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Friday, September 30, 2016

MyHertiage has digitized half of the cemeteries in Israel

In a recent blog post, announced that the company has completed 50% of their goal to digitize all of the cemeteries in Israel as part of their global initiative with to preserve the world's cemeteries. The process is explained in the MyHeritage blog post entitled, "We’re Halfway to Digitizing Every Cemetery in Israel."
When photographing and documenting gravestones using the excellent BillionGraves mobile application, the precise GPS coordinates of every gravestone are preserved. This makes it easy for others to locate and visit graves of family members and also allows volunteers to see which areas of a cemetery have already been photographed, avoiding duplication and maximizing productivity. 
We have extended that original initiative, pledging to photograph all cemeteries and gravestones in Israel and to transcribe all the information on each and every gravestone. 
We are creating a database of millions of indexed gravestone records, ensuring the preservation of this vital information. The database is available for family historians and genealogists and searchable online for free.
Further insight into the process is as follows:
As we announced at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies conference in July 2015, we have set a goal to complete photographing and indexing all of the more than 1000 cemeteries in Israel by the end of 2017. We have recruited a group of enthusiastic volunteers to help us. We are organizing the effort, and also actively participating and doing the majority of the work. To date, we have completed 50% of this milestone, and we're on schedule to complete our goal by the end of 2017. 
We have:
  • Completed photographing the four largest cemeteries, and dozens of smaller cemeteries, in Israel.
  • Taken approximately 1.3 million photos, and are adding 5,000 photos every day.
  • Indexed more than half of the photos we've taken.
  • Hired five full-time employees and 60 part-time students at our expense to help advance the project.
  • Assembled a group of over 250 volunteers including users, Israel Genealogical Society (IGS) and Israel Genealogical Research Association (IGRA) members, family historians, genealogists and hobbyists from all over the country.
With this initiative, Israel may well be the first country in the world to have the entire country's cemeteries digitized online. 

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