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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:


Video Transcription:

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 the 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 its 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:

  1. Log into your account at
  2. Next, click the blue “Search BillionGraves” button in the top right corner.
  3. Click on the “Cemeteries” tab.
  4. 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.
  5. Navigate to the cemetery by clicking on the cemetery in the search results.
  6. Click on the tab, “Search Records” just below the cemetery photo.
  7. 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.
  8. For more advanced ways to assist in correcting records:
    1. 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

  1. On the current record Select the “Wrench Icon”.
  2. Next, click “Edit Record”.
  3. Using your mouse scroll down to the bottom and review the “Vital Information”.
  4. Make Necessary edits in the fields by selecting the field with our mouse (Ex. First Name, Last Name, Dates, etc…).
  5. Scroll back up the page and select the check-mark icon to save your work.
  6. The record is now edited.


5.  Advanced Techniques:

For updated and advanced techniques for finding improper transcriptions, please visit our community at
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