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.
Gravestones play a very important role in genealogy. They provide vital information such as the person’s name, the names of close relatives and dates of birth and death. They often describe the deceased’s character and personality, providing a glimpse into the person’s life. However, billions of gravestones in thousands of cemeteries worldwide have never been documented nor has their information been made available online.
In addition, time is chipping away at the gravestones and many are becoming unreadable over the years. Age, and exposure to the elements, means that what is written on the stone eventually fades, making it harder, and sometimes impossible, to read them and know who has been buried there.
Today we have the necessary tools – it is up to our generation to preserve these headstones and store their valuable information online for the future.
BillionGraves is a one-of-a-kind application, available for both iOS and Android, which uses patent-pending technology to enable users to photograph and document gravestones. With the help of MyHeritage, the app will be available in 25 languages, and support Gregorian, Hebrew and Julian dates. It records the GPS locations of gravestones to make them easy to find and volunteers can easily see which areas of any cemetery remain undocumented, to maximize efficiency and avoid duplication. The gravestone photographs are then transcribed by volunteers on the BillionGraves website, resulting in searchable digital data.
In just two years, BillionGraves has already amassed millions of headstone records, uploaded by 70,000 volunteers.
Starting immediately, we’ll be reaching out to the users of MyHeritage and encouraging them to join us in using BillionGraves to preserve and document gravestones worldwide – for future generations. The records will be available for free on BillionGraves’ website, and MyHeritage’s search engine for historical records, SuperSearch. Each record will contain photographs of the gravestone, GPS coordinates, and an index of corresponding information.
MyHeritage Record Matching technology will be unleashed on the new records and users will automatically receive notifications of any new cemetery records that match individuals in their family tree. Users can save new cemetery records and extract relevant information directly to their family tree, helping them discover vital details about relatives and find out more about their ancestors.
This global initiative is a great way for MyHeritage users to contribute to the future of family history research, and to help preserve their own family legacies, as well as the legacies of others. Through our partnership with BillionGraves, MyHeritage continues to add additional digitized global content, providing enormous value to millions of users.
We’ll be posting more details soon about how you can participate in this global mission and help preserve the information today, for the generations to come.
The MyHeritage team