Paying It Forward with an app

Trekking through a cemetery in December is not something one can normally do in the Midwest. But this past week I spent a few minutes in the oldest cemetery in St. Joseph, MO, taking photos of headstones. I do this to ???????pay it forward???????? for genealogy help I????????ve received over the years. It also combines my interests in genealogy, photography and technology.

To do this I use an iPhone app from, a company with a mission. Their aim is to photograph and transcribe headstones throughout the world for family historians. The app for iPhone and Android uses the phone????????s camera to take photos of the tombstone and uploads the photo to BillionGraves???????? database. There the photo awaits volunteer transcribers to enter the data into a searchable database. This makes family data available with just a few keystrokes instead of a journey of many miles. The program also uses Google maps to locate the cemetery with the GPS coordinates attached to the photos uploaded.

I????????ve added small rural cemeteries to the database and my families???????? tombstones. When logging into BillionGraves this week I saw that someone, or perhaps a team of people, has recently added over 1500 headstones at the National Cemetery at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. Another worthwhile project and hundreds of those photos are waiting for transcription.

The program is free and can be searched by going to and creating an account and then searching. The genealogy treasure trove of family information, headstone photos, and cemetery location and satellite pictures is available to all. I????????m hoping someone in Kentucky will find this app and take photos of my ancestors buried there. This simple app makes it possible for all genealogists to ???????pay it forward.????????


I have been involved with publishing and marketing for the past 32 years. My passion is helping people share their voice. I am able to do this through two important venues: One, with where people can share everything from opinions to events to news. It is your choice! What do you want to share? Two, through a new program called America's Real Deal I am involved with to help business owners get their voice heard.I schedule speaking engagements with community groups and business groups to share my passion about the importance of "sharing your voice".Contact me directly at lee@leeeverton.coom for scheduling information.

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