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!
Social media sites are great resources for your research. While other methods for research have been around longer, and are thus “tried and true,” social media is a good resource to try when your research becomes stale. Here is a brief overview of several social networking sites and how you can use them for family history research.
The most common social network is, of course, Facebook. People from all generations are connected on the site. Not only can you share personal information or questions with the people you have “friended” on Facebook, you can also share interesting articles, blogs, or other web pages on your profile. If you discover an important article about an ancestor’s hometown, you can share it on Facebook so other people can learn about it, too.
In the last two Research Roundups, we talked about collecting the written word—in the form of personal papers and email. Today, we’ll talk about how to gather photographs and make sense out of the billions and billions of images you have. The wonderful thing about FHnotebook is how you can organize your files into your specific notebooks, storing pictures next to documents and audio files, and you can further label each file with category tags to make them searchable.
First, and most importantly, find a systematic way to gather and digitize your hard copy pictures. Even if you don’t want to spend the time or money to create beautiful digital copies, you should still document your hard copies for several reasons: 1) Security: storing and backing up your files in the cloud means that you’ll always have access to copies of your files, no matter what happens to your computer or home; 2) Storage space: instead of keeping thousands of important photos readily accessible in boxes and file cabinets, you can store them all digitally in your FHnotebook, which will use less space and be more easily accessible; and 3) Organization: not only can you search and find specific items more easily with FHnotebook, but you can add category tags to pictures to group related images in multiple ways, helping you make crucial connections in your family history research.