Documenting Unmarked Graves at Cemeteries

BillionGraves is the world’s largest GPS-linked cemetery database. The BillionGraves app is used to take photos of gravestones and when the data is transcribed, it is made available for millions of families around the globe for generations to come. The data is also shared with FamilySearch.

But what if someone doesn’t have a gravestone? Who will remember those buried in unmarked graves? Our system makes this very simple and easy.

How can you help?


Step #1 When you go to the cemetery, bring along writing tools: paper and markers, blackboard and chalk, OR a whiteboard and dry-erase markers.

Step #2 Also bring your smartphone or tablet. It will need to have GPS capabilities. Before you leave home, download the free BillionGraves app to your device. Create an account. Click HERE to find out more about the recommended devices. 

Step #3 If possible, contact the sexton (cemetery manager)** to let them know that you would like to help create a GPS-he linked record of those buried in unmarked graves. The sexton will be able to access the records on after you are done. 

Step #4 Ask the sexton for a list of those buried in the cemetery without grave markers. The names will be labeled with plot numbers. You may also need to ask for a cemetery map or plot map. 

Step #5 Go to the unmarked gravesites. 

Step #6 Write the names and dates neatly on your paper, blackboard, or whiteboard.

Step #7 Lay the paper, blackboard, or whiteboard on the ground at the unmarked grave. 

Step #8 Click on the Take Pictures button on the main screen of the BillionGraves app on your smartphone to take a picture of the names and dates as if this were a headstone. The app will capture the GPS location automatically. 

Step #9 During the transcription process. Include the names of the neighboring graves in the notes. Or when taking photos, include a wide-angle photo of the paper grave with surrounding graves to enable other users to find the unmarked grave. 

Step #10 When you are finished, upload the photos by tapping on the 'X' in the corner of your screen and then tapping on the orange Upload button. This can be done at the cemetery or after you connect to WiFi. Now the information will become available for family history and will keep the memories alive of those who may otherwise have been forgotten.

Thanks a billion!

** Not all cemeteries have sextons or managers. If you know of exact location for unmarked graves, you can take photos without contacting anyone. The photos shown below were in a horse pasture.  The user contacted the property owner. 

Here are some unmarked grave examples: 

Do you have specific questions? Click HERE to create a ticket, these will go to our Free Ticket desk

BG+ users with questions, please click the Orange Help Button and Contact Us to fill out your priority ticket.