Monday, December 16, 2013

"What good is it to access a newspaper image on, and not be able to see it after my subscription runs out?"

On the Mondays With Myrt Hangout On Air today, we briefly discussed the answer to this question that Russ Worthington posted in the Google+ thread for the Hangout:

Patricia Perkins asks via the Facebook group: "What if you've got a six month's subscription to a newspaper website. Can anyone tell me the historical newspapers what good is it to access it, and save it to your family page, and then not be able to access it unless you are subscribed.  In other words say 6 months when my subscription to historical papers runs out so will my ability to read those articles saved to my Ancestry page."

The short answer is "Yes, you will not be able to see the newspaper article attached to a person in your Ancestry Member Tree will not be visible if you are not a current subscriber.  That's the deal - pay to play (search for, find, attach, save historical records)."

Perhaps she doesn't know that an user can download the historical newspaper image and save it to her computer file folders.  Or email it to herself.  

There are four things that I can do with digital images on Ancestry:

1)  When I am on a digital image on, I go to the orange "Save" button at the top right of the screen, and click on it: gives me three choice -

*  Attach to someone in my tree
*  Save to my computer
*  Save to my Shoebox

On my computer, the digital image downloaded to my computer's Downloads file folder as a .jpg file.  If you do this, you will have to figure out where the file went and the file name.  Here's my Downloads folder file list:

The image file for the newspaper page was named, by, as TheFitchburgSentinel(FitchburgMassachusetts).jpg

I can then rename it, and move it to another file folder of my choice.

A Windows user could also right-click on the image itself, and save the web page as an .html file (not a digital image).  That doesn't work for me - when I open it, the newspaper page image doesn't appear.

2)  A user can also use the Windows Snipping Tool - I opened that, and outlined the article of interest to me, and then clicked on the "File > Save As:"

When I clicked on "Save As," the window opened and I saved the file in a specific file folder with a file name of my choice:

3)  When you save the historical record image to a person in your tree, there is the opportunity to send an email with the image to yourself, or post it on Facebook or Google+.  Ancestry provides a link to the specific image in the email, so you have to click on it again and then save the image to your computer files.  Eventually, the link becomes obsolete, I think.

4)  Another option is to synchronize the Ancestry Member Tree to a Family Tree Maker 2014 family tree database.  If you do that, then you can always access the historical record image using the Family Tree Maker program.  Media that are attached to an Ancestry Member Tree are downloaded to a user's computer and put in a special Media file folder in the Family Tree Maker file folder.  

You do have to obtain, install, and learn how to use Family Tree Maker in order to use this option.  
5)  My experience is that only a small percentage (perhaps 15% to 25%) of genealogists are able to deal with the basic computer technology of creating file folders, saving files to file folders, finding files in file folders, using genealogy software programs, etc.  That's unfortunate - and it is a limiting factor in bringing many genealogists and family historians into the digital age.  Classes in basic computer usage are necessary for many genealogists so that they can use Ancestry and other online sites effectively, but many will never learn how to do basic computer tasks. has made it fairly easy to create an Ancestry Member Tree, to find records in their collections (green leaves, suggested records), and to attach images and sources to persons in an AMT (just click on the Save button).  A user does not need to know a lot about the records themselves, or the genealogical research process - just click and save!

Of course, is in business to make a profit by providing a service (acquiring, displaying, indexing, searching, and saving historical records; creating an online family tree; taking a DNA test; etc.), and most subscribers understand that providing all of that is not free, that there are costs, and that a subscriber is paying to search for, find, and see records.  The subscriber needs to know how to collect those records and save them as digital files.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Martha said...

Thank you for this post. I knew all this (well, maybe all of it) but it's great to see all the options in one place.

Unknown said...

While I realize this a response to an specific question it applies to all subscription services.

I learned the hard way to always 'capture' an image of the resource, i.e. census, article, vitals. This way you'll be able to access it whether your subscription lapses or the site is down or you just don't have an internet connection that day.

Having a desktop program to which you can attach those images is helpful for organization but not essential. The biggest problems are space and naming conventions so you can find the image again. The first is easily solved with a large external hard drive, relatively cheap these days. The second is a little more tricky because it is often more personalized. If you use a photo program such as Windows Photo Gallery with the ability to add tags, it makes the naming less complicated and finding the images again much easier via tags for surname, location, etc.

Sara Gredler said...

Your post is one reason that I have a desktop family tree program and download everything from all family history sites, subscription or no, onto my hard drive. I want to be able to do my genealogy without an Internet connection.

Essentially, preach it. :)

McElrea One-Name Study said...

And what are the rules for using the Shoebox option?

Joseph Corll said...

This is a great post. Alot of people don't know that there are ways to save the information you find online. ;)

This is also a good reminder to those of us who have "been-at-it" a while. We could all use a good refresher now and then.