BillionGraves is all about making family history research accessible. The driving force behind it is the idea that a volunteer force records headstones around the world and compiles the transcribed data in one place on The database is free to search on the web, and it is now free to search from your iPhone or Android phone as well!

Why you should visit your local cemetery

Think of the BillionGraves effort as a wall waiting to be painted. If the painter puts smatterings of paint haphazardly across the wall, he’ll probably miss spots and leave an uneven layer of color. Yes, the wall will be painted, and yes, he can fill in the gaps, but if he had been methodical about painting the wall, he would be certain he covered the entire wall, and his cleanup work later would be reduced. There are clear benefits of being methodical about the picture-taking process with BillionGraves, too. Since we have volunteers working around the world, we can all finish painting the wall in record time. If you paint in your corner of the world, and she paints in hers, and so on, we’ll be certain we are covering the world’s cemeteries and collecting all the data we can to help people research their families from the comfort of their homes.

We can reach our goal of collecting one billion graves with the efforts of our volunteers. We appreciate your efforts, and we encourage you to continue to gather records from your local cemeteries. While it is exciting and moving to visit cemeteries where your relatives are buried, it is also vital to capture the data waiting for you in your local cemetery. Think of my mom. She lives in Florida, but all of her relatives are buried in the West, either in Colorado, Utah, or Idaho. She is waiting for the research from all of those cemeteries to be collected so she has access to her relatives’ information. While she waits, she has the opportunity to visit her local cemeteries in Florida, record the headstones in those cemeteries, and supply the data other families are waiting for in Maine, Kansas, Venezuela, or any other place around the world.

Get the youth involved

Getting your children or grandchildren involved will also speed up the process. Kids have natural technological abilities that we adults didn’t grow up learning. They can be a force for good as you visit cemeteries in your area. Let them provide service for their community, and let them learn at a young age the respect and appreciation for those who have gone before them that you have.

We can’t say this enough—we appreciate every effort from every volunteer. Let’s keep telling our friends about BillionGraves, visiting our local cemeteries, and transcribing the wealth of data that is flooding into our database.