Billion Graves is a website that encourages volunteers to take pictures at cemeteries to post online and also volunteers to transcribe information from the pictures (once they are online). I have personally known a few genealogical nuts that have found ancestors through these gravesites – usually missing spouses or children that have been buried along side of the names they already have.
For those who are really into family history, it does seem convenient to have this site, as they are able to visit many cemeteries from around the world without the expense of actually having to physically travel. But only the recorded sites may provide the needed information. There are a number of graves that have yet to be photographed and transcribed.
Last night the girls and young women of my new ward had the opportunity to take pictures to load to the app. of said website. One of the leaders referred to Riddle Cemetery as a virgin cemetery – meaning it has never been photographed or documented.
When we arrived, there was a sign that announced that the cemetery was legally closed from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am. The activity started at 7:00 pm. Some were afraid the gates might get shut on us or that we would be arrested. I personally don't think that law is enforced. We worked at the cemetery (undisturbed) for just over an hour.
Many headstones – especially older ones – actually don’t provide a lot of information. Names. Sometimes years. Sometimes just a death but no birth. Sometimes marked unknown. We actually skipped over the unknowns. I wonder how many others were overlooked.
Jenna had Roland’s phone and claimed she had downloaded app – whether she did or not is unknown at this time. I followed her with my notebook to write down what I could see not knowing how well it would translate to film. (Actually there was a lot of information on the stones themselves that had been worn out over the decades; I had brought tracing paper to cover and shade or try rubbing information onto the paper - but did not work out to my expectations)
Now I wonder how many of us were photographing and recording in vain as I don’t know what has actually been sent to the app and what has not.
Riddle has several graves with this kind of marker.
This one actually had more information than most.
I did find an entire family, or so I believe – several circles with just names. And then finally two stood together with two names and dates. Perhaps they were the mom and dad of those others buried beneath?
Further down was this actual headstone. Perhaps the grandparents?
And then there were a few with gifts placed all around the statue.
In Salt Lake, the cemeteries are cleaned out right after they’re decorated. It is weird to see a cemetery that seems to stay decorated. A lot of the flowers were plastic or silk and not actual plants. I don’t know how long things stay. I know it is longer than Salt Lake though.
And then there was one that was facing a different direction than all others:
At first it appeared that the backside was blank, but when I looked again I did see an inscription. But I have no clue what it said
Many of the girls didn’t actually understand why we were there – though several of us tried to explain it to them. Jenna was mostly just interested in the friendships that she’s made and for the ice cream treat that was promised after our hard work.
I’m quite certain that we did not even get half of what was there.
When I tried to go to the site to see if anything had actually uploaded, I learned that volunteers that transcribe names off stones don’t necessarily do it with cemeteries where they may have been. Or at least in my case. I signed up to be a transcriber – but thus far all the stones have been from Wilson Cemetery or Sunset Memorial Park – both located somewhere in Oregon. I think Sunset might be in Coos Bay, but I’m not sure.
It’s nice to know that I can assist in somebody else’s research – even if it’s only in a small way. I don’t enjoy research myself and as I’ve stated in several blogs, family history (beyond those I actually know and have known in this earth life) just isn’t that important to me. But I know many who thrive on it, and I don’t mind doing the transcribing. It kind of makes me feel like I’m doing my part. And that’s a good thing.
I’m happy that I’ve had this opportunity. I have enjoyed living in this area.
* I didn’t mean to desecrate any that are deceased or those related. If anyone related to those I mentioned or pictures I posted feel offended, I will gladly remove them from this post. Just let me know *