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 the data is recorded and shared with FamilySearch.

But what if someone doesn’t have a gravestone? Who will remember those buried in unmarked graves? With your help, they will be just as remembered as anyone else!

How can you help?


Step #1 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. Before you leave home, download the free BillionGraves app to your device. Create an account.

Step #3 Contact the sexton (cemetery manager) at a cemetery. Let them know that you would like to help create a GPS-linked record of those buried in unmarked graves. The sexton will be able to access the records for free 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 with the BillionGraves app 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 be sure to includee a long view 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 - with one click of a button - so everyone can use them for family history and keep the memories alive of those who may otherwise have been forgotten.

Step #11 Repeat! ☺

Thanks a billion!

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