Billion Graves and Find-A-Grave are two important burial and genealogical resources online. As far as most people are concerned, they are basically the same. Billion Graves states, “Our Goal...is to preserve precious records found in cemeteries throughout the world.” “Find a Grave’s mission is to help people from all over the world work together to find, record and present final disposition information as a virtual cemetery experience.” The goals of both resources have a great degree of overlap, but a quite different approach in several ways.
The blog post What is the Difference Between BillionGraves and Find A Grave? Part I: For Researchers is helpful in delineating some of the differences. Billion Graves puts it this way: “Find A Grave’s stated objective is to create memorials. It was not started as a genealogical site, so it makes sense that how they acquire data does not put emphasis on following the Genealogical Proof Standard.” This article is very helpful, though on one hand the writer goes after it like one of two vendors vying for the same commercial sale. Perhaps they are!
From the user standpoint, however, the genealogist will benefit from BOTH sites. First, there is a big difference in quantity. According to the blog post, Find-A-Grave has 180 million+ memorials while Billion Graves has 30 million+ memorials. What they lack in quantity, Billion Graves intends to make up in quality. The piece cites that all their records have gravestone images and GPS coordinates. That is a clear advantage, as far as it goes, making Billion Graves the generally more reliable resource. A downside is that not even every known burial has a gravestone, and that sometimes a gravestone does not mark an actual burial.
The blog relates a tragic story in which an individual traveled 2000 miles to see a headstone, based on a memorial on the Find-A-Grave site. The headstone did not exist in the cemetery, and “later…the record had been removed altogether from Find A Grave without mention.” That is certainly regrettable, and tells the tale that every entry on Find-A-Grave is not reliable. It should also caution one against making such a trip without checking with cemetery personal or some other source, if possible. It should not frighten people away from using Find-A-Grave altogether.
Read the above linked blog article and get all the good you can. Spend time to figure out how both Billion Graves and Find-A-Grave work. Use the strengths of each to your advantage in your research. Be cautious of the disadvantages. Verify with multiple sources.