Headstones nationwide are suffering from erosion, and burial grounds from closures for new developments. We need to act now to preserve these crumbling records.
Last month family history data website www.TheGenealogist.co.uk launched a major new collection of gravestone transcriptions and photographs from burial grounds across the UK – all linked to Google maps and fully searchable. You can find full details in the new printed edition of Discover Your Ancestors (Issue 3 – see page 2 for further information).
But you can help, too. The site has now set up a volunteer-based crowd-sourcing scheme where anyone can contribute to this fantastic resource by photographing and transcribing inscriptions in local graveyards. Doing so will earn you credits towards a subscription with TheGenealogist or products from its sister organisation S&N Genealogy (www.genealogysupplies.com). So it's a great way to help fellow family historians and benefit as you do so.
To get started, simply head to www.ukindexer.co.uk/headstone and follow the straightforward instructions there – and see our guide to the first steps below.
Anyone in the UK can register at www.ukindexer.co.uk/headstone to help other family historians and gain credits for genealogy data and products in the process.
Once you have registered with your name, username, email address and password, you will see a map of Britain – use the search box to pick a place, which perhaps could be one with a churchyard or cemetery local to you. You can then zoom in (top right) and select the exact location of the burial ground. Double click on it and you can enter details of the graveyard itself.
The UK Indexer site has extensive instructions on how to take suitable photographs and conduct the transcription process – see the Help tab at the top at any time. For large graveyards it may be worth dividing up the plot into separate areas which can be referenced. This will help people re-find the plot or allow multiple people to collaborate. If you are contributing photos, a camera or smartphone of at least 5 megapixel quality is recommended. For the transcriptions, you will need any standard spreadsheet application such as Microsoft Excel (there are free alternatives too). A template is available in the Help section. Credits will be issued relating to the amount of photos and transcripts submitted. They can be redeemed against subscriptions to TheGenealogist, or against products from S&N Genealogy Supplies.