Hello BillionGraves Transcribers We Need Your Help!

We are currently working on some new technology where we have photographers taking a succession of photos in a row at quick shutter speeds. 

To the naked eye, this may seem strange, but it really can be very helpful for researchers in the future, as it will help capture cemeteries at a much faster rate of speed, than has been done in the past. 

Here is where we need your help:

When a photo looks like this you do not need to do anything new. Simply transcribe as you would normally and click save and then next. 

On an image such as this one, notice the folder button with arrows to the left and arrows to the right. If the image needs to be focused, to see the plaque or headstone marker keep clicking on the arrow buttons until the image is focused. 

In this case the left arrow button was clicked several times until the photo came into view. The last name Harris could be read also the birth and death dates, but the first name was unclear, so the transcriber placed a question mark along with the middle initial D.  The save button is then selected. and then we move on to next. 

Sometimes a photo might start out looking like this one. However, after clicking on the right arrow button several times...

...this photo comes into frame. In this case you simply transcribe it in this frame and our website will be able to tell where the gravestone is in the succession of photos. 

Transcribe this on as normal and click save. 

On occasion you will get an image that no matter which arrow button you click on you will not get the headstone in frame. In this case, you would simply click: Out of Frame

More on Out of Frame: Choose this option when the left and right arrow buttons do not seem to focus the image in order to transcribe. Often these will be half of a gravestone, a little piece of a gravestone or solid grass images. 

Here are other items to choose for poor images:

Too Blurry- The photo can't be read due to blurry images as the photo was taken too quickly and the letters are illegible.

Too Worn- The photo can't be transcribed because the stone is so worn, the letters are illegible. 

For other reasons Click the GREEN FLAG, then choose one of the following:

*** Note: By choosing one of these the GREEN FLAG will change to a RED FLAG

The photo is good- For some reason someone chose a red flag of the photo and you would like to change it back to good.  (Sorry folks, this a huge complaint among users to our staff.) Choosing the Photo is good reverses a red flag. 

The photo is blurry-  You can choose this, but we now have it on the main page

Cemetery gate, sign, or property (not a gravestone)- This is chosen to move a photo from the transcription queue to the cemetery images. (Another one our staff does daily, that you can also do.) 

Other object, such as a car or person (not a gravestone)- This option is chosen if no matter which arrow you click all you see is a leg, shoe, or car.  No gravestone image can be found. 

Out of Frame- Also on the main page. Choose this when only a part of a headstone is visible no matter which arrow buttons are selected. 

Inappropriate Image- Please choose this one if someone is stepping on a grave, drinking soda near a grave, someone has a photo of themselves in their home half dressed, etc. (Yes, we have seen these types of images.)

Other-Perhaps we have missed a category, but the image does not belong in the cemetery, choose this one. 


The NEW IMAGES can't be merged or linked. This is new.  Also if there are multiple graves in one frame, all of them need to be transcribed, whether they are relatives or not.

Make sure all transcription rules are followed which are:



This is very old school (prior to 1990) genealogy and we no longer want or desire records in all caps. 

2. Transcribe what is written on the stone. Extra information should be documented in the notes. 

What has always set us apart from other sites is our documentation. Please do so in the transcription as well. 

Here are some examples: If you find something on another site such as Find A Grave. State something like: This stone is hard to read, but does match  Find A Grave image #12342.  You can also state: Matched to FamilySearch, or maiden name found in FamilySearch match. Another way to document as a photographer and transcriber is to state in the notes: The stone states: Bob Jones. Bob is my great uncle, his real name was Robert Jones according to family records, or family information. 

More Examples: WWII records from the VA site, or American Civil War records from My Heritage. 

Document, Document, Document!!!! PLEASE!!! 

3. Do not transcribe stones in foreign languages or with diacritics unless you know the language well. 

If you do not know Czech, German ,Polish, Russian, Hebrew, Chinese, or any language other than English, it is best to leave these alone. DO NOT TYPE IN "CHINESE STONE" or "HEBREW STONE CANT READ".  Yes, we have seen this, and our foreign users find it very annoying. Our foreign users, in fact, thank you for not doing this to their grave stones. Your intentions are very very good, but please DON'T !! If you do this frequently you will be asked to stop. By continuing to do so, your transcription privileges can be taken away. Simply click on the foreign language blue box, choose the correct language and move on. This will move the stone to others better adept to transcribing the image. 

For further help in transcriptions read the following articles: