Fifteen-year-old Hunter Boyer has chosen a unique Eagle Scout project to benefit the past, present and future at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas, USA. Boyer’s goal is to recruit enough volunteers to take photos of over 50,000 graves using the smartphone app BillionGraves.
The BillionGraves Android and iOS app allows anyone to quickly and easily capture images of headstones with their GPS locations. From there, these records are transcribed and made available for free to families everywhere on BillionGraves.com and FamilySearch.org
FamilySearch.org, the genealogy website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, works in conjunction with BillionGraves to provide family history enthusiasts with critical genealogical information from headstones that cannot be acquired by any other source.
FamilySearch.org has selected San Antonio as a trial area to test the BillionGraves app with youth and young adult members of the Church in hopes of increasing interest in family history among young Church members. Boyer’s Eagle Scout project will be one of the first of these Latter-day Saint BillionGraves youth events in the test pilot area.
Boyer says he thinks family history is something important that youth should be more excited about. “I think it’s such a good experience for kids my age to have. It’s been a good experience for me to be part of,” Boyer said. “There is a special feeling with doing genealogy and learning about people before us.”
As a member of the Church, Boyer has been promoting his Eagle Scout project among the youth in other Latter-day Saint congregations as well as high schools across the state.
“I was first introduced to BillionGraves by my mom. She used it to help her piece together her family tree,” Boyer said. “But I think it’s great for young people. It’s very simple, and I love how it’s set up with a GPS.”
This month is BillionGraves’ “Million More in May” promotion month. The app, with over 100,000 users, wants to reach one million new records during the month of May. BillionGraves is offering a new iPad Mini to anyone who takes 50,000 unique images or transcribes 75,000 records.
Boyer predicts that the photos taken at his Eagle Scout project will put BillionGraves at just over 1 million and will help reach its goal.
With more than 8 million headstone records created by 100,000 volunteers in just two years, BillionGraves is the trusted resource for accurate GPS gravestone and burial record data on the web. BillionGraves’ mobile GPS tracking technology in its mobile application perpetuates this progress, bringing a wealth of genealogical information right to your fingertips. For more information, visit www.billiongraves.com.