Saturday, June 1, 2013

Billion Graves Review

On 24 May we discussed conducting on-line cemetery searches, focusing mainly on the features and capabilities of Find A Grave.  Today we will take a look at another site gaining in popularity Billion Graves,  Perhaps not the most scientific method of evaluating the site, I chose to look at several cemeteries when I have ancestors buried to see how much data Billion Graves has on them. 

Unfortunately, that evaluation technique didn't provide a very favorable picture of Billion Graves.  I looked at the Las Animas Cemetery (4899) in Bent County, Colorado; Fairview (6002) Cemetery in La Junta, Colorado; Faskin Cemetery (1847) in Carthage, Missouri; Pleasant Hill (303) and St. Fredericks Cemeteries (146) in Mason County, Illinois and there were no entries for any of the cemeteries.  I also looked at Crown Hill Cemetery (861) in Indianapolis, one of the largest cemeteries in the country, and it had just 177 records, none of which were my wife's family.  Springbank Cemetery (527) in Ross County, Ohio had 78 entries, none of which were my Ritchhart ancestors who donated the land for the cemetery and I know that about ten are buried there.  

By contrast, when looking at these cemeteries with Find a Grave the results are markedly better.  The numbers in parenthesis in the preceding paragraph are the entries from Find a Grave.  Additionally, the Find a Grave search listed my ancestors in every cemetery except Crown Hill.

I did notice that Billion Graves has created a very good infrastructure, because it had listed all of the cemeteries I was looking for--there just weren't any or very few entries at these cemeteries.  In fact, I noticed in Mason County, Illinois it listed forty-four cemeteries; but there wasn't a single entry in any of them.  

Based on my unscientific search, I believe Billion Graves has a lot of work to do to catch up with Find A Grave.  My recommendation would be to search Find A Grave first and if you don't find your person of interest, then look at Billion Graves.

I should point out that both of these sites, Billion Graves and Find A Grave are free sites.