A few days ago I downloaded Billion Graves’ Android App. I was pretty sure I knew what their website was about, and how to do it, but I watched their video to make sure.


There were two reasons behind my decision. #1. I’ve never found a relative in Billion Graves, not one. Instead of moaning and complaining that none of my ancestors are in there, I thought, “Why not add what’s near me?” Someone else will be able to find their relatives, and hopefully someday that “pay-it-forward” philosophy will come back with my relatives!

#2. Recently Family Search announced they had partnered with Billion Graves. I like Family Search. I’ve been indexing there for a while, and thought helping with Billion Graves would help both sites.

Their “Get Started” page said, “Devices with standard GPS work well with BillionGraves…GPS Hardware is required to take and upload pictures…You do not need a live data connection however to take pictures with the BillionGraves app. Taking pictures in remote areas with no cell coverage works fine!”

I was really pumped to visit a cemetery and start snapping photos. Alas, after I arrived, I found my smart phone wasn’t so smart, at least not with the Billion Graves app. Billion Graves Screen ShotI couldn’t get the camera to work. When I clicked the button I got an error message, “Camera failed to open.”

So the phone was put away, and my Android tablet was brought out. Unfortunately that too, had it’s own problems. Every time I clicked the “take picture” button, it said it needed an internet connection, which really riled me, considering on Billion Graves website it said, “Taking photos with no cell coverage works fine.” If the app needs cell coverage, they’re going to miss a lot of cemeteries out in the boonies!

Speaking of cemeteries, I was really impressed how quickly the GPS located the four cemeteries I visited (yes, I actually went out twice, to two different cemeteries both times). That feature worked great on both devices.

That evening, I zipped off a message to their help desk, giving full details about both devices, the operating system, and anything else I thought would help them figure it out. Sadly four days have now passed, and I’ve heard nary a word. My enthusiasm for taking photos has deflated faster than a balloon.

I’ve uninstalled their app from both my phone and my tablet. For the time being, I am stuck at home, transcribing dusty photos others have taken. Ok, they’re not really dusty, but I feel like I’m stuck in an underground filing room far from the light of day. I’d much rather be outside, collecting photos.