The BillionGraves team is proud to announce that we have reached 6,000,000 records!
We are so thrilled about the wonderful progress being made and are excited for the next million records! We couldn’t have done it without the wonderful contributors who are visiting and photographing cemeteries throughout the world as well as all those transcribing all those images!
You can help contribute to the cause by transcribing a few of the thousand of images waiting for transcription! Thank you all for your amazing contributions!
* Countries include: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The Netherlands, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States.
We are often contacted by people who have found errors on individual records on our site and are asked how they can be edited. This is actually a very simple process once you know where to go.
Keep in mind, all of our records are transcribed by volunteers, so occasionally there could be a typo or an error made. That’s why BillionGraves gives registered users the ability to fix any mistakes or typos on record pages.
Here are the 5 steps to editing a BillionGraves record.
1. Make sure you have registered for a BillionGraves account and are logged in.
2. Navigate to the individual records page you want to edit and click on the “edit” button.
3. Change any incorrect information.
This pop-up window will appear where you can change or add any information to any of the following fields.
In this case, I want to delete this comma that shouldn’t be there, so I’ll just hit backspace once my cursor’s in that box.
4. Hit save.
You’ll find this button in the bottom right corner of the editing window.
Once you do this, you will see the changes reflected on the individual’s record page. It is now saved to the database!
Please keep in mind that the information you transcribe should be the information on the headstone even if the headstone is incorrect. If you know for a fact that the headstone has the wrong information on it, please don’t change the information that is transcribed on the headstone. You can make note of the discrepancy under the “personal history” section on the record.
And that’s all there is to it! If you have any further questions, comment below or contact us at email@example.com.
“I searched Joshua’s Dad’s name on Ancestry.com and found 3 documents that were for sure for him. I was able to find his social security number, and found that it was issued in Michigan in 1980. And through Facebook I’m pretty sure I was able to find his Uncle (Dad’s Brother) in Houston, Texas along with a phone number he had posted on one of his photos. So I’m praying that this story has a very happy outcome and Josh is reunited with his Dad’s side of the family.”
Sure enough, a few days later I received an email from Josh saying that with the help of the blog post, Christie, and a few other people who reached out to him, he had been able to locate his family members on his father’s side. He is so grateful for everyone who helped in his search.
THANK YOU BillionGravers for reaching out and helping Josh find his family. You are truly amazing people.
Josh never knew his father; in fact, he was told that his father was murdered. And that’s about all he knew until a few weeks ago.
Actually, he’s only been able to piece together just a few bits of information throughout the years. No one on Josh’s mother’s side of the family would ever talk about his father, and he never knew any of his father’s family because of it.
Josh was born in Michigan, so he knew his parents were together there for at least some amount of time. His mother did say that his father was a “migrant worker” and that meant his father and family moved around a lot. He was told his father worked on farms and other places in Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, and even helped moved the Texas pipeline at one point.
When he was only 8 years old, his mom told Josh that his dad had been murdered. What the circumstances were of that murder, his mother wouldn’t say.
“I don’t even know if that was true,” Josh admitted, “because of the fact that she always tries to hide information from me about my father’s family and about him. She didn’t like telling me that.”
Josh wasn’t sure what to think until a few years later (at age 16) when he was spending time with his grandmother. She was drunk and accidentally let it slip that his father had, in fact, passed away. This wasn’t the first time Josh heard this, but somehow this time was different. He was older this time and was able to fully grasp what that meant: he would never know his father.
Shortly after that, Josh moved out and has lived on his own all around the United States (and even in Mexico for a little while) until two months ago when he got married and moved to South Dakota. He has two stepsons with his first child—a baby girl—on the way.
In fact, he was about ready to just give up. But then one day, “for some reason I told myself to try looking again” Josh said. So he Googled his father’s name and one image taken during Connor’s Eagle project popped up. The name and dates matched what Josh was looking for. He had found his father!
“It meant the world to me when I saw the headstone and realized that it was my dad.” Josh said. “I’m not one to cry, [but] my eyes watered up knowing it was something that I thought I’d never find. It just touched my heart and I would like to thank [Connor], who made it possible.”
When Connor found out what his Eagle project had done for Josh, he said “Wow, maybe I was meant to do that cemetery.” His original plan was to photograph a cemetery that was closer to where he lived, but it fell through so he chose Calvary Hills.
Perhaps it was meant to be.
Now, thanks to Connor, Josh has a starting point in finding his lost father’s family. He plans to take a trip to Texas as soon as he can. He wants to find out anything he can about his father’s life and see if he can find any living relatives.
“I want them to know they have family too!” Josh says. “Whether it’s a great-niece, or a grandkid, they have them. We’re out here!”
Josh will continue his search for his paternal family, but would love any help he can get. When Josh contacted the funeral director in Texas, she was unable to give Josh any help because it’s been so long since his father’s death. So if you are related or know of anyone who could be related to Bret Alan VanDreumel, please comment below or contact Josh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You just never know how powerful a picture can be or what it might mean for someone. For Josh, it means that he can start getting to know the father he never had.
UPDATE: To find out if Josh found his family, read the rest of the story.
Happy Memorial Day weekend to those in the US! At a time when we pause to remember those who fought for our freedom, we visit our cemeteries and show our love with tokens and kind words. In honor of Memorial Day, some members of the BillionGraves team put together a fun video about finding your ancestors’ headstones using BillionGraves.
You may have seen the good news: the BillionGraves Index is now available through FamilySearch! Now when you conduct a search on FamilySearch, BillionGraves data will be included in the results. You can also choose to search through just the BillionGraves Index, if you want to narrow your results. BillionGraves is a great genealogical resource, and we’re excited to have this new avenue to access our GPS-encoded headstone data. FamilySearch also provided a great article about getting started with BillionGraves on their blog last week.
A Few Clarifications
We’ve been checking the comments on some message boards and we want to clarify two things:
1. The data on BillionGraves is created by the public. We respect that and we intend to always make the database free for the public to use.
2. You don’t necessarily need a data plan to use BillionGraves. We’ve looked into the $150 Samsung Galaxy Player, which has GPS, WiFi, and a camera, and it works great. You won’t be able to see that you’re in a specific cemetery, but don’t worry, we’ll take care of that on our end, and your pictures will be added to the correct cemetery.
Don’t forget to check the Leaderboard this weekend to see what you need to do to get on it! (Or stay on it, if you’re already there.) Have a great weekend and keep adding photos for Million More in May!