Creating a Free-to-view Image Link from

+76 votes

I've been asked a number of times how to do this, so I am posting instructions here for easy reference.

If you have an subscription, and you wish to add a link to a source image on a profile, you can create a link to the image that is free for all to view (with or without a subscription) by following the instructions below.

1. Open the image on

2. Click the "tools" icon on the image page.

3. Select "Share"

4. I usually select Facebook from the share menu but choose a platform where you have an account or choose email and send to yourself.

5. Close the sharing window and copy the link in the small window that remains.

6. Use the link as is or truncate it as described below.

To truncate the link:

Here is what the link you copied will look like:

To truncate it and still retain a working link remove all of the bolded portion which will leave a link that looks like this:

You can then add it to your Ancestry citation using this format [ Free Ancestry Image] to produce this link:

Free Ancestry Image

These images are best viewed on a PC and your mileage may vary on a mobile device.

Hope it helps and happy sharing!

in WikiTree Help by Deb Durham G2G Astronaut (1m points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
When you select the Share Twitter option, the first box that pops up has the shorter URL.

Right, I realized that after. wink

Wow, I was just going to post a comment on how the Ancestry GED upload got so messed up.  Using this method when I get the time I can upload something that makes more sense to show a document.

Sure wish I would have seen this sooner. It took me a bit of study to understand your answer, but the lite bulb finally went off.  Now to go back to that improved method someone else posted to compare and decide what to use.
What can’t you just upload it to your computer, save it as an image  and then put it on the page as a picture. Is that forbidden?
It worked beautifully.
It didn't work for me. It take me to the pay page. I have no subscription.

Hi Judy, 

The ability to create a free to view source has to be done by someone who has a subscription. Then, instead of just putting a link to Ancestry, they can create a source others can look at. You should be able to view this link created by Deb. Let us know if you can't!

Yes, that link worked.
This appears to be a means for image documentation.  What I have learned is how much one can learn when you have access to books and records that include information on other families, explanation about marriages of one family into another, who bought what from whom, what they did in the building of our nation and with whom......An image cannot do that.

13 Answers

+19 votes
Most useful thing I've read all week.  Thanks for sharing, I've copied this to my WT notepad.
by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1m points)

You're welcome, RJ. Happy to be of service! blush

SJ Horace I guess wink

Oops. I'm old and my brain misfires. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! blush

+18 votes
This is awesome. Since I don't have a paid account, I can never see Ancestry sources. But if people start adding this, then that would make those sources accessible. Thank you! Merci! ¡Gracias! Hvala! Vielen dank!
by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (371k points)

Yes, it can be very useful. smiley

+18 votes
Thanks.  This is very helpful!
by Caryl Ruckert G2G6 Pilot (189k points)
You are most welcome!
+14 votes

This is awesome, thanks very much for sharing!

I tried your suggestion here for this profile: Dawley

I'm not sure if it worked, because I have an Ancestry subscription. I'll certainly use more of this in the future. 

by Alex Stronach G2G6 Pilot (281k points)

It worked. You can tell they are different than the images you open normally on Ancestry and they also have the little blurb next to them saying you "discovered" the record. Congrats on your first free link! laugh

Amazing, that worked for me too and I don't have a subscription. I will have to play with this when I do get access. Love it!
+8 votes

I'm a little unsure about this.  Ancestry themselves have confirmed that yes, you can create a 'sharing link' and put it up on a website, but that only one person will ever be able to look at it.  So, for example, say I created one of those 'sharing links' and put it up on, then Person A looked at it, then nobody else would ever be able to view it.  It would be forever linked to Person A and their account (even if they did not have a subscription).

Colour me confused. indecision

by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
I'd be surprised if pretty much everyone who has stopped by this thread hasn't clicked to look at the link I used to demonstrate. If you can click on the link and see the share page, I'd say whoever told you that was mistaken.
I've posted these links in many threads where FamilySearch didn't have the record I needed to show a relationship someone asked about. I've never once had someone tell me the links didn't work.
Sorry, I also just realized it would be pretty pointless to allow you to post these links directly to Facebook and Twitter if only one person could look at them.
+11 votes
This is a very valuable bit of advice. Thanks, Deb!!!
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
You're welcome!
+9 votes
Thank you, Deb, for posting these instructions. This has been a productive morning reading G2G! This is second really informative post I have bookmarked.
by Virginia Fields G2G6 Pilot (437k points)

You're welcome, Ginny! The things I've learned from G2G posts by other members have made my WikiTree time so much easier. I'm always glad when I can give a little something back. heart

+5 votes
Has something changed on Ancestry? I followed the directions and did not find a share option. I then checked in Help on Ancestry and the directions were the same, but still I do not find a share option.

I have an Ancestry account, so I do not think that is the problem.

Any ideas?
by Kristina Adams G2G6 Pilot (177k points)
I don't see a change. You must be on the image page (a census record image for example), then click the tools icon (a crossed hammer and wrench) on the right side (it's just above the zoom +/-). That will expand to show a Share option with a little arrow at the right. When you click it, you get options to share to different platforms.
I tried that yesterday, and just tried again and still cannot find a share button for the record I want ( an application for Sons of the American Revolution). I did find the Share option available for a city directory with all the options you mention.

I wonder what the Ancestry criteria are for Sharing.
Kristina, I think maybe SAR applications are an exception to sharing.  I have an Ancestry account, and although I can view SAR applications, when I tried to download them it would not allow the download nor would it allow me to share the image.
Well..I was able to Share and put the link to a census item on another profile. But I just went back to Ancestry and found a reference to my ʻproject guyʻ in the revolutionary war - a book reference, and that does not have a Share option either.

I will use the best work around I can think of!
+7 votes
Thanks for the very useful tip! Does anyone know if it's possible to share links to sources like this from Ancestry Library Edition?
by Trevor Powell G2G1 (1.1k points)

I was just coming to ask the same thing - I'm sitting in the library right now and don't see that option in the toolbox, so I suspect it's one of the capabilities that's limited to paid. So I think I'm going to go with the "{{Ancestry Record|1234|5678}}" convention seen in the WikiTree help section. Word of warning there though, I think you need to be in the library to access the necessary URL for that format, because if you send to your email for later the URL seems to be different. 

I'd love to have someone prove me wrong on that though, and will let you know if I find a workaround in the meantime!

Edit: it looks like you might be able to do it with links you've emailed to yourself - the difference being that instead of looking for "dbid", look for "collectionId", and instead of "h", look for "recordId". I hope this helps!

+5 votes

Thanks for posting this Deb!  This is very helpful indeed - and works like a charm.   HOWEVER ... I've been recently struck by the "pop-up blocker" bug with Ancestry links while using Chrome.  I'm wondering if you know a way around that?

I have found that if I use the Ancestry templates, as described on this help page:  that I can put links to Ancestry trees, images, media, and they do NOT get blocked by the pop-up blocker.  I'm wondering if there is an Ancestry template available for Sharing as well ?

(For those unaware of the issue:  If you have a pop-up blocker running, in Chrome, and reportedly other browsers, then when viewing a profile, ancestry links are "blocked" and thus not visible or clickable.  If you're in edit mode, and even using the Preview button while editing a profile, everything looks great - but - once you switch to Profile view (public or private) - the links disappear.  Really freaks you out when it first happens!  I was hoping this Sharing format would circumvent that ... but alas ... no)

Thanks again Deb!

 - Greg


by Greg Clarke G2G6 Mach 2 (20.7k points)
+5 votes

Like Greg, I was having issues making the link visible in profile mode (showed in preview). All the previous Ancestry image links using the {{Ancestry Image|1234|5678}} style of construction also had stopped showing in profiles I had created.

I found that the problem was my Ad Blocker (Adblock Plus is the one I'm using). When I set it to be turned off on Wikitree pages, the links all showed beautifully!

by Jo Fitz-Henry G2G6 Mach 6 (66.1k points)
edited by Jo Fitz-Henry
I'd much rather people put a full citation for the source they have found at Ancestry, that way I can find the source myself, even if I can't see it on A bunch of numbers is not a source citation and shouldn't count for one.
+7 votes

Deb, I've been using the dickens out of this method since you posted it about 8 months ago.  Most of the profiles I've created since have a link to the shared image in the source.

While tweeking this process, I've come to (what I think) is an improvment.  When you get the share link you're taken to a page that has the document as a sub-window and an description of the document and who found it.  But I have found that when you click on the document to get a full size view, the zoom and move around the page feature is lacking; I find that the scroll and scan movements of the mouse ont the document are counterintuitive.  I'd prefer just a static document to look at.

So when I get the share page, like the one you posted here:

I then click on the image and when it zooms in, I then right cick and "copy image address."  It is this image address that I share because it leads to a page that has only the image that can be zommed to much larger size and doesn't jump around the page when you zoom in or out.

Compare the above link to this:

And, from this link, you can direct share documents directly to G2G:

I hope that this is useful to others; I'll likely create a new post for it on G2G.

by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1m points)
deep linking that that is usually bad, because of link rot (sometimes they'll change the actual deep link)

If no one linked because of fear of "link rot," there wouldn't be much to look at on the internet. indecision

In my case, I often upload the document to the profile or a space page and in the source have a link to the actual document location, the shared image, and the local (WikiTree) file image.

I’ve adopted some profiles, one of them was made in 2011. They have links that still work. So that’s a good thing, they last :)
+3 votes

From a techo-incompetent, I have just tried this, and hallelujah, it worked for me, I am so happy now smileysmileysmiley, a million thank yous for this heartheart xxx

by Karen Butler G2G6 Pilot (120k points)

That is awesome  it worked! Can someone who doesn’t have a sub click on this to see if it still works?

It did indeed, I am a very happy bunny smiley xxx

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