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Cemetery Photography

16 August 2011

Some time back, billiongraves.com made it to my weekly faves list.  Embarassing as it may be to admit this, it was one of two reasons I got an iPhone4.  Yes, me = big giant genealogy geek.  I downloaded the app as soon as I got my phone, anxious to get an opportunity to use it.

My mom celebrated what would have been her 76th birthday last Friday.  On Sunday, the entire family had a nice lunch at my house; then it was off to the cemetery to visit Lola Fely’s grave.  A few kilometers before we got there, I began to create a new cemetery profile on the BillionGraves database; but it wouldn’t let me.  I chucked the activity all together and figured I could do that when I got to my PC (and I was right).  After our family said our prayers, I took the opportunity to take photos of a small section of the nearby area with my iPhone camera.  I tried to upload my 20+ photos but the  Globe signal could not handle it.  When I got within the coverage of a good wi-fi, I was able to upload the photos to my account, straight from my iPhone.

Later that day, I accessed  BillionGraves.com on my desktop.  There was only one other cemetery in the Philippines on their database — Zamboanga.  I was able to create the second one with no problems.  I then transcribed the names and details on the headstone photos I took, so it may be searchable on-line.  The location of the headstones are also neatly plotted on a map.  I will definitely go on more cemetery photography excursions soon!

I see this app as a great help to Filipino genealogists.  Considering how documentation can be difficult to find, this tools gives us the power to create an alternative to written records.  What we need is more photographers with GPS-enabled phones/cameras who don’t get creeped out in cemeteries.  Anyone want to join me?  Old graveyards like the North Cemetery in Manila or Spanish era churches would be an awesome place to do this.

The grave markers, plotted on a satellite photo.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. 16 August 2011 16:28

    I have been dying to do just that since May 2007. Thankfully, the technology has greatly improved and taking pictures with gps coordinates imbedded is now integrated. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t aware of BillionGraves.com until now. Thank you for sharing! I shall try it out and definitely spend serious time visiting cemeteries whenever I am in the Philippines.

  2. Mona permalink
    16 August 2011 19:53

    Let me know — I can be your sementeryo buddy!

    • 16 August 2011 22:54

      Are you sure about that?! I’ll have you tormented with all the different ones I’ll want to visit, photograph and catalogue! HA HA HA. There are so many different cemeteries I want to visit all over the country. But I’ll definitely let you know (I might be brave and start in La Loma.) By the way, thanks again for the heads up about BillionGraves.com. I’m so excited about it that while I’m waiting to head to the Philippines for Christmas, I’m transcribing some of the headstones photographed and uploaded. It will be such a boon to the Filipino genealogical community to have this information made available online.

    • Mona permalink
      16 August 2011 23:25

      Yes, of course! So happy to find another living soul who is geeking out over the possibility of mapping and transcribing grave markers. We need more of us!

    • Mona permalink
      16 August 2011 23:26

      La Loma? I am there! Soo many historical figures buried there … fun!

  3. 17 August 2011 02:19

    Great! I’ll get in contact with you when I get to Manila and we can head to La Loma sometime after Christmas. I’m very excited. Hoping to find/document some family graves there too….

    • Mona permalink
      19 August 2011 06:27

      I also would like to find family. I know my grandmother is buried in La Loma. Apparently her parents are also nearby, something I only knew about recently. I have been warned though that to get to her, I have to pass “condo’s”. I will have to wear rock climbing gear … and work out. I need cardio strength just to visit them.

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