Training and Help Video Series
Ten’s of thousands of records are created each day on the BillionGraves website. Occasionally mistakes are made during the transcription process that creates incomplete, inaccurate, or false records. This is VERY unfortunate as this makes the photo unsearchable to genealogists and impossible to sync with partners.
Headstones are a treasure trove of information, and EVERY headstone and contribution is important! So today we will discuss the proper method to find, edit, and fix improper transcriptions found on the BillionGraves website.
Watch the video below:
If you are new to BillionGraves, “Transcribing” refers to a process where a user records the information found on a headstone photo in order to make it searchable on the website. You may be familiar with other similar terms that are used in the genealogy industry like “indexing”. Let’s get started.
1. Why Edit Improper Transcriptions:
You may be wondering why BillionGraves wants you, the user, to edit improper transcriptions. It’s simple…We can’t always see the millions of records circulating the website so with your help we are able to find these records and make them much easier to locate.
When a record is transcribed incorrectly, it can cause that record to be unsearchable by researchers. Typing in the wrong birth or death date, miss-spelling a name, or not transcribing all the information on the stone can all lead to an unsearchable record and/or give researchers bad information. Also, these bad transcriptions carry over to our partners sites who are unable to connect the records to individuals in your family trees. All of these cases lead to records that can’t be found or connected to actual people.
Improper transcriptions can greatly affect record watches, notifications, and other search tools when finding family plots and relationships as well. This can hinder further insight and make finding the rest of the family much more difficult.
Finally the quality of the records are very important to BillionGraves and these memorials are some of the last tangible evidence of a person’s life. This means documenting and preserving that information for all of time is important to those individuals researching and to the those who have passed on.
2. What qualifies as a bad transcription?
When going through the search fields you may find records containing numerous wrong characters such as “unknown”, “-“, or “?”. You may find incomplete names or dates. In some cases these may be due to bad photos or debris covering parts of the stone. However in other cases, these are mistakes made during the transcription process.
For international stones and multi-lingual stones, you may even find records which have been transliterated. Transliteration is when a language is translated by a transcriber from its proper language on the memorial to the language of the user.
For example, a stone that is in Russian but is transliterated into the English meaning for any given word is transliterated from it’s original meaning. Often times leading to improper record translations. This is why all records must be transcribed in the language that appears on the headstone. Whatever the error may be, the headstones require editing and correction in order to be properly searched and matched.
3. How to Find Improper Transcriptions:
Now that we have shown you what to look for, now we’ll show you where to look to find records that need to be fixed. The easiest way to start is to look for records in a cemetery nearby. To do this:
- Log into your account at BillionGraves.com
- Next, click the blue “Search BillionGraves” button in the top right corner.
- Click on the “Cemeteries” tab.
- Enter in the name of a local cemetery. If you are unsure of cemeteries near you, use the filters to select the County, State, or Country.
- Navigate to the cemetery by clicking on the cemetery in the search results.
- Click on the tab, “Search Records” just below the cemetery photo.
- You will now see a list of all of the records in the cemetery. At this point you can either use the search function to find common mistakes like “?”, “unknown”, or “-“; or you can scroll through the list of names looking for errors as well.
- For more advanced ways to assist in correcting records:
- Often times the stone holds more valuable information than just the name and dates. Marriage dates, military service, children, and religious icons are some of the many things you may find on a headstone that can also be added to the record. You can review each record in the cemetery to ensure that ALL information on the stone has been entered into the record.
4. How to Edit and Correct Improper Transcriptions
- On the current record Select the “Wrench Icon”.
- Next, click “Edit Record”.
- Using your mouse scroll down to the bottom and review the “Vital Information”.
- Make Necessary edits in the fields by selecting the field with our mouse (Ex. First Name, Last Name, Dates, etc…).
- Scroll back up the page and select the check-mark icon to save your work.
- The record is now edited.
5. Advanced Techniques:
For updated and advanced techniques for finding improper transcriptions, please visit our community at https://community.billiongraves.com/questions/transcribing-images/advanced.
Thanks for watching this video! We hope that with this new information you are able to understand the importance of correcting improper transcriptions. With your help we can improve the quality of the records and help researchers have better results.
For further information please contact our support team at https://billiongraves.com/support/.
If you’ve transcribed any images yesterday or today, you’ve probably noticed the new feature on our transcription page!
You can use this exciting new feature whenever you come across a headstone with some sort of military information on it. We made this feature as easy as possible for the transcriber in an effort to make the process as simple and seamless. Here’s how it works:
1. When you come across a military headstone, transcribe all the regular information as usual. After you’ve entered in the name, birth and death dates, etc., click on the “+ add military specific info” link.
2. Type in all military-related information EXACTLY HOW IT’S WRITTEN on the headstone. Do not lengthen any abbreviations or abbreviate any words. We have obtained a list of common titles and their abbreviations from the VA and have designed an auto-populate system that will take care of all the categorizing for you! (Read on to see how it works)
3. Click on the “+ Faith Emblem” link and choose which emblem is on the headstone. You can usually find these emblems at the top of the headstone, but sometimes they are found elsewhere as well (i.e. in between the birth and death dates).
5. Our site will work behind the scenes to auto populate the military fields found on the headstone that you will see on the individual record page. That being said, there are hundreds of thousands of abbreviations out there, some that are not even on the VA’s extensive list of official abbreviations. If you see an abbreviation that does not register with our system (i.e. this record) feel free to contact us and we would love to add it so our system will recognize it and publish it on the page.
Note: Even if the abbreviation doesn’t register with the form on the record page, it will still be saved with that particular image.
So go try out our new transcription tool and let us know what you think! If you have any suggestions on how to make this feature better, comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear your feedback!
This month, our wonderful photographers and transcribers will be dueling it out! We are going to see which group will take more pictures or transcribe more records respectively. You get to decide which team to help; so which side will you choose?
Here’s how it works:
On the leaderboard this month, you’ll find a counter that will tell you where each side (photographers or trancribers) stands. EVERY PERSON who takes a picture or transcribes one will get to contribute to whichever side they want. So it’s up to you—which side do you want to help win? Can’t decide? You could help both!
You could win!
EVERYONE who makes it on the leaderboard this month will win a prize! The top 50 contributors of the winning side (photographers or transcribers) will get a BillionGraves stressball—perfect for working out those sore fingers from transcribing or taking pictures!
But we are also offering a second-place prize too! The other side’s top 50 contributors will still get an official BillionGraves vinyl sticker! They’re perfect to for decorating your smartphone, tablet or even the bumper of your car!
So keep an eye on the leaderboard this month to make sure you’re in one of the top 50 lists and to see how your team is measuring up!
-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 and/or transcribed no later than midnight (GMT) on September 30.
The latest version of the iOS App (Version 3.1) is available on the app store. Make sure you check the app store and download it on your device! Besides some minor bug fixes, this new version of the app has two brand-new features!
Transcribing from the app. This feature allows you to transcribe those headstones that are practically impossible to read from a photograph. This way you can look at the stone from all angles and even run your fingers along the indents to ensure that the correct information is transcribed!
Watch this video to find out how to use it (don’t miss the “magic” feature at the end!):
Adding new images to records already on BillionGraves. Have you seen a record on BillionGraves that needs to be updated (for instance, a new date has been added to the headstone or the first image didn’t have all the information on the headstone)? This feature allows you to make those corrections!
See how it works on this short video:
These are just two of the many ways we are improving the BillionGraves mobile app. We hope to get these new features out for the Android app soon. We’ll keep you posted as more improvements become available!
Since the BillionGraves Index is now available on FamilySearch.org, a large group from FamilySearch employees decided to learn more about what BillionGraves is all about. So they headed to the Murray Cemetery in Utah to give the app a try.
Some people took pictures, and some people contributed by cleaning off headstones ahead of the picture-takers. This job is an important one: taking pictures goes much more quickly if the headstones are ready with all the information visible.
Dan Shellman, one of the participants, shared a bit about the great experience he had. “The activity that we held in which we took pictures of grave stones to be uploaded to BillionGraves was a great one. As I was taking pictures, it was humbling to see the names of families and wonder at the lives they must have lead. It felt great to know that the information about these families could be used to help others better understand their family history.”
120 different contributors—88 of them first time picture-takers—participated, and about 12,000 new images were added to the Murray Cemetery in one day.
The group even started transcribing the images together after the event.