Have you heard of the BillionGraves Project? If you haven’t yet, you will soon … as they really are leading the way with a new way to photograph and transcribe cemetery headstones worldwide.  And in doing so, it’s making millions of cemetery records readily available to the public. Using the BillionGraves app on a smartphone, which is available for both iPhone (or iPad) and Android, you can take photos of the headstones in your local cemetery which are GPS-tagged. These are then uploaded to the internet and transcribed for easy searching, and the information on the headstones is then made available to the public. The BillionGraves software is free, easy to use, and available for desktop computers and smartphones.

The Challenge – BillionGraves, have a ‘Million More in May’ promotion. They are asking all users to go out and take thousands of photos in their local cemeteries during May. With a collaborative effort they are aiming for 1,000,000 (one million) new records in one month!

The Reward – If you are one of the most stellar picture-takers or transcribers during this promotion, you’ll be publicly recognized on the BillionGraves Leaderboard on their website. You’ll be famous at BillionGraves.com, and you’ll motivate others to continue adding new images and transcribing records. At the end of the month, the top 25 photographers and the top 25 transcribers will be rewarded with a free BillionGraves t-shirt!

Extra Motivation – And as extra motivation, they would like to remind you about the value of the BillionGraves database. The information that has been gathered to date (and the new info coming in) 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. We know this information is priceless, and that’s why BillionGraves exists. So, when we all contribute new records, we all benefit from the information collected.

Get Started – All you need to get started if you haven’t already is to register for free on the BillionGraves website, then download the app for your iOS or Android device, wait for a nice fine day, pack a lunch, and then go nuts taking headstone photos!

So dear fellow genienuts – here’s another excuse for you to go traipsing through a cemetery – not that you need an excuse, I know, but May is definately a good time for you to whip out your iPhone, iPod, or Android and go snap happy in a cemetery.