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BillionGraves.com allows you to find headstones easily. You can perform a simple search, finding photos and transcriptions of headstones, plus maps of cemeteries. The site also offers a blog and community area to share ideas and research.
Much of the information on Billion Graves is provided by the general public. You are tasked with updating grave information by downloading a mobile app. This app allows you to take photos of a headstone or gravesite and uploading them to the website. You can also transcribe the etchings on a stone and upload them for others to read. This is particularly useful if the grave is older and the letters aren’t easy to make out on a photo.
If you don’t live near a grave you wish to research, and the information online is a little lacking, you can try to persuade someone nearby to visit a grave for you. The community forums are a good place to do this, and generous folk might be up for the challenge, merely to help you out. Again, they can use the app to do this, and you can instantly view the results.
The site offers some guidance on how to make the most of its resources. These resources are, however, a little limited. There aren’t many tools available other than the app, although this does probably achieve most of the needs a researcher might have.
As well as uploading photos and transcribing headstones, users are able to plot the graves on a map so that others can easily see where someone has been buried. Supporting records are also available for some graves, but this isn’t very common.
The advanced search allows you find a cemetery or a particular person, and you can filter this by country, state and county. You can also look for exact matches or phonetic matches, if you’re not sure how someone’s name is spelled.
Users can opt to receive notifications when new information is added on a particular item, saving you from having to constantly check whether updates have occurred. Meanwhile, the blog provides a few interesting posts on grave research.
BillionGraves.com’s store is quite bizarre, selling caps and shirts with the site’s logo printed on. Who would want to wear such a thing? Strange.
Billion Graves Plus is a paid service which allows you to access virtual walkthroughs (GPS and high resolution photos rebuild cemeteries), and a couple of other benefits. However, we’re not convinced this is really great value for money as you can pretty much do everything without these additions.
When we tried to join the site, it simply kept refusing our email address and password. This never seemed to rectify. However, you can access a lot of the information without registering. Still, if you need to upload data or use the Plus services, you’ll need to register. If you experience the same issues as we did, we recommend contacting the customer services team for help.
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