FAQ

How should I deal with a problem I am having?

First, read through our FAQ and our User Guideto see if they can help you with your problem. We’ve worked long and hard on addressing common issues our users need assistance with, and we hope it’s a simple fix for you. If you need to contact support for further assistance, please do so! In your email, please include the email you registered with BillionGraves and a description of your problem. We would be happy to help.

How can I narrow my search results for cemeteries?

If you’re searching for a cemetery, you can search for it by name only, but if it doesn’t show in the results, try searching by country, state, and county. If you still can’t find the cemetery you’re looking for, there’s a chance it may not be in our database. To learn about adding a cemetery, see the answer to “What if my local cemeteries aren’t listed?” below.

How can I narrow my search results for people?

If you’re searching for a common last name, it may be difficult to find the ancestor you’re looking for if you only use the surname as the search item. If you know them, try adding a first name, birth date, or death date to hone the search for your ancestor.

Why BillionGraves.com?

When we started digging into tracking our ancestors, we discovered that there are some records you just can’t access unless you can visit them in person—records like headstones. We want headstone records to be available to everyone, whether they have the means to travel or not. But it’s not something we can do alone. With your help, we can create a database that includes your local cemeteries, our local cemeteries, and worldwide cemeteries. Every cemetery is local to someone! And if we all work together, we’ll put at least a billion graves at the fingertips of descendants around the world.

How can I help?

At BillionGraves.com, everyone can participate and contribute to this monumental project. No matter your circumstances, you can contribute to BillionGraves. If you have an iPhone or an Android phone that uses true GPS, download the BillionGraves Camera app from the iTunes store or the Google Play, go to your local cemeteries, and collect headstone photos with the app. Then those photos will be uploaded to the BillionGraves.com database. Once the photos have been collected, they still need to be transcribed. Help by viewing photos and typing in the names and dates recorded on the headstones. After the information is transcribed, descendants will be able to search easily for that ancestor’s record with the BillionGraves.com search. For more detailed instructions, visit our participation page.

How do I use the app?

Look to our user guide. It should be able to answer any questions you might have in detail. If you still have questions, contact us.

What if I don’t have a smartphone?

If you don’t have an smartphone, we still need your help! The images are almost useless—they’re too hard to search, too difficult to access—unless they’re transcribed. Instead of helping us collect photos, you can look at the photos and type in the names and dates recorded on the headstones. After the information is transcribed, descendants will be able to search easily for that ancestor’s record with the BillionGraves.com search.

Can I use my iPod Touch?

The iPod Touch doesn’t support the BillionGraves camera app because it doesn’t support GPS locations. We want BillionGraves.com to be a resource for accurate locations as well as photos and records. You can help us get those accurate locations by using the iPhone instead of the iPod Touch.

Can I upload photos that are stored on my computer?

Currently BillionGraves.com only supports photos that are taken with a GPS-enabled smartphone. Our focus is on applying new smartphone technologies to the old desire to record our ancestors’ histories. We’re looking forward to creating more flexible ways to add content after we have the new technology and the site running smoothly.

How do I get a picture removed from the site?

If you have concerns about a headstone, contact us, and we can remove it for you if that is your wish.

What if my local cemeteries aren’t listed?

Our list of cemeteries is far from complete. However, we want to ensure that the information about each and every cemetery—the location, in particular—is as accurate as possible. To contribute vital cemetery locations to our database, download the BillionGraves Camera app from the iTunes store or the Android Market, visit the cemetery you want to add, and add the cemetery from within the app. By using the location services of your smartphone, we can accurately record the cemetery’s location on our maps. If you don’t have a smartphone and you’d like to add your local cemetery, visit the Add a Cemetery page to add it.You can also submit its location to us using the Contact Us page.

What if my smartphone says I’m in a different cemetery when I’m taking pictures?

If you are in a cemetery, the camera view will list the name of the cemetery on the side of your screen. If the cemetery name is not the cemetery you are in, you can change it. Tap the cemetery name, and a list of possible cemeteries will come up (those in close proximity with your GPS location). Tap the name of the cemetery you are in. If, however, your cemetery is not listed or the camera does not recognize that you are in a cemetery, you can add a cemetery. From the Home screen, tap Cemeteries, and then either tap the “+” at the top of the screen or the Add a New Cemetery button at the end of the list of cemeteries. Save the cemetery you create, and then go back to the camera view, verify the correct cemetery name is showing, and start taking pictures.

What if the map coordinates for the cemetery I added aren’t accurate?

If the coordinates are inaccurate, for whatever reason, please notify us of the problem and provide the correct latitude and longitude values for the cemetery (try using Google Maps to get the values).

What if the map coordinates for my photo aren’t accurate?

We are constantly working to improve and update the GPS capabilities of the BillionGraves app. However, due to varying cell service quality and other factors, your phone’s GPS is not always 100% accurate. However, even if a photo has inaccurate coordinates assigned to it, the coordinates are often close enough to provide anyone searching for a GPS-tagged headstone with a reasonably narrowed area in which to look. If you wish to provide a more accurate set of coordinates and can acquire them through another means, please notify us, referencing the photo and including accurate latitude and longitude values.

What if I can’t find my ancestor’s record?

If you can’t find your ancestor’s record, even when you narrow or broaden the search, it means either that person’s headstone record hasn’t been transcribed or the headstone photo hasn’t been collected. At least, not yet. You can help us find your ancestor by transcribing records, collecting photos, and telling your friends about BillionGraves.com so they can help us too. The more people we tell, the more cemeteries will be recorded, and the better your chances of finding your ancestor’s grave.

How should I type names as I transcribe?

We prefer you use title case to transcribe names, meaning capitalize the first letter of each word. E.g. Laura Bean, not laura bean or LAURA BEAN.

What if I find a transcription that is incorrect?

You may come across a transcription that doesn’t match the picture exactly, and that’s OK. We use volunteers to transcribe the images, so some discrepancies are expected. We allow you to edit any transcription to improve it. From any headstone’s Record View, there is a blue button that says Edit on the right next to the name on the record. If you click Edit, you can make any changes you’d like to the record.

How do I know if a cemetery has been photographed already? How do I avoid duplicating images?

If you’re concerned about duplicating images (and efforts) when collecting headstone images, look up the cemetery you’re visiting before you go and take pictures of areas not covered with orange GPS flags. From the website (or from a cemetery search on your phone if you have the upgrade), you can search a cemetery’s name to see if someone has already photographed that cemetery. Click on the Search link at the top (on every page), then click on the Cemetery Lookup tab. You don’t have to search a specific cemetery name; you can search a particular region to see what cemeteries have already been recorded in that region. Sometimes being thorough will lead to some duplication. You don’t need to worry too much, because BillionGraves has a duplication manager to detect duplicate images, as well as a human screening system that all images pass through. We’ve been successful about catching duplications with this system.

What if I accidentally forgot to link multiple images of one headstone together?

If you’ve forgotten to link images together, you can email support and we will manually link those images for you. We will need you to include the email address you used to register with BillionGraves (so we can locate the images that need to be linked), the specific image numbers from the album you’ve uploaded, as well as the album name (which is usually a date). You can find the album name by navigating to the My Photos page from your dashboard and clicking on the album containing the unlinked images. The Album Title will be at the top of the page. To find the image numbers, click on the images in your album, and the number will be at the top of the screen (e.g. Photo 1 of 39). Once you have this information, email support.



Have more questions? Contact Us.
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