IGRA Participates with MyHeritage/BillionGraves

Israel Genealogy Research Association

Cemetery documentation project in cooperation with MyHeritage/BillionGraves


The Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) has recently agreed to participate in a worldwide project to document cemeteries.  MyHeritage and BillionGraves have made available a free app capable of taking images, adding a GPS location to the image, linking together two or more images to include close ups of specific details on the tombstones, and transcribing and adding cemetery details. 

To participate in this project you need a "smart phone" (either iPhone or Android).  To register and then download the app use this link.  

When registering, please use the following format:
Display Name: your first name + last initial; a space followed by IGRA (for instance: MiriamD IGRA)
Password: something you will easily remember

Here are a few tips as you set out to document a cemetery:


Check to see if the cemetery you want to visit has already been documented by looking at the app.  
You may need a brush to help clear away leaves or dirt - but there is no need to clean the gravestones.  
Do not use shaving cream or other methods of enhancing the writing. 
Be certain to respect the tombstones. 
Avoid having your shadow in the picture.
Make sure you capture all of the writing on the tombstone in your picture.
On your phone screen you'll see the image of a chain link in the upper left corner. This will allow you to take additional pictures and link them together (front & back, zoom, double grave...).  
Depending on the weather take along a hat and drinking water.  

With this new cooperative initiative it should be possible, within a relatively short period of time, to document thousands of cemeteries.  This will allow researchers to connect with burial information regarding their relatives all over the world. The force behind this revolution will be the volunteers involved and IGRA is excited to be a partner in preserving this valuable information. What an amazing opportunity to make a difference, capture family history and preserve it for generations to come. Please join in this effort!


National Women's History Month

IGRA has a new article available that was written by Rose A. Feldman, "Researching Your Female Ancestors in Eretz Israel: Part Two - the British Administration of Eretz Israel, first half"

"When researching your female ancestors... do you hit a brick wall?  This need not be.  As more is discovered about their daily activities, suddenly new venues for research may present themselves. This article is the second part of... a series covering a variety of resources in which your female ancestors in Eretz Israel may be mentioned and points to the type of documentation to look for.... Hopefully this will help you think of new places to research."

Martha Lev-Zion z"l (1940-2014)

Martha (Levinson) Lev-Zion was active in genealogy in Israel from 1995.  Martha worked on her own family research and became an expert in Latvia and Courland Jewish records as well as the SIGs for these regions.  She was involved with the IGS and for many years ran the group in the Negev.  Her expertise was essential in the 2004 International Jewish Genealogy Conference in Israel.  Martha was instrumental in the founding of IGRA.  She authored the book Taking Tamar.  

IGRA thanks AVOTAYNU for allowing us to reprint Martha's last article which appeared in Vol. XXIX, Number 3, Fall 2013; "History and Geography as Crucial Factors in Determining Where to Look for Baltic-Area Archival Records - with Emphasis on Latvia".  The article was posted to coincide with the end of the mourning period.

May her memory be for a blessing.

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