What is a Green Pin or Green Dot?

A green pin or dot on a BillionGraves map indicates that a photo has been taken of a gravestone at that location and the GPS coordinates were recorded, but the image has not yet been transcribed.

They look like this:

What do the Green Pins Mean?

When a photo has been flagged as unreadable during the transcription process it is marked on the BillionGraves maps with a green pin or dot. A green dot can also mean that the image is fine, but it just hasn't been transcribed yet.

Orange Pins or Orange Dots

The orange pins or dots indicate that a photo has been taken of a gravestone at that location, the GPS coordinates were recorded, and the image has been transcribed.

An Example of an Image Marked with a Green Pin

Below is an example of a grave that was a "green pin" in a cemetery. This is a photo that transcribers marked as unreadable. Is it? Not to a researcher!

This one is hard to read, but there are clues. The name T.M. Skinner is across the top. You can also clearly see the date Feb 12, 186?. My first stop is to go to another website to see if I can figure out who this might be. Find A Grave has the record within the cemetery but the photo is hard to read.  However, you can see the stones match. Now we know for certain that Lucinda Skinner is buried in the Pisgah Cemetery in Ohio. 

If you were to use the "Find Headstone" feature on the BillionGraves app, you would be able to walk directly to her grave.  Then you could type in all of the information that you see on the gravestone when you are there in person.

If I want to go further as a researcher, I can look up the name T.M. Skinner in FamilySearch to see if I can find his information in there. I will place the name of Thomas in as a wild search, since Thomas is a common name. 

This record comes up:

This record matches the maiden name found in the Find A Grave record and can be placed in the notes section of transcription. So, Lucinda Miller Skinner was the Wife of Thomas M. Skinner. 

The FamilySearch record even has their marriage date and the location. 

Be sure though the location matches on both records, since people didn't typically move very far before 1900. There are exceptions of course such as the California Gold Rush, Mormon Trail, Texas expansion, colonization from one country to another, Great Britain to India, Ireland to Australia, etc. 

Also, be sure to record the information that you find from other sources in the notes section during transcription. Indicate which source as well.


We have received many emails from concerned users about this error message in the transcription queue:

This happens when there are no images to transcribe. Many of our photographers want to transcribe their own images, and so, although we have thousands of photos coming in weekly, a majority of these are saved by photographers for the two week waiting period, so they can transcribe the images themselves.

BillionGraves has re-released thousands of photos sitting in our cemeteries as "green-pins" for transcription. What are "green-pins", you may ask? These are stones that were previously marked as unreadable, photos that were marked as poorly taken or photos that are not of a gravestone. However, many of these are good for people who have the research skills to decipher them. Here is one example:

This was sitting as a "green-pin" in the Pisgah Presbyterian Cemetery in Butler, Ohio. The stone is hard to read, but there are clues.  

If the image is not a gravestone, but an inappropriate photo, such as people drinking in a cemetery, the inside of a purse, or a car (Yes, we have seen these!), please report them to Customer Support with the URL so they can be removed from the website. 

What does an unreadable stone look like? Well, it looks like this one. The writing is completely faded, the only way to determine the identity is to have someone in the area gather more information from a cemetery office. This one should be red-flagged. 

For more information on Red-Flags, click HERE.

The photo above should be marked, "The Headstone is Unreadable" then it will go back as a green pin.

When the photo is red-flagged, it goes back to the photographer, placed in reported images within the photographer's album, removed from the transcription queue, and placed back as a green pin in the cemetery, unless the URL is sent back to us for removal. 

Please do not red-flag if there is any way to determine the origin of the stone. Even blurry photos that can be transcribed are good to leave, as it will give people an incentive to retake a poorly taken photo especially if their name is on it. 

We need everyone's help in identifying headstones!