April showers bring May flowers, setting a perfect stage for the BillionGraves’ Million More in May promotion! During the month of May, all BillionGraves users are encouraged to go out and take thousands of photos in their local cemeteries. You can join in by registering and downloading the free app to help BillionGraves reach one million new records in one month!
BillionGraves has had an amazing first year. The number of records is growing exponentially. During the month of May, with volunteers around the world contributing, BillionGraves hopes to add one million new records to the database.
The BillionGraves team breaks down the goal into feasible numbers: if two thousand users take 500 pictures each, they’ll reach 1,000,000 new images this month. This still seems like a lot, but a beginning picture taker will be able to document 500 images in 2 hours or less. Imagine how many records would be recorded in just two hours each weekend in May. The new records need to be transcribed as well, and once they are, BillionGraves will have their 1 Million records in May added to the database, searchable all over the world.
At the end of the month, the top 25 photographers and the top 25 transcribers will be rewarded with a free BillionGraves t-shirt! If you’re among the top 25 in either category, you’ll be publicly recognized on the BillionGraves Leaderboard on the website. You’ll help motivate others to continue adding new images and transcribing records.
The BillionGraves database is a valuable resource. The information being gathering is not available anywhere else. Volunteers are documenting entire cemeteries, providing exact locations for cemeteries and even specific headstones within that cemetery. Then, when you search for your ancestor, you have the ability to see all the headstones in the vicinity—many connections can be discovered by locating relatives buried nearby the one you searched for. This information is priceless, and that’s why BillionGraves exists. So, when we all contribute new records, we all benefit from the information collected.
You can get involved by registering on the BillionGraves site if you don’t have an account already. Then, download the app for your iOS or Android device. Finally, visit your local cemeteries to take pictures during the entire month of May!
In just over two weeks, the 1940 census will be released. This is a really big deal in the genealogical community, if you didn’t know! The census will contain a wealth of information to help you with your family history research. You will be able to access the census free on the website starting April 2. Not only will you be able to view the records for free (unlike previous census images), but you can download your research right from the site.
An index for the 1940 census does not yet exist since the images won’t be released until April 2, but FamilySearch and Ancestry.com are providing a way for volunteers to index the census so that it can be searchable and available to the public. The indexing project will greatly improve your ability to research the wealth of information included in the census, so to expedite the indexing process, you can join the volunteer effort! Visit the FamilySearch website to learn more and to sign up as a volunteer. You can also sign up on the 1940 Census website.
Besides the obvious excitement of gaining access to new family history research, the hubbub surrounding the release of the 1940 census is the fact that people today actually know people who are on it. Babies born in 1940 are only in their early 70s now, and their parents could still be alive as well. When you study the census, you’ll be able to make important family connections as well as find occupations, immigration data, and locations for your own relatives.
Use FamilyHistorynotebook to save and store the information you glean from the census. Keep the information organized into your various family notebooks, and cross-reference overlapping information using category tags.
For more information on the 1940 Census:
- Archives.gov: The official website of the National Archives, where you can learn more about the census itself, the questions asked on it, etc.
- 1940 Census Community Project: sign up to volunteer, learn about the 1940s, and read blog posts by census ambassadors.
- DearMYRTLE: just one of the many sources for webinars, advice, and tips and tricks for researching the census.
Image via the1940census.com.
RootsTech 2012 is this weekend! We’ll be there, and you are invited to attend our session: Rob Moncur and Curtis Tirrell will present on using smartphones and GPS to crowdsource cemetery data collection. The session will be held in room 255B at the Salt Palace Convention Center on February 4 at 1:45 PM.
We will also have a booth open throughout the conference. Be sure to stop by and learn more about BillionGraves. We’ll even be holding a contest in honor of RootsTech. The contest encourages you to recruit your family and friends to the BillionGraves project, and then you’ll earn points for THEIR hard work! For every family member or friend that joins your BillionGraves team, you receive one point. And for every photo that your teammates upload, you get one point. So the more people you refer to BillionGraves, the faster your point total will grow. The contest ends on February 29, 2012 at 5 PM PST. If your team earns 10,000 points, you, as team leader, will win a $10 Subway gift card. Then we will hold a drawing to select our Grand Prize winner. The more points you earn, the more entries you get in the drawing. We will make a grand announcement about our Grand Prize during RootsTech this weekend!
Visit our RootsTech Contest page to learn more about the contest. From this page, it is easy to tell your friends about BillionGraves by sending an email or posting to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Start growing your BillionGraves Team and help us build to a billion.
We can’t wait to see you at RootsTech!