Becoming a volunteer

Types of volunteer

There are five main ways you can help Gravestone Photographic Resource:

  1. take photos and index them
  2. take photos but do not index them
  3. index photos taken by someone else
  4. publicize the resource
  5. schools liason

Taking the Photos

The most important item of equipment you require to become a volunteer is a digital camera. The other bit of equipment you might need is a PC with a CD or DVD writer. If you do not have a CD or DVD writer then the Resource will send you a USB memory stick. The only other equipment that you might need is an old soft brush to gently remove any moss or lichen that sometimes makes the monuments difficult to read. However in general it is better not to touch the monument at all.

When you visit a churchyard or cemetery always make sure that the first image is of something showing the church or cemetery name and location - normally there is a board near the entrance or if it is a disused church there will probably be a notice in the porch. Then take a few images of the church or cemetery entrance from a variety of views - one of these will be used for the cemetery website page. If there is a cemetery layout plan then please also take a photograph of this.

Then attempt to photograph all the legible monuments - if they are so worn as to unreadable then omit them. The details from all photos taken are added to the project database.

If there is a church and you are able to, please take photos of any monuments within it. These are especially useful as they are normally in very good condition and often contain lots of information. Those that are part of the church floor are usually very old. If the church has stained glass windows then check to see if there is a dedication at the bottom. If there is then take a photo of the window. You may need to take one of the whole window and another one of the dedication.

Please use the finest setting on your camera as it them makes it easier to enlarge the images on a computer. By doing this names and dates will sometimes appear that cannot always be seen by the naked eye.

In some cases it may be necessary to take more than one photo of a monument. For instance, if the monument is very tall then take one photo of the entire monument and another of just the text part. Another case where it would be necessary to take multiple photographis are those monuments that have writing on more that one face. If you do take more than one photograph of a monument then it is helpful if you later rename these so that they the same name as the initial photograph but with an additonal "a", "b", "c" etc.

After taking the images, they need to be transferred to your PC. It is helpful if you create a folder called "gravestone photos" and within this folder create separate folders of each churchyard you photograph. Store all the images for a particular churchyard in a separate folder named after the village. If the churchyard is from a town with several churchyards then create a folder with the name of the town and then create sub-folders with the names of the churches or cemeteries. If you photograph a very large cemetery it can be easier if you photograph it in sections and store each secion in a separate directory. Large municipal cemeteries will often have a layout plan which you can use to identify the different sections.

If you are photographing a church and have access to its inside then please take some general photos of it. The Resource will in the future publish these images on the church web page.

If you have a camera that has a built in GPS then please make sure it is turned on when you photograph monuments. If you don't have a GPS camera but do have either an Android or iPhone then perhaps you should think about using a GeoTracking app such as "Geotag Photos Pro". If you synchronise the time on your camera and mobile phone then this app will record your photographic journey and the GPS has software to merge this with the photos you took.

Extracting information from the images

Besides taking photos of the actual monuments, an equally important job that needs to be done before the information they contain can be added to the website is the extaction of the person information. However if you do not feel confident or have the time to index photos then please just send us the photos and we will index them.

The information that needs to be extracted for each person named on a monument is as follows:

  • surname
  • forenames
  • year of death
  • age
  • year of birth
  • relationship to the first person named on the monument
  • title (eg military rank etc)

Please note that it is very important to record details of every name listed on the monument. For example, often a monument will say wife of or husband of even though these people are not buried in the grave. By listing all names, the Resource is making it much easier for researchers to find missing members of their families.

Many monuments give the exact date of death but this does NOT need to be recorded, just the year. If either the age or the year of birth are not given then it is not necessary to calculate them - the website does that instead.

The easiest way to store details of the images for each graveyard is on a spreadsheet. At the bottom of this page is an example spreadsheet to show you how to save the information for each image. You can download this empty spreadsheet which you can then use to record monument information.

Each graveyard or part of a large cemetery should have its own spreadsheet that should be stored in the same folder as the images. If you are able to do this information extraction it would be of huge help to the project.

When extracting data from your photos use a photo editing program to look at each image. If you do not have a photo editing program then the Resource is willing to purchase one for you. Images that are taken in portrait mode will normally need to be rotated by 90 degrees.

By using your photo editing program zoom feature you will often be able to read names and dates that are hard to read with the naked eye.

For each image record a portion of the photograph file name number. In the example spreadsheet below the first filename was "img_2413.jpg" and just the "2413" was used.

If you have taken a number of photos of the same monument then rename the later images. For instance, if you have taken images 2413, 2414 and 2415 of the same monument then rename 2414 to 2413a and 2415 to 2413b.

The "type" column shows the relationship between the names on the monument:

relationship codes

On most grave monuments there are usually more than one name. The GPR stores relationship information about each of these names. This relationship information shows the relationship between a name on the monument and the first name mentioned on that monument.

The GPR stores details of all names listed on a monument and not just the names of people buried in the grave. This is paticularly useful for family history researchers to help them identify ancestors. For instance it would be difficult to identify a child without the details of its parents.

relationship to first name on the monument
afirst name on monument
abadopted brother
adadopted daughter
afadopted father
amadopted mother
asadopted son
asisadopted sister
crchurch record
dh2daughter of second husband and wife
dl1daughter-in-law (son's first wife)
dl2daughter-in-law (son's second wife)
dw2daughter of second wife and husband
ehemployer of husband
ewemployer of wife
fadfather of adopted daughter
fasfather of adopted son
fblfather of brother-in-law
fdlfather of daughter-in-law
fl1first father-in-law
fl2second father-in-law
fldfather-in-law of daughter
flsfather-in-law of son
flwfather-in-law of wife
fmfather or mother
fodfoster daughter
foffoster father
fomfoster mother
fosfoster son
fsislfather of sister-in-law
fslfather of son-in-law
fw2father of second wife
goddgod daughter
godfgod father
godmgod mother
godsgod son
gagrand aunt
gdgrand daughter
gdhgrand daughters husband
gdlgrand daughter-in-law
gdilgrand daughter-in-law
gfgrand father
gflgrand father-in-law
gfilgrand father-in-law
ggagreat grand aunt
ggdgreat grand daughter
gggdgreat great grand daughter
ggd4great great great grand daughter
ggd5great great great great grand daughter
ggnigreat grand neice
ggngreat grand nephew
ggdlgreat grand daughter-in-law
ggdilgreat grand daughter-in-law
gggdlgreat great grand daughter-in-law
ggfgreat grand father
ggugreat grand uncle
gggfgreat great grand father
ggf4great great great grand father
ggf5great great great great grand father
ggf6great great great great great grand father
gmgrand mother
gmlgrand mother-in-law
gmilgrand mother-in-law
ggmgreat grand mother
gggmgreat great grand mother
ggm4great great great grand mother
ggm5great great great great grand mother
ggm6great great great great great grand mother
gngrand nephew
gnegrand nephew
gnigrand niece
gnilgrand niece-in-law
gsgrand son
gslgrand son-in-law
gsilgrand son-in-law
gswgrand sons wife
ggslgreat grand son-in-law
ggsilgreat grand son-in-law
ggsgreat grand son
gggsgreat great grand son
ggs4great great grand son
gggsilgreat great grand son-in-law
gggslgreat great grand son-in-law
gugrand uncle
hbhalf brother
hblhusbands brother in law
hshalf sister
hsishalf sister
hslhusbands sister in law
hsislhusbands sister in law
h1first husband
h1wfirst husband of wife
h2second husband
h2msecond husband of mother
h2wsecond husband of wife
h2w2second husband of second wife
h3third husband
h3wthird husband of wife
h/whusband or wife
madmother of adopted daughter
masmother of adopted son
mblmother of brother in law
mdlmother of daughter in law
momonument owner
msislmother of sister-in-law
mslmother of son in law
ngrelationship not given
nrnot recorded
orelationship not given
onother name
orother record
pnpen name
pnhpen name of husband
pnwpen name of wife
rrelic (widow)
sbstep brother
sblstep brother-in-law
sdstep daughter
sdlstep daughter-in-law
sdilstep daughter-in-law
sfrson of friend
sgfstep grand father
sgmstep grand mother
sh2son of second husband and wife
snstage name
snhstage name of husband
snwstage name of wife
sfstep father
sflstep father-in-law
sfilstep father-in-law
sgflstep grandfather-in-law
sgmlstep grandmother-in-law
smstep mother
smlstep mother-in-law
ssisstep sister
sssilstep sister-in-law
ssstep son
sslstep son-in-law
stfstep father
stmstep mother
sw2son of second wife and husband
w1first wife
w1hfirst wife of husband
w2second wife
w2fsecond wife of father
w2hsecond wife of husband
w2ssecond wife of son
w2slsecond wife of son-in-law
w3third wife
w3hthird wife of husband
w4fourth wife
w4hfourth wife of husband
wblwifes brother in law
wipwidows partner
wrpwidowers partner
wsislwifes sister in law
zrelationship not known
|relationship not known

If you come across a relationship not listed please just use its initials and let us know.

If you have taken photos that are not suitable for indexing please do not delete them. The photographic records you are taking are a valuable historic resource and will be of immense interest to future researchers.

Getting your images to the project

Once you have some photographs and hopefully extracted the data from them, you need to get them to GPR by:

  1. post
  2. FTP
  3. website


To post your photos you need to:

  1. copy them to a CD, DVD or USB memory stick - the Gravestone Photographic Resource will provide these if required
  2. post the CD, DVD or USB memory stick to the Gravestone Photographic Resource

The contact details for posting you CD, DVD or USB memory stick are as follows:

Charles Sale
Gravestone Photographic Resource
43 Demokratias Street
Monte Korfi Estate
Limassol 4552

The Gravestone Photographic Resource will refund the cost of the postage and the CD, DVD or USB memory stick if required. USB memory sticks not belonging to the Gravestone Photographic Resource are always returned to volunteers after the data has been extracted.


FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is an electronic method to transfer large number of files from your computer up to a webserver. This method is only useful if you have a highspeed internet connection. It is not suitable if you only have a dial up connection. It is also not suitable if you have a very large number of very large files as this could take many hours to upload even with a high speed connection.

More details of how to use FTP to submit photos are available within the volunteers private part of this website.

Website submission of photos

A new system for submitting photos via the website is currently being developed. When the system is available you will be able to use it via the upload photos website.

The website submission of photos will probably only be useful for submitting a small number of photos.

Example Spreadsheet (extended format)

titleforenamenicknamemaiden namesurnamehonourdeathagebirthnotescountrycountytownparishname
2413aAmosLong189844EnglandSuffolkGreat BurtonHoly Innocent
2413wRebeccaBeccaSmithLong194081EnglandSuffolkGreat BurtonHoly Innocent
2414aSirJamesLoetsMPSir79lord of the manorEnglandSuffolkGreat BurtonHoly Innocent
2414wCarolineLoetsEnglandSuffolkGreat BurtonHoly Innocent
2415aWilliam JenningsMills190460EnglandSuffolkGreat BurtonHoly Innocent
2416aEmma MaryGreenland19021871EnglandSuffolkGreat BurtonHoly Innocent
2416hWilliam RGreenlandJPEnglandSuffolkGreat BurtonHoly Innocent
2420aAbrahamNewman188877EnglandSuffolkGreat BurtonHoly Innocent
2420w2AnneJonesNewman188669EnglandSuffolkGreat BurtonHoly Innocent
2421aAnnTanham1832EnglandSuffolkGreat BurtonHoly Innocent
2421hColJohnJackTanhamDSO MCserved in Napoleonic warsEnglandSuffolkGreat BurtonHoly Innocent

Example Spreadsheet (old format)

2413aLongAmos.189844.EnglandSuffolk.Great BurtonHoly Innocent
2413wLongRebecca.194081.EnglandSuffolk.Great BurtonHoly Innocent
2414aLoetsJamesSir.79.EnglandSuffolk.Great BurtonHoly Innocent
2414wLoetsCaroline....EnglandSuffolk.Great BurtonHoly Innocent
2415aMillsWilliam Jennings.190460.EnglandSuffolk.Great BurtonHoly Innocent
2416aGreenlandEmma Mary.1902.1871EnglandSuffolk.Great BurtonHoly Innocent
2416hGreenlandWilliam R.....EnglandSuffolk.Great BurtonHoly Innocent
2420aNewmanAbraham.188877.EnglandSuffolk.Great BurtonHoly Innocent
2420wNewmanAnne.188669.EnglandSuffolk.Great BurtonHoly Innocent
2421aTanhamAnn.1832..EnglandSuffolk.Great BurtonHoly Innocent
2421hTanhamJohn....EnglandSuffolk.Great BurtonHoly Innocent

Publicize the resource

Although the resource has been running since 1998 it is still relatively unknown. It therefore needs help from volunteers to publicize and hopefully then more volunteers will photograph and index even more cemeteries.

The resource needs help to publicize its work in two ways:

  • produce publicity material
  • distribute publicity material

Produce publicity material

The Resource needs people with graphic skills who can produce posters that can then be display at libraries, record archives and family history centres.

Distribute publicity material

The Resource has produced some publicity material which needs to be distributed to libraries, record archives, family history centres and anywhere else that is appropriate.

If you are able to help distribute publicity material then you can either download posters or contact us and we will send some to you.

Schools liaison

The Gravestone Photographic Resource is interested in getting schools interested in the project and therefore needs schools liaison volunteers.

The Resource believes that schools, particularly village primary schools, could have a vital role in recording and caring for local cemeteries.

The role of a schools liaison volunteer could include the following:

If you think you could become a schools liaison volunteers then please contact us.

If you cannot be a volunteer then please help the project by persuading someone else to become a volunteer!

© copyright Gravestone Photographic Resource 1998 - 2017