, and learn more about the cemetery it was found in. This wealth of information will make a big difference in your research.
GPS Makes Visiting the Cemetery Easier
Along the same vein, the GPS data allows you to visit a cemetery in person and walk directly to the headstone you want to view in the cemetery. The free Mobile Records Search on your iPhone or Android device is handy for finding the headstone you’re looking for. So if it’s your first time in a particular cemetery, you’ll be able to find that headstone in no time. And if you’ve been to that cemetery dozens of times? No more counting trees, memorizing certain fence posts, or documenting the number of paces to find your loved one.
You Can Find Other Relatives Buried in the Same Cemetery
Another advantage of keeping the GPS information with the headstone images is that it allows you to see all other headstones located in that cemetery. How great is it that you can see direct neighbors of the headstone you’re researching? This is a huge help in making valuable family history connections. You’ll be able to find relatives you didn’t know existed.
Not all GPS’s are Created Equal
What about cameras with GPS data in them? We’ve looked into using those photos, and the GPS is neither accurate nor reliable enough to use in our database. With our phone app, we can verify that users are in a cemetery, and because of this, information about cemeteries and locations is standardized in our database. So, at this time, we aren’t accepting photos from cameras, even if they have GPS.
You Can Still Add Additional Photos to BillionGraves Records
What if you have a photo of a headstone for a record that already exists? You can add that photo to the record! From the History tab on any Records View, you can add both personal histories and any additional photos of the person or the headstone. These photos do not have to be GPS encoded, since they are tied to the BillionGraves record with the GPS encoded headstone photo. This is a great way to create a robust record for your ancestors.
Thanks for your participation in BillionGraves! If you have additional questions, contact support.