30 September 2011

September T-shirt Winners

Today's the last day to upload photos for a September t-shirt. Here are this month's winners:

  • Ddwertman
  • lmwillett
  • Sophie
  • mlmckenzie
  • smflatness
  • Gayle
  • sadie63
  • Jeremyeguzman
  • waynedaz
  • Simini
  • WizardAlex
  • J_and_K
  • marnweeks
  • lisabug
If you've crossed the 1,000 threshold (for either GPS-tagged photos or transcriptions) and you have received an email from me, send me a note at kristy.stewart @ billiongraves.com. If you have received an email from me, make sure you've sent me your t-shirt size and address so I can get your shirt to you.

26 September 2011

Another Successful Saturday

This weekend we held our mapping event in Sandy, Utah, USA. We spread the word as best we could to the genealogy community, and we were pleasantly surprised by some new faces among the usual suspects. We started out the day by training everyone on how to use the app, paired some people up in teams so one person could clear the headstone and one could snap photos, and quickly netted ourselves 1,163 new images in Larkin Sunset Gardens.

Our efforts were slightly overshadowed by Hokie374, who single-handedly uploaded 1,682 images this Saturday in Benton County Memorial Gardens in Arkansas, USA.

We saw a big turnout from those of you who couldn’t come to Saturday’s event by virtue of living too far away. On Saturday there were 4,810 uploads—the highest since the end of our first monthly contest in August.

1,682 images in Benton County Memorial Gardens (Arkansas, USA)
1,163 images in Larkin Sunset Gardens (Utah, USA)
863 images in National Military Cemetery (Ohio, USA)
493 images in Lehi Cemetery (Utah, USA)
137 images in Woodlawn Cemetery (Indiana, USA)
121 images in Provo City Cemetery (Utah, USA)
119 images in Hurricane City Cemetery (Utah, USA)
93 images in Riverside (Michigan, USA)
60 images in Treynor Zion Congregational Cemetery (Iowa, USA)
40 images in Wentz Cemetery (Indiana, USA)
23 images in Chiefland (Florida, USA)
6 images in Glen Haven Memorial Cemetery (Ohio, USA)
4 images in Mount Hope Cemetery (California, USA)
2 images in Riverton City Cemetery (Utah, USA)
1 image in Coney Hill Cemetery & Crematorium (England, United Kingdom)
1 image in Penrose Cemetery (Colorado, USA)
1 image in Grace Episcopal Cemetery (Maryland, USA)
1 image in Sandy City Cemetery (Utah, USA)

Thanks to everyone who contributed on Saturday (and every other day this weekend, for that matter)!

23 September 2011

Growing Grave Records

The BillionGraves database of headstone photos and transcribed records just keeps growing, thanks to all of you. Starting this week, I’m going to post a list of all the countries you’ve been uploading from, along with lists of the states, provinces, and other sections within each country. This week we’ve had additions from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Sweden.

This Week’s Additions

United Kingdom
  • England
  • Wales
United States
  • Arkansas 
  • California 
  • Florida 
  • Georgia 
  • Hawaii 
  • Idaho 
  • Illinois 
  • Indiana 
  • Iowa 
  • Kentucky 
  • Louisiana 
  • Maine 
  • Maryland 
  • Massachusetts 
  • Michigan 
  • Minnesota 
  • Nebraska 
  • New York 
  • North Carolina 
  • Ohio 
  • Oklahoma 
  • Oregon 
  • Pennsylvania 
  • South Carolina 
  • South Dakota 
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Skåne 
  • Västra Götaland

Newest T-shirt Winners

Along with our new photos and records, we also have some new t-shirt winners. Congratulations!
  • smflatness (1697 images)
  • Gayle (1154 transcriptions)
  • sadie63 (1020 transcriptions)
  • Jeremyeguzman (1005 transcriptions)
  • Simini (1080 transcriptions)
  • waynedaz (1076 transcriptions)

Mapping Even Tomorrow

Last of all, don’t forget that tomorrow is the mapping even in Sandy, Utah, USA. If you’re in the Wasatch Front are or know someone who is, set your reminders. We’ll see you at Larkin Sunset Gardens at 9:00 a.m.!

14 September 2011

Event: Cemetery Mapping in Sandy, Utah

It's been a while since the BillionGraves team last organized a cemetery-mapping event, so we're planning one for next Saturday, September 24. You're invited.
  • WHO: Anyone near enough to join us (photo collectors and transcribers are all welcome!).
  • WHAT: Mapping out the Memorial Gardens of the Valley / Larkin Sunset Gardens area.
  • WHEN: September 24, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. 
  • WHERE: Memorial Gardens of the Valley / Larkin Sunset Gardens in Sandy, Utah, USA. It's on the corner of 1700 E and Dimple Dell Road (10600 S). If you go east off the 10600 S exit coming off of I-15 you have a straight shot out to the cemetery. Meet in the circular patch of cemetery marked below.

I hope to see lots of you there! We'll plan on staying for an hour at least. Come as you can, leave early if you must. Even if you can only stop in for 15 minutes or so between your kids' soccer games, we'd be happy to have you.

In other news, we've had four people earn their t-shirt this month (there are lots of other people who have crossed the 1,000 mark, but many of them have already earned their shirts).

  • Ddwertman (1413 photos)
  • lmwillet (1318 photos)
  • Sophie (1875 transcriptions)
  • mlmckenzie (1046 transcriptions)

Awesome work, you four. Thank you for your contributions!

09 September 2011

Transcribing for Posterity

Recently BillionGraves crossed the 200,000-record mark, and the number it still climbing. In light of all these available records, I thought I’d revisit some points on how to give the best you can while you’re transcribing.

The most important part about transcribing is remembering that you’re trying to make sure as much information as possible gets into the searchable fields. Our search engine can’t search images; it can only search words. The more information you get into typed-up words, the more information the search engine can sort through to help people find their families.

With that in mind, most of these points will be apparent.
  • Transcribe every part of the name and as much of a date as you can. This is going to be one of the most important things you can do because names and dates are the first way researchers will try to locate someone.
  • Transcribe the ages of the deceased individual (if it is written on the stone). Some headstones or grave markers provide only one date: either the birth date or the death date. However, many of these stones will say how old the individual was in years, and possibly even months and days as well. This information is as important as a date. It will help researchers narrow their search in other records besides the headstone.
  • Transcribe the epitaph if you can at all read it (and if there is one on the stone).* It is less likely that a descendant will be using the epitaph to search for someone. However, because epitaphs are typically complete phrases, they are sometimes easier to remember than names and dates. Someone searching for a stone they once visited might be able to remember the epitaph and not the name.
  • Transcribe any other information you can get off the stone. Any of the stone’s information could be helpful in finding an individual’s grave and in recording it for posterity. If you can read it, please put it in your transcription, even if you aren’t sure what it means.
  • Transcribe headstones in their native language. If you would like to provide a translation into your own language, you may do so in the Description field. However, the transcription information should include the headstone information as it appears on the stone. That is the primary goal of the transcription. Anything else is gravy. If you cannot transcribe the stone in its native tongue, skip it.
If you’re following those principles, other aspects of transcribing don’t matter as much. Some of you transcribe in all caps (which used to be standard in genealogy transcriptions because it saves the difficulty of figuring out what to capitalize). This is just fine, because your transcription will show up in the search just the same, and the important thing is to direct searchers to the photo. If you capitalize normally, even if the headstone is carved in all caps, that is also just fine—the transcription will show up in a search normally. The important part is to turn the headstone’s text into something the BillionGraves search engine can understand.

Thank you for all your hard work, and for pushing the records we can share above 200,000!
*Currently the BillionGraves search engine cannot search the epitaph or description fields of a transcription, but it is something we will add eventually.

02 September 2011

Deciphering Welsh Writing

Transcribers may have noticed the recent influx of Welsh headstones. When BillionGraves first started to get a lot of photos from Sweden, one of our users provided information to help us transcribe Swedish stones. Luckily one of the individuals uploading photos from Wales has supplied a similar primer that explains phrases and words that commonly appear on Welsh headstones. Below are list of months, weekdays, family relations, feminine and masculine possessive forms, plural possessive forms, notes of affection (usually found in the epitaph), preliminary statements (also common in epitaphs), and  other key words and phrases.

You’ll notice that some words appear in more than one form. For example, son appears as both mab and fab. This is because in Welsh, certain letters undergo a sound mutation when combined with other sounds. Thus mab means son when the word stands alone, but in a phrase like her beloved son it appears as fab (ei hannwyl fab) because the M sound mutates to an F (which, in Welsh, sounds like the English V—are you confused yet?).

(Note: Even though this post will give you translations for some Welsh words, please transcribe the stone in the original language; you can add the English translation in the description box if you so choose. Most of these are listed to help you determine which words on the stone are names and how to determine the birth and death dates.)

Months of the Year
Welsh: English
Ionawr: January
Chwefror: February
Mawrth: March
Ebrill: April
Mai: May
Mehefin: June
Gorffennaf/Gorphenaf: July
Awst: August
Medi: September
Hydref: October
Tachwedd: November
Rhagfyr: December

Days of the Week
Dydd Llun: Monday
Dydd Mawrth: Tuesday
Dydd Mercher: Wednesday
Dydd Iau: Thursday
Dydd Gwener: Friday
Dydd Sadwrn: Saturday
Dydd Sul: Sunday

Family Relations
Baban: Baby
Brawd: Brother
Cefnder: Cousin (Male)
Chwaer: Sister
Cyfnither: Cousin (Female)
Gwraig: Wife
Gwr: Husband
Mab: Son
Mam: Mother
Mam-gu: Grandmother
Merch: Daughter
Nai: Nephew
Nain: Grandmother
Nith: Niece
Plant: Children
Plentyn: Child
Priod: Spouse
Tad: Father
Tad-cu: Grandfather
Taid: Grandfather
Wyr: Grandson
Wyres: Granddaughter

Feminine Possessive Forms
Ei gwr: Her husband
Ei mab: Her son
Ei merch: Her daughter
Ei mherch: Her daughter
Ei phlentyn: Her spouse
Ei phriod: Her spouse
Ei hannwyl blentyn: Her beloved child
Ei hannwyl briod: Her beloved spouse
Ei hannwyl fab: Her beloved son
Ei hannwyl ferch: Her beloved daughter
Ei hannwyl wr: Her beloved husband

Masculine Possessive Forms
Ei blentyn - His child
Ei briod - His Spouse
Ei fab - His son
Ei ferch - His daughter
Ei Wraig - His wife
Ei annwyl blentyn - His beloved child
Ei annwyl briod - His beloved spouse
Ei annwyl fab - His beloved Son
Ei annwyl ferch - His beloved daughter
Ei annwyl wraig - His beloved wife

Plural Possessive Forms
Eu mab: Their son
Eu baban: Their baby
Eu merch: Their daughter
Eu plenty: Their child
Eu hannwyl blentyn: Their beloved child
Eu hannwyl fab: Their beloved son
Eu hannwyl faban: Their beloved baby
Eu hannwyl ferch: Their beloved daughter

Notes of Affection
Anwyl Blant: the beloved children
Annwyl blentyn: the beloved child
Annwyl briod: the beloved spouse
Annwyl dad: the beloved father
Annwyl fab: the beloved son
Annwyl faban: the beloved baby
Annwyl fam: the beloved mother
Annwyl ferch: the beloved daughter
Annwyl wr: the beloved husband
Annwyl wraig: the beloved wife

Preliminary Statements
Bedd: Grave
Er cof am: In memory of
Er cof tyner am: In tender memory of
Er serchog gof am: In loving memory of
Er serchus gof am: In loving memory of
Gorweddle: The resting place
I gofio’n dyner am: In tender memory of
O dan y garreg hon: Underneath this stone
Yma y claddwyd: Here was buried
Yma y gorwedd: Here lieth

Other Key Words and Phrases for Headstones
Blwyddyn: Year
Corff/Corph: Body
Diwrnod: Day
Dydd: Day
Ganwyd: Born
Gynt o: Formally of
Hefyd: Also
Hunodd yn yr Iesu: Fell asleep in Jesus
Isod: Underneath/Below
Mis: Month
Oed: Age
O’r plwyf hwn: Of this parish
Y dywededig uchod: The above named (Male)
Y Ddywededig uchod: The above named (Female)
Yn 7 mlwydd oed: 7 years old
Yr hwn a fu farw: Who died (Male)
Yr Hon a fu farw: Who died (Female)
Uchod: Above

If you’re looking up Welsh words in a dictionary, remember that CH, FF, LL, RH, TH, and DD are all distinct alphabet letters with their own sounds, so words that start with CH will be found in the CH section of a dictionary, not the C section, etc.

If you think transcribers could use some tips for transcribing headstones from your area, send some notes to me at kristy.stewart @ billiongraves.com and I’ll share them here for everyone to use.

01 September 2011

August’s Winners and September’s Contest

August has been a photo-, map-, and transcription-filled month, and you all have been amazing in the process. Every one of you contributing to BillionGraves has contributed to the awesome growth we’ve seen and to the growing number of complete cemetery records and photos that are now available.

Looking Back at August

There have been thousands of photos uploaded, and there have been many thousands of records transcribed. In fact, there have been so many transcriptions from dedicated individuals that even though we said this month’s promotion would only give t-shirts to those who uploaded photos from the app that we’re sending t-shirts to individuals who transcribed over 1,000 images in August. (If you’re one of these great people, check your email and please get your t-shirt size and shipping information to me as soon as possible.)

Here are this month’s winners and their totals (as of around 10:00 p.m. GMT):

Photo collectors:
  • Dswillet (10504)
  • Gableboy (2327)
  • Mitchowl (8087)
  • PapaMoose (1014)
  • ValerieC84 (1088)
  • GeneologyMaster (1151)
  • Hokie374 (9016)
  • tjalbrecht (5269)
  • ladyr0wan (1210)
  • DdraigGoch (1618)
  • crex (1159)
  • Anne Ryan (1998)
  • Bmathis (1452)
  • Rbemis01 (4127)
  • MichaelMcCormick
  • Chynna67 (1433)
  • Vickytb (1120)
  • TaraDuncan (1078)
  • waterfreak2009 (1925)
  • Chrisser (2115)
  • Joe&Murphy (1572)
  • huntingsage (1137)
  • grave_hopper (1169)
  • shelter (1737)
  • masters001 (1047)
  • dvdmovieking (1006)
  • Catirrel (1089)

Transcribers (if a transcriber already earned a t-shirt from uploading photos, he or she doesn’t get another one):
  • trishkovach (11536)
  • DdraigGoch (10961)
  • RWhisnant (10197)
  • EAC61 (6577)
  • Rbemis01 (5181)
  • SouthPawPhilly (5080)
  • Anne Ryan (3222)
  • Finnsh (3140)
  • Chynna67 (3115)
  • juicyjaffa (2429)
  • dvdmovieking (2141)
  • MollyM (2042)
  • Russell808 (1834)
  • tjalbrecht (1729)
  • grave_hopper (1425)
  • cemeteryschlep (1365)
  • foxhunt (1298)
  • sls1966 (1268)
  • deacent (1151)
  • Bmathis (1059)
  • delmonic1970 (1019)

To everyone, even those who didn’t make it into the over-1,000 club, thank you so much for your contributions to the BillionGraves project!

Looking Forward to September

Now that August is over, what are we going to do for September? For starters, we’re going to duplicate last month’s t-shirt contest: If you upload 1,000 GPS-verified* photos OR transcribe 1,000 photos, you will earn a BillionGraves t-shirt. For those of you who have already won your t-shirt, you won’t get another one if you cross the 1,000-photo threshold, but I hope you won’t let your cemetery-mapping habits falter.

Also, even if you’ve already won your t-shirt, don’t stop there! Let your spouses, friends, children, grandchildren, cousins, neighbors—even complete strangers—know about BillionGraves. The more people we have working on the project, the more cemeteries we can get mapped out, and the more ancestors we can help each other find.

*GPS-verified photos are headstone photos that come through the free BillionGraves app for iPhone and Android.