BillionGraves project scans entire Wilco cemetery

A cemetery does not usually come to mind when one thinks of the destination of a youth group excursion, but Jared Swan, a family history consultant for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, thought it was the perfect activity for his church’s youth.

According to its webpage, is a free website people can use to locate headstone pictures from around the world. Genealogy buffs know this is vital information to add to their genealogical charts, but before the information can be documented, it has to be found. also focuses on the indexing of grave sites.

With permission from the Palm Valley Lutheran Church in Round Rock and an app downloaded to their smartphones, Jared and his youth group canvassed the entire Palm Valley Lutheran Church Cemetery in less than forty minutes. They took a photo of each headstone, noted GPS locations for each plot, and then transcribed the names and dates from the headstones onto the website, which will make the information available to the public.

Amateur genealogist Cynthia Elizondo has recently been searching for headstone photos to add to her genealogy. “[The photos] are a solid and reliable source. It’s not uncommon to find conflicting dates and information when doing this work, but most people aren’t going to carve something in stone if it’s not right.”

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