Student heads up the development of new family history app

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Tom Hester is a UVU student who has been working on an app that would eventually make finding the grave of anyone in the world, very easy. This free app is called BillionGraves.

“There are two parts to it,” Hester said. “One for those with picture phones and one for those who want to do indexing.”

The indexing part is available on desktops as well as smart phones. Indexing is when someone transfers the information from just a picture of a document, to searchable text, which makes it easy to access and sort through.

The app was started by a company that went out of business, so the app went into hibernation for a period of time until it was picked up by the owner of New Skin. Hester has followed the app since the beginning, his title, support project consultant.

“In 2008 it came out, then died and came out not available for windows, only android and iphone,” Hester said.





It is now available on all smart phones, and has become very helpful for Latter Day Saint members who put an emphasis on family history. Billiongraves is Partners with Family Search, which a program that many LDS members use for indexing.

But the LDS are not the only one using the app. Hester said he works with those from many different faiths.

“I’ve worked with other religions that, when they found out that I am Mormon they ask, are you going to use this for your death baptisms?” Hester said.

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