Discovery Your Family History

Photos For Your Family Tree Research

With today’s technology enhancements, it is easy to find pictures and images of all types. However, in conducting your LDS family search, you may find that searching for pictures for your family tree, blog, or web page can be a daunting task. In my search for pictures for my eBooks, public TV shows, and so forth; I have found a few web sites where you can obtain pictures. You may have to pay a small fee for some, but you can find others free of charge. The trick is in knowing which web sites to visit, and also knowing what guidelines to follow in obtaining your pictures. I have compiled a list of sites to help you find useful pictures for your LDS family search. However, it is important to check the copyright section of each picture to see if the owner or producer permits viewers to make copies of the photo(s).

 Before I list the web sites themselves, let me give you a few handy tips to help you know what pictures can be used, and which ones are best left untouched. Images that are posted on web sites for general use are of a much lower quality than those for publication. Web images are 72 DPI, whereas publication quality for pictures is 300 DPI, so it is important to search for the highest quality pictures. When using pictures from a web site, be sure to cite the source from which the photo was retrieved. When citing the source of your picture(s), be sure to add the web site, date retrieved, and catalogue number as a benchmark for others to validate them. Do not use pictures that do not have a catalogue number, or are unattributed in any way, as this violates the copyrights of the owner or producer of the photo(s). If the pictures you wish to use have a watermark on them, they cannot be used, because they are copyrighted material. If your publication or web site has commercial content included in it, familiarize yourself with licencing regulations.

 The first web site we will discuss is the library of congress. Being the nation’s largest library, here you will find an enormous selection of pictures to choose from in your LDS family search. Although the number of picture collections online is limited, these collections are continuously growing in number. On the LOC main page click on digital collections which will take you to the digital collections page. Double click the prints and photographs icon on the left side of your screen, which will take you to a search page. On this page, you can enter your search terms or browse the list of collections on that page to search for the pictures you want. On the search results page click on gallery view, this view instantly displays the images that are available for download. Choose the image that you need, then choose from the format that works best for you. These pictures will have a white border, If you see a photo with a white box containing the words “not digitized,” these photos are catalogued; however they haven’t been added to the digital collection at the time of your search. Finally, click on “about this item” to obtain the reference information for your citation, and to read any copyright information and disclaimers.

 The National archives web site and Flickr photo stream are more great sources for finding and downloading pictures for your genealogy. However, it is important to note that even though pictures that are produced by federal organizations are part of the public domain, there are pictures and images on the national archive web site that have been produced by individuals and private agencies, that are not part of the public domain, and cannot be copied. If you are not sure about a picture you are looking for, check with the U.S. copyright office, or order your pictures from the National archive’s Flickr page. There you can select the picture you want and follow the prompts to download and or order a print copy of your chosen photo.

 Wikipedia, the largest online encyclopaedia, also has images on their article pages. Enter your search terms and then click on the article you are looking for. Once the article opens, you can click on the image, and you will be taken to the information page about it. If the images are part of the LOC collection, they can be used. There is information about the file size and the file format that is displayed beneath each picture. You can also search for pictures on the Wikipedia commons page. Be sure to read through the copyright and licencing information, and then look at the bottom of your screen for pictures that are available on the public domain. If you so choose, you can post your own photos to this site.

 The final most widely used web site for pictures is Flickr. This site is used to house pictures from libraries such as LOC and the National archive. Private libraries and individual users also post pictures on the site. If you want to use a picture from an individual producer, search for the contact information and email the group or individual to find out if there are any fees for using their picture(s). Now that there is a plethora of web sites with photos available to the public, you can certainly tell your story with pictures as you paint pictures with words.

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