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!
We’re halfway through the month! Right now, we have over 100,000 images that need to be transcribed. Because many headstones have multiple individuals’ records on them, those 100,000 images could translate to 150,000 or 200,000 new records for our database. Transcribing these records will bring us so much closer to our goal!
Thanks for all the transcriptions you’ve done so far. For all you super-transcribers, check out our transcribing shortcuts to help you get through even more records faster.
Many people are interested in completing transcriptions for the photos they upload—did you know you can do that? Here’s how:
From your dashboard on BillionGraves.com, click on Images Uploaded. Click on one of the albums containing your photos (these are usually grouped by date). Then click on a photo you want to transcribe. Clicking next at the top of the page will take you to the next image in that album, so you can easily continue to transcribe all of the photos in your album. For a more detailed description, read our blog post on the subject.
What if a headstone was transcribed incorrectly? That’s OK. You can edit transcriptions and make improvements to them. From any headstone’s Record View, there is a blue button that says Edit on the right next to the name on the record. If you click Edit, you can make any changes you’d like to the record.
We are so grateful for everyone’s volunteer efforts here at BillionGraves. Keep up the good work! Just under two weeks left to reach our goal of 1,000,000 new records!
April showers bring May flowers, setting a perfect stage for our Million More in May promotion! During the month of May, we want all of our users to go out and take thousands of photos in their local cemeteries. Together with friends and family, we can all try to reach one million new records in one month!
This has been an amazing first year for BillionGraves. The number of records is growing exponentially—let’s work together to keep growing our database. During the month of May, with volunteers around the world contributing, we can add one million new records to BillionGraves.
We can definitely reach this goal: let’s look at the numbers. If two thousand users take 500 pictures each, we’ll be at 1,000,000 new images this month. But won’t it take a long time for one person to take 500 pictures? Nope! A beginning picture taker will be able to document 500 images in 2 hours or less. Two hours! Imagine how many records would be recorded in just two hours each weekend in May. And once we all work together to transcribe these images, we’ll have our 1 Million records in May added to our database, searchable all over the world.
If you are one of the most stellar picture-takers or transcribers during this promotion, you’ll be publicly recognized on our Leaderboard on the BillionGraves website. You’ll be famous at BillionGraves.com, and you’ll motivate others to continue adding new images and transcribing records. At the end of the month, the top 25 photographers and the top 25 transcribers will be rewarded with their choice of a free BillionGraves t-shirt or one year of our BillionGraves Plus Account! [Updated!]
We want to remind you about the value of the BillionGraves database. The information we have gathered and are currently gathering is not available anywhere else. Volunteers are documenting entire cemeteries, providing exact locations for cemeteries and even specific headstones within that cemetery. Then, when you search for your ancestor, you have the ability to see all the headstones in the vicinity—many connections can be discovered by locating relatives buried nearby the one you searched for. We know this information is priceless, and that’s why BillionGraves exists. So, when we all contribute new records, we all benefit from the information collected.
We are holding our Million More in May promotion for several reasons:
- Because the goal of the entire BillionGraves project is to help people throughout the world connect with their ancestors, no matter where they are buried.
- We want more people to learn about and participate in BillionGraves.
- We want to commemorate Memorial Day in the US (May 28) by making more pictures and records accessible to people all over the world.
But don’t wait till Memorial Day to start taking your pictures! Get started early in May so we can be sure we’ll reach our goal by the end of the month. In addition, headstones will be adorned with beautiful arrangements and decorations for Memorial Day—not ideal picture-taking circumstances.
We’ll be communicating with you registered users regularly via email during the month of May to give you tips, suggestions, and motivation to reach our goal. And in future blog posts, we’ll tell you how to get friends involved, how to create a Facebook event to meet at a cemetery, etc. Keep visiting the blog and checking your email to see how you can help us reach a Million More in May!
Did you notice the rewards program for transcribers on the BillionGraves website? Go check it out if you haven’t!
In addition to the rewards you can earn by uploading pictures of your local cemetery, you can also earn rewards by transcribing images for our database. For the first 500 images you transcribe, you’ll earn one Record Watch. After you transcribe 1000 images, you’ll earn one Record Watch for every subsequent thousand images you transcribe.
Did you forget what Record Watches are? A Record Watch means you’ve submitted a specific surname you’d like to monitor at BillionGraves. Whenever a headstone with your specified surname is transcribed, you are notified via email. With these notifications, you’ll know right when the latest data on your family history becomes available.
BillionGraves keeps track of your transcriptions in several places—on the dashboard, you can already see how many records you’ve transcribed.
In the transcription view or on the Upgrade page, you’ll see how many records you still need to transcribe to earn your next Record Watch.
Once you earn your Record Watch, visit the Create Record Watch page to create it. Let us know if you have any questions.
Thanks again to all of our volunteers—image uploaders and transcribers alike—we couldn’t do it without you! Start transcribing more images so you can earn your Record Watch!