This is one of the questions I get a lot on the help desk.
In the winter months in North America, things slow down quite a bit for people desiring to face the cold to visit cemeteries. We have very few people in fact who do go out in the winter for photographs. Cemeteries are not usually looking their best either, and people want their photos to look fabulous!
We also have more transcribers willing to do English stones than other languages. You don't have to translate the stones from their foreign language in fact we totally discourage this practice! If not English try Spanish, German, or Portuguese! It can be fun doing other languages. We only ask that you transcribe languages that are alphanumeric. Please DO NOT transcribe Chinese, Russian or Polish unless you have a background in these languages. ALSO DO NOT TRANSCRIBE THE DATES ONLY! This is a big NO NO, as it makes it impossible for people to find their loved ones in a specific cemetery if the names are not placed in the box.
Here are some other ideas, try going into any cemetery and looking for green pins. The stones with green pins are often ones that our fast transcribers skipped over because they don't like to take the time to figure them out. Personally, I'm one of those weird people, I guess, who love a challenge! I want people to be able to have the data they are looking for, and am willing to go to great lengths to ensure they get information on loved ones.
If a stone is unreadable or there is difficulty reading a stone, perhaps you can use other websites, published information, and genealogical sites to try and figure out who's stone it is. Just be sure to add this in the notes section. For example, I was having difficulty reading some of the green pins in the Trinity Churchyard in New York City. However, there is a free archive site online that listed all of the stones and their epitaphs and I was able to figure out whose stone it was and even added it to FamilySearch!
Speaking of FamilySearch, did you know that you can add FamilySearch personal identification numbers to our database and it will link the two accounts together? This is yet another activity I like to do when we are low on easy transcriptions. I will often go into FamilySearch and either create a new person using the information from the cemetery or I will link Billion Graves information with FamilySearch to help others in their family history. This is a win win for everyone!
If the idea of scrolling back and forth between websites is a little unnerving, how about connecting families together on our website. As we have thousands of transcribed records with no family relationships listed. I have personally gone into my family and genealogical family stones and have added data to connect my grandparents with their parents and children and so forth.
Another idea is adding information in the memories section. Add an obituary, story or any other information you wish to enrich the life information of an individual. You can also add photos, just make sure the DPI is larger than 400x500 to ensure high quality viewing. By adding photos, you almost seem to breathe life into the life information area of the website. I would highly recommend it!
Hopefully these suggestions will create some ideas on just how you can further help our movement, as we want to protect and preserve cemetery information for future generations, and create a rich database for all to enjoy!
Hopefully these suggestions will add to your Billion Graves experience!Below is one of the records that was listed as a "green pin" on a cemetery in California. Could you read it? I know I can, as I just transcribed it. There are pins like this in every cemetery...you just have to look for them!
Here is another response that we just loved from Jim:
A user stated this in the community: "I have had it! Wasting my time doing these headstones is NOT exactly what I came to do. We ask questions and nobody answers or are snippy when they do. WHEN you decide to fix the darn site, let me know and if I'm NOT busy I may come back. Somewhere in the program there is something wrong. No headstones to transcribe? Most of them all ready transcribed? (Weather being a thing to blame?) Well, somehow I just don't believe it. I think a "chosen few get them" while others don't. I'm out of here! When you get someone to fix the new program and fix it right I may be back. I can waste my time in more valuable places!"
Just a couple of observations to help you understand the BillionGraves process.
BillionGraves consists of data provided primarily by volunteers, that is, the photos are taken by volunteers if and when they get the opportunity. A lot of volunteers are elderly and do not go out to cemeteries in winter or the colder months in Fall or Spring. That is a fact and there is nothing that will change that.
Traditionally, there are far more transcribers than photographers so when photos are released they are transcribed very quickly. Keep in mind too that the photographer has 14 days to transcribe their own photos and if they all do that then there are no photos available to transcribe.
When there are no photos to transcribe many of us will go through already transcribed records and look for errors to correct, records to verify and will search other freely available information to add to a record.
There is no 'chosen few' or conspiracy here...it's first in first served as far as transcribing goes. You are not being discriminated against in any way and are experiencing the same frustration as many thousands of other transcribers.
This community forum is also manned by volunteers sitting in our own houses who will answer any and all questions that they can...but we don't know everything. If a question here goes unanswered it's only because we don't have an answer.
I can only suggest that if you get a 'snippy' response, it may be because of the way your messages come across.
"When there are no photos to transcribe many of us will go through already transcribed records and look for errors to correct, records to verify and will search other freely available information to add to a record."
How do I "look for errors to correct"?