News Story

Gold Coast Volunteers Photograph Gravestones of Entire Cemetery for BillionGraves

If you were passing by the Mudgeeraba Cemetery early Saturday morning 27th March, you would have seen a strange phenomenon ─ over 60 people wearing matching, bright yellow “Helping Hands” bibs, and each of these volunteers of all ages snapping photos on their phones.


Members of the Mudgeeraba Ward (congregation) in the Gold Coast Australia Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took hundreds of pictures, transcribed, and uploaded them to the BillionGraves app. In just two hours, they completed all the photos for the Mudgeeraba Cemetery.

BillionGraves is the world’s largest GPS linked cemetery database which allows people to document gravestones with just a smartphone. The photos are uploaded and then the records can be accessed from anywhere in the world by searching name and death dates.

Once that information is entered in the search engine, families and researchers can see a photo of the actual headstone with its exact GPS location. These records can also then be linked to the FamilySearch website and used to help verify information.


One volunteer, Lucy Matheson, said she enjoyed being involved in “something so worthwhile.”

Another helper, Trinity Green, 16, said: “It made me appreciate the lives of all those who came before me.”

15-year-old Armarna Katene added: “It helped me realise the importance of keeping records.”

Amaya Gallen, 11, was excited to personally document the headstone of her grandfather, Oliver Ratajczek.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to serve those around the world who are unable to personally visit their family members’ gravesites, contribute to family history records, socialise together, feel the spirit of family and enjoy ice blocks and drinks afterward,” RebeKah Green said.

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