BillionGraves and JustServe have partnered to promote community service.
Across the world, gravestones are deteriorating and erosion is erasing the precious details of our ancestors' lives. BillionGraves, the world’s largest GPS-linked cemetery database, can help. The BillionGraves smartphone app can be used to document gravestones. With BillionGraves, even if a loved one's gravestone is damaged or worn by time, the invaluable information recorded at their final resting place will still be available.
How can you help? It’s as easy as grabbing your smartphone or tablet, downloading the free BillionGraves app to your device, and heading out to the cemetery. Then simply take pictures of each gravestone as you walk along.
The app will capture the GPS location automatically and in just a short visit, hundreds of records can be preserved. When you are finished, upload the photos - with one click of a button - so everyone can use them for family history and keep the memories alive of those we honor and love.
1. Download the BillionGraves app to your smartphone from your app store.
2. Create a free account on the app or at BillionGraves.com.
3. In the app, click on "take pictures" to begin taking photos in your local cemetery. The GPS
coordinates will automatically be recorded.
4. Go up and down the rows, taking pictures of each gravestone until you have completed an entire section or the entire cemetery. Keep moving at a quick pace. If you take 1 photo every 15 seconds you will have taken almost 250 photos in an hour!
5. When you are finished, connect to Wi-Fi and tap on the "X" in the corner of your screen. When the orange button that says "upload" appears, tap on it to submit your gravestone photos.
6. Repeat! :)
Stand to the side to avoid casting a shadow.
Remove weeds, grass, or other debris that may block gravestone information.
Be sure the names and dates are inside the photo frame.
Linking Photos with the BillionGraves App
If a gravestone has data on more than one side (for example, parents on one side and children on the other side) there is a way to link them together. Just click on the chain icon in the corner of your screen between each photo that you would like to link (front side, chain icon, backside).
You can use this linking feature for obelisks that have data on four sides. You can also use it to link a large gravestone with a family surname on it to nearby smaller gravestones with the family member's first names on them.
Uploading Your Photos
Be sure your family knows how to upload the photos. It's easy! When you are finished taking photos for the day, you can upload your photos right at the cemetery, if you have unlimited data, or you can wait until you connect to Wi-Fi to upload them.
From the app's camera screen, click on the "X" in the corner of your phone screen. An orange button that says "upload" will appear. Tap it and your photos will automatically be sent to the BillionGraves database to help families find their ancestors for generations to come!
Find a Cemetery to Document
You can document a cemetery you saw posted on JustServe.org or you could take photos at a cemetery of your choice.
- Click HERE to go to the volunteer page to find a cemetery to document.
- Click on the cemetery you are interested in. A map will appear.
- The orange dots on the map indicate where GPS-linked photos have already been taken. If there are areas with gravestones that have no pins, then your service is needed to photograph that section of the cemetery.
If you are interested in planning a group cemetery event, click HERE.
If you are a JustServe Specialist and would like information about posting cemetery projects on JustServe.org in your area, please email us at cwallace@BillionGraves.com.