England Orphan Trail: Use of images

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England Project | England Orphaned Profiles Team | England Orphan Trail Part One | England Orphan Trail: Use of images



Everyone likes to get creative with their profiles. A few images add a finishing touch and a real sense of who the person was or events they might have witnessed.

Use of images in the context of the Orphan Trail is to make sure that you can successfully upload, give the right accreditation and know how to remove unwanted images.

Sadly many images on the internet are protected by copyright and it can often take a long time to find the perfect image, so keep it simple and use what is easily available and legal to use.

This guidance note will help you to do that.

Finding an Image

Look for an image in places that you are likely to be given permission to use it. Here are the most likely places:-

Don’t assume that the image will be free to use from either of these sites (though they often are): check how to find out below.

Uploading an image

Image uploading is done by going to the Image Tab on the persons profile. The process is quite straightforward and details can be found on the help page Photos FAQ.

Don’t worry if you make a mistake, text can be edited afterwards. Click on the image and find add/edit this will take you to the edit page. Images can also be removed by clicking on the button ‘remove from image’ and saving.


Every image must have an attribution, even if it is your own photo, this is to ensure that no copyright laws are infringed. The place to add this is in the box presented on the page when you first upload the image. Make sure you have this information ready before you upload.

Copyright laws are complex but a rule of thumb is that you can post an image if.

  1. The image belongs to you eg a photo from a family collection.
  2. The image belongs to someone who has explicitly given you permission to upload it to Wikitree. If so you must state the date and method of permission granted on the Wikitree upload. eg “Photo from a private collection owned by Fred Veltman and posted with his kind permission, by email to me John Smith 8th May 2020.”
  3. The image is available under a Creative Commons License. You will need to check the information provided with the image to see what attribution the owner asks for.
  4. The image is clearly indicated as "Public Domain". That needs to be stated when you upload the image.

There is a Free Space Page (FSP) produced by Michael Cayley which covers additional resources, particularly useful for finding portraits of notable people. Galleries and Collections which have given Permission for use of Images.You must follow the accreditation guidance given on that page.

Finding an Attribution

Attribution can be found in different places depending on the site, so you may need to look around.

o On Wikipedia click on the image and you will find a small downward pointing arrow in the bottom right corner. If you click on this there is a button ‘You can attribute the author’ This will provide you with the text you need.
o On Wikimedia Commons there is a ‘Use this File’ button above the image. The text you need will be displayed under Attribution.
o Try doing a reverse image search, to see if the owner of copyright can be found on an image elsewhere on the internet. TinEye is a site that enables this. TinEye

Common Misconceptions

The image has been put on a website or is viewable on a site like Ancestry, so it must be all right to use it. No. The content of websites is covered by copyright, so you need to check whether it is permissible to use any images on them. The position may vary from image to image on the same website. Using images on sites like Ancestry breaches their terms and conditions.
Parish records are old so they must be out of copyright. This is true but you are accessing images of the records which have been taken more recently so most of them cannot be copied.
A similar rule applies to old paintings or extracts from old books.
It’s my ancestor so I must be able to copy. No, you still need permission from the person that owns the image.

More Information


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