Happy New Year, everyone! Surely 2021 will be better than 2020 – it has to be! It will be a strange day indeed when I go to the grocery store and see everyone’s faces unmasked. I’m not excited about going to restaurants again and being seated next to a loud, noisy table but the alternative this winter has been sitting outside in freezing weather with a coat and a fire pit. There is something to be said for indoor seating.
I’m back to “Website Wednesday” after taking a couple of weeks off on blogging to celebrate (sort of) the end of the year holidays. My plan this year is to have two posts a week, with the other post being about my ancestors or perhaps something historically or genealogically interesting. I’ve been spending time learning to use Evernote for genealogy and also really going back through all the family work I have done for the past 40 years, making sure I have good sources and citations. I also have quite a few documents and photos that need to be scanned. Never a dull moment!
This week’s website is BillionGraves.com. I imagine most of you are familiar with Find A Grave, owned by Ancestry. Find A Grave has had more of my family members recorded than BillionGraves, but I still use BillionGraves when I need to. It is a free site, although they do have features available for a subscription fee.
MyHeritage has partnered with BillionGraves so if you have a family tree on MyHeritage, you can access records for your family on that platform, similar to accessing Find A Grave on Ancestry.com. They have also partnered with FamilySearch and Findmypast.
You can volunteer to take photos of tombstones for BillionGraves. They also have volunteer opportunities for transcribers. I have not yet tried this feature, but it does seem interesting. There is also a family tree feature on BillionGraves. This is a four-generation chart if you have a free account, extended generations for BillionGraves Plus. They will provide suggestions for you to look at to see if they have graves for your ancestors.
As for the search features, you can search by person or by cemetery.
I searched for the last name Popplewell in Kentucky. I have a few Popplewell ancestors buried in Russell Springs, Kentucky. Here is an example of the page for Mary E. Popplewell:
Besides the tombstone information, nearby graves are listed and a life timeline for Mary is provided on the right-hand side. For Plus accounts, there will be GPS coordinates provided.
Below this section is even more information.
There are helpful links to find more about Mary Popplewell and her family relationships. Further down there is information on the cemetery. The Plus account gives you access to other Popplewells on BillionGraves. Of course, Mary does not have 639 birth records. The links point to MyHeritage and cover all possible Mary Popplewells. You will need a paid subscription to MyHeritage to view the records.
Anyone is free to edit the record with the editing links on the top toolbar, as long as you have signed up for a free account:
A subscription to Billion Graves Plus includes everything in the free lookup, plus additional information such as family plots, global family, nearby graves, and priority support. There are also no ads. A subscription costs $59.99 per year. At this time, they are offering a 50% off MyHeritage subscription for subscribing to BillionGraves.
With a subscription, the tombstone information will look like this:
If the cemeteries that your family members are buried in are here and you have a subscription to MyHeritage, this is a great resource. The free version is fine if you can find your ancestor on here and get more clues. Unfortunately, BillionGraves does not yet have the widespread reach of Find A Grave so I have not been able to connect with many of my ancestors and relatives on this site. As more volunteers photograph more tombstones, more ancestors and cemeteries will be added in the future.