By using this technology, information, specifically on children born into families outside of US Census data gathering years, are sometimes the only record of a life. 

Two stones were  found in Bethel Cemetery, in Waxahachie, Ellis, Texas. These were found in the Sims Family Plot within the cemetery. Sims is my maiden name, so I assumed they were related to me.  One states L.R. Son of J.C. & M.E. Sims. The other was almost impossible to read but Stated Mamie the daughter of O.B. & M.C. Sims. Looking at other cemetery websites, there is a record for a Mamie Sims born November 1882. There is also a listing of her parent’s initials. These were children born outside of the US Census period of 1880, and as 1900 was the next census, these children did not get counted in with their parents on regular FamilySearch records.

As there was no record of this birth or death in FamilySearch. Thankfully with a little bit of research skills, the parents of Mamie and L.R. were found. The children were added to families that had already been grouped together on FamilySearch. Now these children would be remembered as part of this family unit. 


Although I am sure you are wondering specifically why I use BillionGraves, over other websites out there, and what methodology I use to add headstone data?  First of all, I use BillionGraves because it is the only website with verified headstone data. In order to take a photo, a user has to be in the cemetery with the headstones. Photos are taken with an app that places GPS tracking on a headstone. When photos are uploaded by the app, the GPS marking is placed in the cemetery with pins. This way when a loved one goes back into a cemetery looking for a specific headstone, they can find it quite easily and you know it is there for certain. I have used Find A Grave in the past and continue to use it only as a reference for older stones that are hard to read.  However, on their site you have to trust that the stone is where they say it is.  Unfortunately, in all my years of research I have found many mistakes in stone placement. I once travelled from Utah to Maryland looking for a specific stone in a cemetery only to walk away very disappointed, as the stone wasn’t there in that particular cemetery.  With BillionGraves you know for certain where a stone is because of their GPS tracking. 

I currently work for BillionGraves as a customer service representative, and as a genealogist and a user myself am proud to do so. As this company continues to grow, I am an excited participant and enjoy helping people from all over the world with the gathering family data.

Method #1- Easiest 

Choose any cemetery in BillionGraves.  For our purposes, I am choosing a cemetery that I have taken photos in; but this might not be possible for everyone. Whitesburg Cemetery in Carroll County, Georgia.

Step #1- Find the cemetery in BillionGraves.

Step #2-  On a main cemetery page Click Search.

Step #3- Start in the “A” portion on the cemetery and work down to the “Z” names. (If I am very intent on ensuring that all burials have been added to FamilySearch, I will often pull a cemetery book from the shelves in the Family History Library or consult a local cemetery plot map to ensure I have added all of the individuals.)  I will often add these to BillionGraves as a supporting record with a photo request, so others can take photos of these headstones later.

Step #4- Keep track of where you start and stop by writing the names down on a piece of paper. (Most cemeteries can't be done in a day.)

Step #5- Go to an Life Information Page.

Step #6- Click on the pencil and click transcribe.

Step #7- Click on the FamilySearch tab.

Step #8- A pop-up will come up to link these individuals to FamilySearch.

Step #9- Click accept if the record matches or reject if it doesn’t.

Step #10- By accepting you have just added a source for that individual in FamilySearch.


No Match? – Try Something More. 

From the FamilySearch Website. 

Step #1- Open FamilySearch. (You will need an account it is free.)

Step #2 -Click FamilySearch Tree.

Step #3- Click Recents.

Step #4- Click Add Unconnected Person

Step #5- Fill in the information from the headstone in BillionGraves click next.

Step #6- Click Create Person.

Step #7- Add BillionGraves as a "source" on the individual’s page, with the URL linking to BillionGraves Individual Life Record

Step #8- Go back to the original transcription page on BillionGraves and Link to FamilySearch with the correct FamilySearch PID# (Use steps found above.)

What has this accomplished? It has connected a source that is verifiable, (it has to be as it is created with GPS technology) and a monument that is visual into sources for FamilySearch. By doing this, a family member can see exactly where their ancestor is buried.  Also, often family members will be buried near each other.  I have found cousins next to each other, sisters next to each other with different last names and grandparents buried near babies that were, in fact, their grandchildren with different last names.