Billion Graves

Billion Graves Review – Where Are Your Ancestors Buried!

The graves of our ancestors are a goldmine of information for the genealogist. This Billion Graves Review will show you exactly what this site has to offer. So, if you want to break down any brick walls in your research then this review is for you.

Billion Graves

This review will not only cover what you can expect from this site but also contain my personal opinion of this site.

But not to sound biased I have also included various reviews from customers who have used this site.

Billion Graves Rating and Details

RatingRating Stars - 4 (4/5)
Free?Free to search
SubscriptionBillion Graves Plus package
  • Annual$59.99 ($5.00 / Month)
  • Monthly$9.99
RecordsUp to 1 Billion
Tools & FeaturesSearch Form, Links to external records, App (iOS and Android), Search and Transcribe Photos, Share With Friends
Billion Graves Plus Features
Family Plots, Nearby Graves, Global Family, Family Notify, Priority Support, and Partner Discounts
Help & SupportHelpdesk, FAQs, Community Forums, Video Tutorials, Online Form, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus
Bottom LineHuge Potential With This Site!

You can use the Billion Graves website if you like the simplicity of just jumping on the computer and looking for your ancestors.

But if you are the outside type of person then my How To Find A Cemetery Grave post will be most helpful to you.

The post will show you what considerations you need to make before visiting a cemetery, what to bring and what can you expect to learn from your visit to a cemetery.

Discussed in this post:

Express Your Thoughts Below

Express Your Thoughts Below!

I would love to hear from you.

About Billion Graves

Finding information about your ancestors for free is possible. You can check out my Free Genealogy section which proves it.

Anyway, you are probably here because you have discovered Billion Graves, (a free genealogy resource), and want to know more about it.

Well, you have come to the right place.

The following video will be of interest to you. Here expert genealogist Lisa Louise Cooke talks to Hudson Gunn of Billion Graves.

Credit: Lisa Louise Cooke

About the company

As the name of the site suggests there are many graves that you will find on this genealogy search website.

I found over 14,000 headstones featuring my family surname “Couch, with results coming from all over the United States, as well as from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and even France.

I’ll talk more about searching for your ancestors later in this review.

The goal of the site!

Despite not knowing just how many graves have been photographed so far you can surmise that their goal is to have 1 billion tombstones in their collection.

I would expect that even if they achieve this goal that they won’t stop at this number.

Incidentally, Find A Grave currently state that they have over 190 million memorials in their collection.

This is a great resource for any genealogist or family historian, and the more that they can offer you then the better.

As stated on their website their goal is to:

Preserve precious records found in cemeteries throughout the world.

How is all this possible?

With help from you!

This is a global effort with volunteers taking photographs of graves from all over the world and noting the GPS coordinates of each grave.

I have just shown you that not only are there graves within the U.S. featuring my surname but also 5 other countries besides.

I’m sure if I would dig a little further in the results that I would find other countries as well.

You can do your bit for the wider genealogy community in 2 ways:

  1. Take Photos – Using an app take pictures of graves and upload them to Billion Graves.
  2. Transcribe Photos – Transcribe the information that’s found on these tombstones.

I’ll explain more about how you can help later in this review.

Who is this site for?

This site as I mentioned earlier can help both the genealogist and the family historian with their research.

With the aid of these photos, you can go further with your research. They can help you break down any brick walls in your research.

But what can you glean from a tombstone you are probably wondering.

Well, quite a lot.

  • Full name of deceased
  • When they were born, when they died, and when they were buried
  • Where they were originally from
  • Spouse and children details, such as names
  • Who else may be in the grave

Besides the above information, there may be other details that you can uncover about your ancestor.

All of this CAN help you to progress with your research.

Although I must point out that this is ONLY IF your ancestors’ graves have been photographed. Please do not lose hope if this is the case as photos are being uploaded all the time.

So, there’s always the possibility that your ancestor will be included in the collection someday.

You need to remember that this is a mammoth task and it does take time to build up the database of photographs.

But with 100,000s of people helping and YOU that we can all help each other.

Find Their Graves

Searching for your ancestors’ graves could not be any easier. As soon as you land on the home page of the site you are met with a search box for you to discover your ancestors.

Billion Graves Find Their Graves

There are 2 pieces of information that you can enter in the search form.

There is your ancestor’s First Name, (which is optional), and their Last Name as well.

Entering their first name will help you to limit the number of results that you will receive.

Once you have entered these details you just click on the ‘Start your search‘ button.

The results

As you can see from the picture below just by searching for my surname “Couch” provided over 14,000 results.

Billion Graves Find Their Graves Results

You are presented with 15 graves per page. Just the sheer number of results would take a long time to sift through.

Luckily for you, you don’t need to as you can refine your search using the filters present on the left side of the page.

Refine your search

Let’s take a look at the options that are available to you.

Billion Graves Refine Search

Filter Collection

From this option you can limit the results by selecting:

  • Headstone (GPS)
  • Veterans
  • Any Supporting Records
  • Burial Record
  • Death Certificate
  • Headstone (Supporting)
  • Historic Record
  • Memorial
  • Obituary
  • Social Security Death Index

And there is another option as well, although I’m not sure as to what this suggests.

First Name

As I pointed out earlier by entering the first name can reduce the number of results returned.

I just entered “John” into this field and cut the results down from 14,096 down to 397.

That is a much more manageable number to work with but I can cut down that number even more.


From here you can enter your ancestor’s birth and death years, (if of course, you know them).

But don’t be disappointed if you do know them as you can select a tolerance for a year you enter. This can be anything from 0 up to 10 years on either side of the year you enter.


Limit the results even more by entering the Country, State, and County.

Filter by

Select boxes whether you want an Exact Match and/or results filtered by Phonetic, (i.e. if you are not sure how the name is spelled).

A Grave Record Result

There is a lot of information that you can receive from a record found on this site. But as well as that you can also edit or add any information that you can supply.

You will though need to be a registered user of the site to do this.

Billion Graves Grave Record Result

Each record is broken down into 9 different sections.

1. Life Information

Here you will find a transcription of the headstone with the following information.

  • Name
  • Birth Date
  • Marriage Date
  • Death Date
  • Cemetery Name (with link to other records for that cemetery)
  • Headstone Description
  • Photographer (i.e. who took the photo and when)
  • Transcriber (who transcribed the photo and when)

2. Nearby Graves

By upgrading to Billion Graves Plus you can get further information such as other family members who are buried nearby, or even in another country.

This is a great way for you to uncover any relative that you may not even be aware of.

There are other benefits of the Billion Graves Plus program, such as:

  • Family Notify – Get notified of any new records with the same search results as yours.
  • Priority Support – Jump ahead of the queue and get help immediately from the staff at Billion Graves.
  • Partner Discounts – Discounts to MyHeritage, AncestorCloud, and GPS Origins DNA if you join.

More on this program later.

3. Grave Site

Get information as to whether there are Nearby Records that can help your research. Although you will need to join the Plus program to see these records.

Also, within this section, the Cemetery Name and Cemetery Address is given as well.

4. Find more about John …

The name at the end of this section will be different depending on the first name that you have entered.

But regardless of that, you can get linked to birth, marriage, and death records bearing your ancestor’s name.

And besides, that census records as well.

You can click through to MyHeritage to view snippets of these records. But to view the full record and image you will need to be a paid member of this genealogy site.

5. Family

Get further information as to other relatives that are also included on the tombstone.

6. Mark as Famous

If you know that the selected grave record contains someone famous then you can link that record to a Wikipedia URL.

7. Other Sources

If you are a registered user then you can see from here all other records bearing your ancestor’s name.

8. Memories

Read memories of the person you have searched for, (if there are any), that have been shared by other members of the site.

Or you can share your memories if you wish.

9. Military Service

If the person that you have searched for served in the military then any relevant information will be included in this section.

How To Contribute

Billion Graves is a website that has grown immensely due to the phenomenal support from volunteers all over the world.

There are 100,000s of volunteers who have helped shape what Billion Graves has become today.

Billion Graves How To Contribute

You can also help your fellow family historian in one of two ways.

1. Take Photos

For you to contribute to the Billion Graves website, you will need a smartphone with their app installed.

Just search for “Billiongraves” on your phone and install the app.

Once you are at a cemetery and at a grave that you want to take a picture or pictures of just open the app.

Then just take a photo and upload it to the site. You can transcribe it later or someone else can do that for you.

A few considerations:

  • Do not include your feet in the shot.
  • Try not to include your shadow.
  • Make sure that the headstone is readable for the transcriber to type up the details on the stone.

2. Transcribe Photos

If you cannot get to a cemetery or you do not have a smartphone then you can always help the site.

You can visit the Transcription page of the site and start transcribing the photos that you find there.

From here you can enter names, dates, and any other information that is included on a headstone.

From the link that I have just provided, you can get further help on how to transcribe photos on the site.

As I mentioned earlier Billion Graves is a community-based website, it relies on the contributions that are made by the volunteers who have shaped what this site is today.

There are many options for YOU to get involved and help others progress with their genealogy research.

Becoming a new member

To contribute to the site, you WILL need to register your details. You can register by 2 methods.

1. Login With Facebook

Are you already on Facebook?

If yes then you can easily log into Billion Graves by clicking on the ‘LOGIN WITH FACEBOOK‘ button at the top of the page.

When you click on this option a new window will open up. From here you accept whether Billion Graves can receive your public profile and email address.

If you do not wish to continue then you can easily click on the ‘Cancel‘ button at the base of the page. Or, just close the window.

If you are happy to accept this condition though you can simply click on the ‘Continue as YOUR NAME HERE‘ button.

2. Register and log in

The second option available to you is to click on the ‘LOG-IN‘ that is to the right of the Facebook login button.

Clicking on this option will bring up a small form where you can enter your email address and password.

When registering you will need to re-enter your password.

When you have filled in these fields just click on the ‘Submit‘ button.

Once you have done that then you are free to use the site and its features.

Free or Not To Be Free

Everyone likes free but there are some great benefits that you can expect if you were to join the Billion Graves Plus program.

Let’s just look at what you can get from the site as a registered free member.

  • View all headstone and cemetery records
  • Upload photos and cemetery records
  • Photo requests
  • Transcribe photos
  • Cemetery events
  • Edit existing records
  • Sync records with partners
  • Collaborate with friends.

Billion Graves Plus Program

I’ve already covered earlier what you can expect if you decide to join the Billion Graves Plus program.

But let’s have a recap:

  • Family Plots – Discover family members that share the same plot.
  • Nearby Graves – Records of relatives with different last names.
  • Global Family – Discover your global ancestors.
  • Family Notify – Notified of new relevant records
  • Priority Support – Immediate support for your queries.
  • Partner Discounts – Discounts to partner programs.

That’s quite an impressive list of benefits that you can receive if you were to sign up for this program.

The bonus of becoming a Billion Graves Plus member is that you do not see those annoying ads on the site.

But how much does it cost you?

You can decide whether you want to join this program on a:

  • Annual$59.99 USD ($5.00/Month), or
  • Monthly$9.99 USD

The Annual package will give you a massive 67% discount compared to if you were to stick with the Monthly package for 12 months.

I would suggest to you that if you are not sure about the program, or you don’t expect to be using the site for long to opt for the Monthly package.

If you decide that the Annual package is for you at any time then you can always join it.

Get Plus for free!

There is a way that you can join this program for free.

It will though require a lot of work from you

For this to happen, you will need to upload 2,500+ photographs, or complete 500+ transcriptions in one month to receive one month of Plus for free.

I would have to say that if you intend to take this route that you have plenty of free time on your hands.

I cannot expect anyone really to complete either of these tasks in a single and be able to find the time to do their research as well.

Although maybe you can build up credit in advance. I am not sure.

Help & Support

You do not need to worry if you need help and support while using the Billion Graves website or App.

Help and Support

There are several ways to get the help that you require.


The Helpdesk, (or Knowledge base), contains 4 sub-sections containing many queries that have been submitted to the site.

  1. Research – Learn how to research your ancestors, use the site and what all the features are of Billion Graves Plus.
  2. Volunteer – Learn how you can help build the collection of grave photos.
  3. Account – Find out about subscription and payments, your profile, and register to the site.
  4. How To’s – Video showing you what is Billion Graves all about.


Common questions are broken down into 4 different categories.

  1. General Questions
  2. Questions about Taking Pictures
  3. Questions about Transcribing for Billion Graves
  4. Technical Questions

Community Forums

If you cannot find the answer with the FAQs section then you can always check out the Community Forums.

To make it easier to find what you are looking for the forum is broken down into 7 sub-forums.

  1. Announcements – A welcome message from Billion Graves to all new members.
  2. Tips & Tricks – Get inside techniques on how best to use Billion Graves.
  3. Volunteer – Can highlight the volunteer projects that you have carried out and have set yourself.
  4. Research – Get help with your genealogy research from members.
  5. Feature Requests – Request future updates to the site and App.
  6. Bug Reports – Report any problems with the site and App.
  7. Other – Other queries.

Video Tutorials

Videos are a great way to get the knowledge that you need.

There are videos on the site that will:

  • Introduce you to Billion Graves
  • Show you how to take photos
  • Show you how to transcribe photos
  • Learn the benefits of Billion Graves Plus
  • Plenty of How-To videos as well.

Online Form

If you are still struggling for answers then you can easily use the Online Form to submit your query.

You can do this by clicking on the Contact Us option found at the bottom of the site.

You will need to enter the following information:

  • Requester – Your email address
  • Subject – Type in the short header for your query
  • Type – Whether it is a Question, Bug, Feature Request, Subscription, or Task
  • Type of Device – PC, Mac, IOS, Android, Not Listed
  • Description – Enter your query here.

You can also attach a file to your message as well.

Social Media

Billion Graves can also be found on 3 social media platforms. These are Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

From these accounts, you can get all the latest news and reports from this genealogy website.

Pros & Cons


✔ Up to 1 Billion Graves
✔ Continually adding new graves
✔ Free to search
✔ Plenty of help and support
✔ You can upload photos and transcribe


❌ Ads on site, but not distracting
❌ Mainly for American residents

Other People’s Billion Graves Reviews

I have already covered in this review a lot of what you can expect from this website. And also how you too can help the genealogy community.

So far I have only given my own favorable opinion of this site.

To not sound too biased I would like to share with you a customer review site so that you can see what other people are saying about Billion Graves.


Customer reviews are seen on SiteJabber either strongly favored this genealogy website or strongly disliked them.

7 people gave the site 5 stars compared to 13 people who gave it only 1 star.

The favorable reviews were pleased with their experience of using the site and finding the information that they were looking for.

On the other end of the scale were complaints such as …

Cannot cancel subscription!

Several customers complained that they could not cancel their subscription. Unfortunately for these people, they claimed that they could not get hold of support about canceling.

Now I won’t say that this is the case for everybody who wished to cancel. Only because you don’t see positive comments about people canceling services do you?

Am I right?

But please check the site for free before you sign up to the Plus program and hand over your credit card details.

Cannot find what I am looking for!

Another common complaint is that there were no records for the person that was being searched for.

Bearing in mind that this is a continual project that will no doubt take many years to complete I am not surprised that this is the case.

If you do not find what you are looking for then you will need to give time.

You could though always request for someone to take photographs from a particular cemetery for you.

Wrong information!

It is no doubt that there will be errors with any kind of transcription.

As the saying goes. “To err is human“.

No doubt there will be occasional errors. If you do stumble upon an error then there is the option to edit a record.

Do I Recommend Billion Graves?

I have covered a lot of features and reasons why this genealogy search website is worth looking at.

You can get plenty of valuable information from a tombstone as I have already mentioned.

Not only can you take something away from this site, but you can give back as well, (like I have done with creating this website to help others).

With any genealogy site though you may not find what you were looking for.

But that is no reason to stop using the site.

You can always download the app, start visiting cemeteries and do your bit for the genealogy community.

I have had plenty of help along the way as I traced my family history. And I intend to use the app and help others.

So, do I recommend Billion Graves?

Yes, I do recommend Billion Graves.

If though you do not feel that this site is for you then you can always check out the world’s number one genealogy site.

And that is of course Ancestry.

If you decide to subscribe to this genealogy site then please come back and let me know what you think of it. I would love to hear how it is working for you.

Huge Potential To Discover Your Ancestry!

More than just graves!

Billion Graves

Check Out Billion Graves Now

Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope you enjoyed this post giving my Billion Graves Review. If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below.

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14 thoughts on “Billion Graves Review – Where Are Your Ancestors Buried!”

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  2. I’m gone to inform my little brother, that he should also visit this website on regular basis to take updated from most up-to-date gossip.

  3. James W. "Jim" Lohr

    My name is Jim Lohr and I live in Ames, Iowa. In 2014, I photographed 11,000 images in Ames, Iowa, my hometown; in 2015, I photographed about 14,000 more in Story County, Iowa, my home county. Over the years I have given presentations locally and am asked to do so this fall. My question is about how many millions of images (assuming one per stone) does Billion Graves now have in the USA and world wide.
    I think it is an excellent program and wish you all well. My wife recently went to a nearby cemetery I had filmed then, and many of the stones were now unreadable – so, together, we saved them!
    P.S. in 2011 we had traveled to Germany where our German hostess told us that after about 20 years gravestones are removed and the plots re-used for new remains. I believe that is also true in the US in New Orleans. How prevalent is the “recycling” process in the US or worldwide.
    Thanks for any information you can find for me. I’ve tried getting it from the company directly, but they won’t respond.

    1. Hi Jim,

      Thanks for reaching out. I can’t see anywhere on the home page and About Us page of Billion Graves where it states their current total. I guess maybe it’s a difficult tally to calculate and put up.

      Only thing I see is that if 100,000 put up 10,000 images (about 850 pictures per month for a year) then they would reach their goal. I guess for some this goal could be achievable but not for many. So it one billion graves won’t be reached for a while I guess.

      You could contact them directly and see what they say. It would be good to see a current tally of graves, and for each country around the world.

      I hadn’t heard about the “recycling” of graves, only when the same plot can be used years later for a spouse or descendant.

      Sorry I couldn’t be much help Jim.

      All the best to you and your presentation in the fall.

    2. I completely believe you’re right about the “recycling” grave process. Years ago when I was a child in CA the house my grandmother owned in her backyard she wanted to have a complete sidewalk path from the house to the work shed out back, there were just stepping stones, these were there when she bought the house. When her husband (his mother owned a cemetery in the next town, he took care of it) out and started pulling the stones up one flipped over he didn’t really pay much attention (I was in the yard playing) and continued pulling up the stones a couple more turned over and about the 4-5th one he looked and noticed writing he went and got the hand broom swept the dirt off he found it was a headstone taken back he brushed of the other stones. Went into the house got my grandmother and while she was looking, in shock, he dug up every stone and every single one was a headstone. My grandmother left them where they were contacted the police department and the city to see if there was ever a grave on her property the city dug up the yard where the stones were absolutely nothing was buried there they checked year’s of records and nothing.
      Her husband talked to his mother and she said that either family bought new/nicer stones so the old ones were sold or given away or family members graves were dug up so a spouse or child could be buried with the loved one. He never had to do this so didn’t know about it.
      My grandmother couldn’t live in the house anymore she sold her house and bought a new one, lol she didn’t want anything to do with the “Grave Stone House” as she called it. My grandmother’s mother in law called 2 cemeteries and they checked the history and names, dates and one of the cemeteries found that yes they were year’s ago from their business but it was just the newer family members had bought new stones there were at this time no graves dug up.
      But yes “grave sharing” has apparently been around for years.

      1. Thanks for sharing this story Melissa. It was very interesting to read.

        I’m glad that these were older stones, and not what I was expecting.

  4. Will you please give an e-mail address – and GIVE THE COST IN ENGLISH POUNDS STIRLING, otherwise I cannot pay your subscription. I am ENGLISH – or BRITISH and don’t deal in dollars.

  5. What an interesting concept. I’d be very curious to research my last name as when I google it I find hardly anything. I apparently have an oddly spelled last name based on a translation error when my Polish ancestors first arrived in American some 200+ years ago.

    I know you mentioned you located a ton of information about your last name. Is there any sort of policy that if it doesn’t turn up much (cause I worry about that) that they’d return your money?

    1. Hi Craig,

      Thanks for the comment. That is interesting about your name. That occurs a lot I have found, it has with mine.

      You can just check out the site for free and see what results you get. If you do get any hits then you can subscribe to Billion Graves Plus. This will let you see other family member Graves nearby and worldwide.

      So, first just check it before you hand over your money.

      All the best.

  6. So, it sounds like this is for the family historian who can’t make it to all the gravesites, but still wants to gather information from headstones and get more information from graves. Have you uploaded photos to this site?

    1. Hi Melinda,

      Well, yes it can be for family historians who can’t make it to gravesites. Some of them maybe on the other side of the country or even in another country. So this is a perfect site for that.

      I also like this site because you can give back to genealogy and take pictures of cemeteries in your area.

      I haven’t uploaded photos yet but do intend to at some point.

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