With the new cooperative initiative between MyHeritage and BillionGraves it should be possible within a relatively short period of time to document thousands of cemeteries.  This will allow researchers to connect with burial information regarding their relatives all over the world.  The force behind this revolution will be the volunteers involved and IGRA is excited to be a partner in preserving this valuable information.  Please join in this effort!

In order to participate you need a “smart phone” (preferably an iPhone).  Use this link – www.billiongraves.com/myheritage to access the BillionGraves site.   You need to register and as your User Name please use your first name, last initial and then IGRA (for instance:        FirstL IGRA). Choose a password you will remember (write it down somewhere as well).  On your phone, download the free BillionGraves app.  Log in with your pre-chosen User Name and password.

The BillionGraves app can tell you if a specific cemetery has already been documented and if it is complete or only partially worked on.  The app is used to photograph each tombstone and has the option of linking several images together allowing you to photograph the front and back and zoom in on writing while keeping the initial complete picture of the grave.  Later on there will be the process of transcribing the information.

Now, with a few tips, you’re ready to set out and document a cemetery!

  • Make sure you capture all of the writing on the tombstone in your picture.
  • In the upper left corner you’ll see the possibility to link two or more images allowing you to take additional pictures of writing that may not be clear in the initial picture (or the front and back of a tombstone).
  • Be sure to respect the gravestones.
  • Avoid having your shadow in the picture.
  • You may need a brush to help clear away leaves or dirt – but there is no need to clean the gravestone and do not use shaving cream or other methods of “enhancing” the writing.
  • Depending on the weather – have a hat and water for drinking with you.

IGRA hopes to motivate and mobilize volunteers within Israel to capture the images in many of the cemeteries today undocumented.  We encourage people everywhere to help in this project both in your own communities and when you are traveling.

What an opportunity to make a difference, to capture family history and preserve it for the generations to come.

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