Recently I posted about a free source for genealogists, Find A Grave By Name – Online memorials Make It Easy. The article is about a free genealogy site called findagrave.com. There are many free resources out there for genealogists and I am your resource for those free genealogy sites.
In this post I’ll go over how to find a grave by cemetery and another free online grave site resource called Billion Graves at billiongraves.com. Billion Graves is a bit different from the find a grave website because it is not really an online memorial site. This site is geared more towards the genealogist as a resource for finding graves of those he/she is researching or just for anyone searching for the burial location of someone else.
Why Would You Need To Find A Grave?
In the last post I made regarding how to find a grave by name, I had some questions pop up about why someone would actually need to find a grave. It does sound odd, but if you think about it there could be a lot of reasons why you do not know how to find a grave of a loved one.
Reasons Why You Would Need To Find A Grave Of A Loved One:
- Grave is unmarked – there have been quite a number of people in my family through-out the years who do not have, or did not in the past have, a headstone.
- Moved from the area – you could have moved from the area or maybe your relative has moved from the area and you do not know exactly where the person is buried.
- Researching family members you do not actually know – genealogists are researching family history and at some point in that research, you are bound to come up with a relative or some relatives whom you have never actually met. For instance, my mom’s grandfather who died when her dad was a child. I have never met him nor has she ever met him. He is buried in a place no one else in my family is buried and few people left alive today know of that location. She very recently took me to where he is buried so I can now pass that piece of our family history on.
- Adoption – adoption could play a role for either the parents who have given up a child or the child who most likely never knew the biological family.
- Unknown death – now this sounds absurd I’m sure, but trust me it happens. My mom’s sister passed away three months before anyone in the family was told and, to top it off, she was cremated. There is no final resting place for anyone to visit, but had she been buried an online find a grave site would come in very handy.
- Divorce – I have an aunt who died about twelve years ago. She is an aunt through my dad’s brother. The two divorced many years ago so technically she is no longer my aunt, but I was raised with her as an aunt and will always consider her this way. I did not know where she was buried and this is an example of why a site like findagrave.com or billiongraves.com are important. Researching any link to the family is important for completing your family tree…even the broken links.
- Family secrets – It is a sad thing indeed that families sometimes choose to cover up bits of their history and pretend they do not exist, but it does happen. As a child I remember my mom and her sisters talking about a young relative giving birth, many years ago when that was absolutely taboo, at the age of sixteen. She was unwed and her and the baby died during delivery. They were buried together on a hillside next to a tree. Now the only ones left who know about the girl and baby are my mom and her sisters, none of which remember what I am asking about. They are all in their seventies and their minds are failing. Without a name or something to go I cannot even check the databases to find her grave, but if I did have a name and location using one of the free genealogy sites like billiongraves.com would be an excellent way to find a grave by cemetery or name.
I’m sure there are other reasons why maybe you do not know where a grave of a loved one is, but I think you now understand there are cases where maybe you do not know. These online memorial and grave sites are meant for that purpose. To help the families connect with deceased loved ones and even living relatives who are searching for the same people they are.
Resource For Genealogy Research
How exactly does a site like Billion Graves help with family history research? Billion Graves and sites like it are a great resource for genealogists because they give you yet another avenue to find loved ones and ancestors. Sites like Billion Graves and Find A Grave give you the ability to search for deceased relatives by name, location, cemetery, birth year, death year, and they give you the possibility to do a broader search over like a 5-year span if you are uncertain of the exact year of death.
Billion Graves is a completely free genealogy site with the basic membership. There is an option to upgrade to premium, but that is completely optional. The free site works just fine.
I haven’t known about Billion Graves for long and I am still working with it to figure out all the aspects it has, but so far it seems like a good site. I do wish it had more records available and that will come when more and more people help to take and transcribe photos.
Volunteering Your Time In The Name Of Research
You can help to grow the databases within Billion graves! Do you ever visit cemeteries and loved ones at cemeteries? If you do you can help expand the databases simply by photographing graves for your loved ones!
Get the Billion Graves app for your android or IPhone. It is super simple to use! All you have to do is install the app and sign into your Billion Graves account. Then when you are in the app you’ll see the following picture:
To then add pictures onto the site, just click “Take Pictures” and start clicking away. The bottom left icon is where you set up your settings for auto upload, auto flash, preview after capture and more. I have mine set to not automatically upload so I can preview the picture prior to uploading. This comes in handy in case you need to retake the photo if it’s blurry or unfocused.
Once you take the photos you would transcribe them which is just entering the information from the stones into the database such as name, birth date, death date, etc. Presto…you now have added your loved ones into the database so someone else doing research will be able to find the record. It’s that simple. Create your account and save your favorite cemeteries and help someone else to be able to find a grave by cemetery or to find a grave by name!
I actually volunteer for cemeteries in my local area where I have no relatives buried. My family are all buried in other states so I volunteer to help with pictures within my local community to assist other researchers with their family research. We can all help each other get the information we are looking for. With the Billion Graves app it is super easy to get the photos and transcribe them. Volunteer today!
Areas Covered By Billion Graves
Billion Graves is available for many countries including the United Kingdom, United States, Mexico, the Netherlands, Mongolia, and many more! If the cemetery you need is not in the database already, simply add it! This site covers a lot of territory and connected to FamilySearch, which is the free genealogy site from The LDS Church which is the largest collection of genealogy records. The collection is massive and includes records from many countries.
Another Great Free Genealogy Website
Genealogy is about making connections with the past and present, and part of that is networking with other researchers. By helping others with their research you can in turn help yourself. Volunteer to donate pictures of a local cemetery and I assure you, someone will volunteer in a location where you need photos taken. You can also make photo requests and someone will answer the call!
Billion Graves is a growing site, but already encompasses a huge territory and will only grow as more and more people donate photos. With the Billion Graves app you can very easily add new photos and transcribe them later when you have a computer to view the pictures better. The account is completely free, unless you opt for the paid membership which comes with added benefits, but is completely unnecessary. The free account works just fine.
Billion Graves is a great free genealogy site which can definitely help you with your family history research! I look forward to hearing from you with comments and/or questions below. Please like and share this post with the links below if you found it beneficial.
Thank you for stopping by!