Join the Nationwide Service Project “Finding the Fallen”

Boy Scouts, members of the United States Armed Forces, all genealogists, and the American public are invited to help preserve the memories of our fallen veterans by photographing and logging veteran memorials and headstones throughout the United States. Since I am a veteran of the US military, this project also means a lot to me. I plan to participate. If you have any Boy Scouts in the family, you might want to forward this announcement to them and to their leaders.

The following announcement was written by Melany Gardner:


Boy Scouts and members of the United States Armed Forces are invited to participate in a nationwide service project, “Finding the Fallen,” Saturday, July 30. This service project will help preserve the memories of our fallen veterans by photographing and logging veteran memorials and headstones throughout the United States.

Troops, teams and crews are all invited to participate as volunteers to take photographs or help organize the local event. Aspiring Eagle Scouts, as approved by their local council or district, can also apply to lead the local service project. Anyone wishing to participate in the project can sign up here.

What is the Finding the Fallen Project?

The men and women of the past sacrificed, and many gave their lives for their country. This summer, Scouts have the unique opportunity not only to “help other people at all times,” but to help other people from all times. Saturday, July 30, 2016 has been designated as the day for “Finding the Fallen.” We invite you and your troop to do a good turn by doing your part on this important day.

Boy Scouts, in conjunction with the United States Armed Forces and BillionGraves, will be honoring the sacrifice of the brave men and women who have given their lives in defense of our freedom. You can help honor their sacrifice by ensuring that they are never forgotten. By joining in the project, you and your troop will serve these heroes by photographing and logging the GPS locations of the headstones and markers in our national cemeteries and uploading them to the website using the app on smart phones.

After the photographs are uploaded, you, along with many other volunteers, will have the opportunity to transcribe the records. Once completed, these records will be accessible to the public via and other genealogical sites for free. The free BillionGraves GPS app will guide anyone to these gravesites, allowing those who have fallen to be found. The general public will be able to add photos, obituaries, histories and other tributes to the various records as they wish, thus ensuring these veterans are never forgotten.

This is a great way to complete requirement #7 for the Citizenship in the Community merit badge or requirement #2 for the Citizenship in the Nation merit badge. Many Boy Scouts have used this as their Eagle Scout project. BillionGraves provides great resources to ensure a positive leadership experience for the Eagle Scout. For more information for aspiring Eagle Scouts, go here.

How to Get Started?

  1. Decide today to help honor these brave men and women Saturday, July 30, 2016 and sign up here. will send you more information on how to plan and carry out your project.
  2. Choose a local veteran memorial or cemetery. If selecting a cemetery in Utah, check that the cemetery hasn’t already been logged here.
  3. Be prepared to organize, plan or participate in “Finding the Fallen” at the local cemetery July 30th.
  4. Transcribe the photographed headstones.

For questions about the “Finding the Fallen” project, contact BillionGraves at


A major problem here. Several of national cemeteries’ managers are very unfriendly toward anyone trying to mass-photograph. Ordered out as well.
In 4 states where I maintain the GPPs, I tell my volunteers to be extreme aware of these managers who are not friendly and be downright sneaky to photo the markers. In case of one of California’s national cemeteries, one well known USGenWeb lady was ordered out literally, managers of that cemetery were not tolerable.
And a lot of those who have already done – are listed in with photos, too.
At least in Gravestone Photograph Projects, at least 4 states have markers identified as such with added designations.
Utah’s two military cemeteries are already completely photographed and are on Others are located quickly and photographed before they sink into grounds.


Great idea. But Girl Scouts are not welcome to participate?


    I was wondering the same? Are Mormons unsupportive of Girl Scouts? When I google Hudson Gunn, president of Billion Graves, I see you are linked to him Dick. Girl Scouts are supportive of veterans too. My troop consists of girls with active duty parents.


    I didn’t know I was “linked” to Hudson Gunn. I don’t recall ever meeting him although I have met several of his employees..


There are many state veteran’s cemeteries that need to be worked on and countless veteran markers in small churchyards and town cemeteries. But please, make sure your youth know how to take good photos and link husbands and wives properly. I transcribe and do corrections for BG a lot and there are too many photos that can not be correctly transcribed because the stone says ” Lisa – his wife” and it is not linked to the husband.


Wonderful! signed up!


I posted to the Billion Graves facebook page about this and they seem very receptive to working with Girl Scouts.


Michael K. Buckley June 17, 2016 at 3:10 pm

I wanted to photograph grave markers in a cemetery in Des Moines, Iowa. I went into the office and asked an employee a few questions about the location of some tombstones. I was told that I could not take pictures of tombstones. I explained that I was taking pictures of those of relatives only. I was then informed that I could take pictures of those tombstones. Of course, no one followed me around or checked that I was photographing relatives.

Are there laws on the books preventing the taking of pictures by non-relatives?


Everyone is welcome to participate in this event.


The Colonel's # 1 July 24, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Proper invitations should have been extended to female and male descendants of US military veterans first, who, as one, were responsible for attaining a military headstone in the first place, or arranged a military funeral for a parent or other family member, and, thus rightfully, should not pay for access to such cumulative burial records on Billion Graves, nor any other future profiteering website. Now, arises the question of my beloved ancestral cousins, interred in European niches, purple heart winners who sacrificed themselves for freedoms we enjoy. What of them? Is July 30th of 2016 an international collecting of gravestone markers? When one [man?] takes such an idea from inception to fruition, one must expand it for inclusion, not exclusivity. We are, after all, discussing individual persons, not merely “going round taking names”
for some glorified list of the dead.


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