BillionGraves.com and MyHeritage.com are sponsoring a huge international effort to gather photos and information about gravemarkers. If you want my opinion (which you will get if you keep reading) this activity, along with participating in FamilySearch.org's Indexing program, are the two best ways to get the youth actively and productively involved.
If you cannot see the utility of having online, searchable databases with indexed entries and including photos of gravemarkers (headstones, tombstones etc.) then you are probably not reading this blog post.
Here are the links to the places to go to get started:
- MyHeritage Blog Post
- Sign up with BillionGraves.com
- Dick Eastman Blog Post
- Randy Seaver Blog Post
- James Tanner Blog Post
Here is a description of the project from Gilad Japhet, CEO of MyHeritage.com. By the way, MyHertitage.com has over 70 million users world wide.
Cemeteries are among the most valuable resources for family history research. Headstones (gravestones) contain a wealth of information about the deceased, such as dates of birth and death, names of relatives, and surprises such as photographs and emotional epitaphs.Here is an explanation about how the program works.
There are hundreds of thousands of cemeteries worldwide, but most of them have never been documented, and the headstone information is not available online. Time is chipping away at the headstones and many become unreadable over the years :-(
Together with our partner, BillionGraves, we have recently launched a global initiative to photograph and transcribe all of the world's cemeteries, and make the data available for free!
This week we kickstarted this initiative by taking the employees of MyHeritage to "practice what we preach" and digitize an entire cemetery ourselves. We photographed more than 50,000 gravestones in a few hours in the largest project of this kind ever done in Israel. Read about our amazing experience and look at many photos documenting our project on our blog. Leading genealogy bloggers agree that this is a wonderful, worthy mission – read the posts of Dick Eastman, Randy Seaver and James Tanner about it.
- BillionGraves is a very easy to use iPhone and Android app. First, click here to sign up to BillionGraves for free in its special MyHeritage welcome page.
- Download the BillionGraves mobile app from that page.
- Visit a cemetery near you, and take photos of the headstones using the app. GPS information on each grave is automatically captured.
- Use the BillionGraves website to help enter the names and information that appear in the headstone photos that you took or other users have taken. All information is made available for free on the BillionGraves website and on MyHeritage SuperSearch. MyHeritage Record Matching technology will match the headstones automatically to your tree and all trees on MyHeritage, for free.
This is also an excellent Eagle Project for Boy Scouts and an excellent service project for large youth groups. If you are planing your next Youth Conference, why not include a cemetery photo opportunity?