Our site is completely different than Find A Grave. It is like comparing your grandmother's old Buick to a modern Tesla. Your grandmother's Buick might get you from point A to point B, you might have an old AM radio in the console, no air conditioning, and mapping consists of old 1950's maps in the glovebox someone collected on a one one time road trip to California. Comparing the Buick to a modern Tesla with GPS maps in the console and the ability to go from 0 to 80 in a matter of seconds, the old Buick is quaint, but a little outdated. The Tesla has a learning curve, but in comparison which one would you like to take for a trip? Personally, I enjoy air conditioning and GPS maps!
Find A Grave uses information from users that may or may not be accurate. It is based solely on trust. You trust that headstone photos put into the site is accurate and that the stone is in the cemetery where another user says it is. As a genealogist with 25+ years of experience, I have found accuracy on their site, but also a lot of inaccurate data as well. The data is placed on the website by well-meaning individuals who either perpetuate family myths and legends or who make mistakes. Also, data given to the website is under the control of the individual who placed it there. Unfortunately, due to human error and without a GPS pin on a map, inaccuracies can occur. On Find A Grave, people are also placed in charge of the data they submit. This can also be a problem with individuals who refuse to change inaccurate information. Many are kind and are willing to fix problems, but a few individuals have been hostile to any attempt at editing wrong information.
BillionGraves is different. Our site relies on volunteers who will both photograph cemeteries and transcribe records. Our main source of data are photographs taken with our app that provides a GPS location of the headstone. People simply go into a cemetery and take photos with our app. The app puts a GPS marker on the headstone so that it can be easily located. In fact, I have been to large cemeteries in California with thousands of markers and was able to easily find my loved one within a few minutes because someone had taken the photo in BillionGraves. I could literally walk to the grave site. This is especially helpful when you have never visited the cemetery before, or there is no one in a cemetery office to give you directions. Another thing that sets us apart, is that NO ONE can take charge of the GPS data. As photos are uploaded, they are sent into transcription where volunteers read the stones and put in the data that they can see. If there are mistakes made in transcription, users can go in and fix problems with the stone. You do not have to ask permission or wait for someone to do this.
Like Find A Grave, we also allow people to add photos without GPS data. These are called Supporting Records on our site. These are simple to add, and desirable, but not our primary source of records. Supporting records are secondary in our website. They provide a secondary account of a burial because without a GPS marker they can't be verified for certain. They are searchable, however, and if someone goes into the cemetery and takes a photo with our app, the GPS record will become the primary source.
Unlike Find A Grave, our site offers its users two options. You can either enjoy using the site for free or for a small subscription fee (BillionGraves+), you can use the site with better tools such as family notifications, global family records, and see who is buried around your loved one. The downside to the free site is that it does have more ads, (However, free is always good, right?) and that it has a lot fewer tools that are offered on BG+. The upside to the subscription site is the tools mentioned as well as priority support, and emails sent out to volunteers for photo requests.
Do you want to see real differences? (For a step by step process on how do do this click here)
Let's say you would like to take a trip to California to see the grave site of John Wayne the actor you did a little research to know he is buried in the Pacific View Memorial Park. You pull up Google Maps and here is what you will find:
This is a HUGE cemetery with thousands of graves, and as you are visiting on a weekend, the cemetery office will more than likely be closed.
You pull up FInd A Grave
It displays the plot number it also shows some photos of the grave, but this really doesn't help much as there are thousands of graves within the cemetery, and you really don't know what the plot system is within the cemetery so you pull up BillionGraves. You see similar biographical information, but here is where the true difference is:
For free and BG+ users if I scroll down a bit from this record I can see the grave site of John Wayne. Remember the big map at the beginning? Now I at least know where to look within the huge cemetery. I also know his memorial is there for certain as GPS is accurate in that respect.
BG+ Users have an added benefit of being able to see who is buried around John Wayne. They can see the graves surrounding John Wayne. This comes in handy if you were trying to research John Wayne's family. For researchers this is an invaluable tool because families tend to be buried around each other. This may not be the case for John Wayne, but in all my years of research I have found this to be a true case 9 times out of 10.
For all users, if you were to go into the cemetery and place the name in the app, you could walk to the grave as our mapping system will guide you to the correct spot within a cemetery.
Technology is what sets BillionGraves apart from all other websites out there. GPS is the key!