As part of the global initiative we launched with BillionGraves earlier this year, the MyHeritage team recruited a group of enthusiastic volunteers to continue our efforts to digitize cemeteries.
After successfully digitizing a medium sized cemetery of historical significance earlier this year (see video), we decided to undertake our biggest challenge yet - to digitize Israel's largest cemetery - with over 200,000 graves. So earlier this week, we embarked on a one-of-a-kind project to photograph all headstones of the huge Holon cemetery in central Israel.
This was one of largest events of its kind ever organized - in the world!
The best aspect of the event was the true collaboration between MyHeritage and all leading genealogy organizations in Israel, in addition to MyHeritage power users. In total, some 120 people joined our initiative and participated, and approximately 150,000 gravestone photos were taken throughout the day! It was heart warming to see such collaboration among so many people who care about genealogy, from all ages, and all groups, working together to create an incredible resource that is free for all to use.
The day began at 8:30am - with MyHeritage employees and volunteers arriving at our offices - and ended at 6:30pm.
We work hard to provide greater access to family history information and so were thrilled to be awarded the Presidential Citation at the FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) conference this past weekend, along with BillionGraves, for our partnership in promoting the preservation of international burial locations.
The Federation of Genealogical Societies was established in 1976 and represents more than 500 member genealogy and history societies, including over a half-million individual members. You can learn more about FGS in our genealogy society spotlight blog post.
Gravestones are a great resource for family history investigation and a useful tool to learn more about your ancestors. They provide detailed information such as names, dates of birth and death and often describe personality. However, natural wear and tear means that these important family history sources need to be preserved before it’s too late. Together, MyHeritage and BillionGraves launched a global initiative to digitize cemeteries and gravestones to preserve these gravestones by making them accessible for free online to millions to aid in their family history research.
Watch the video below to hear MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet explain the tremendous importance of this project and the value of gravestones for genealogy.
We recently hosted an online webinar on how to discover family history through gravestones. We were joined by two of our experts - US genealogy advisor Schelly Talalay Dardashti and chief genealogist Daniel Horowitz.
Schelly talked about the information that can be revealed about family via gravestones. Daniel discussed our recent partnership with BillionGraves and how to get involved in preserving cemeteries for future generations.
Did you miss it? Don't worry! Click on the video below to watch the full webinar.
Don’t forget to check our other webinars for even more genealogy tips to help make family history research easier.
Have ideas for other webinars? Let us know in the comments below.
Earlier this month, the employees of MyHeritage's Israel headquarters visited a cemetery to digitize gravestones using the BillionGraves app.
We documented over 70% of the entire cemetery, over 50,000 images of gravestones, and it was the single largest event of its kind ever held in Israel. Read more about the event here.
We're now releasing a video about this project with footage from our trip to the cemetery. It includes an explanation from MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet, who participated in the trip and who personally digitized some 1,000 gravestones.
He explains the tremendous importance of this global initiative and the value of gravestones for genealogy. Our generation has the necessary tools, and it's our responsibility to get the world's gravestones online before their inscriptions erode. It's a race against time. You can see how easy it is for anyone to get involved and help to preserve these important pieces of family history for future generations.
Watch the video below:
Schelly Talalay Dardashti, MyHeritage's US Genealogy Advisor, will demonstrate the information that can be revealed about your family via gravestones. Daniel Horowitz, MyHeritage’s Chief Genealogist, will join us to discuss our recent partnership with BillionGraves and how you can use their mobile app to help preserve cemeteries for future generations.
Register for free here: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/261346007.
Date: Wednesday March 26, 2014.
1 PM CDT
2 PM EDT
6 PM GMT
(To find the time of the webinar for your location, use this Time Zone Converter.)
We look forward to seeing you!
We're excited to announce that MyHeritage has teamed up with BillionGraves to launch a global crowdsourcing initiative to digitally preserve the world’s cemeteries.