Posted by Ancestry Team on December 5, 2007 in Website

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I was on vacation the last two weeks of November, but during my absence there were several exciting improvements to AncestryPress.

Military Backgrounds 

In response to customer demand, we’ve added a series of military backgrounds based on specific wars. You can now create pages honoring family members who served in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam War, Desert Storm and Iraq War. Simply click the Backgrounds icon at the top of the AncestryPress interface to access these new backgrounds. Here are a couple of examples:

Vietnam War Background

Vietnam War Background

Click to enlarge image

World War I Background

World War I Background

Click to enlarge image

Descendant Books 

Many of you have been asking for the ability to create family history books based on descendants rather than ancestors. That feature is now available in AncestryPress. Just click “Start a New Project,” select “Family history book from templates,” choose the Ancestry tree you want to use and then select “Descendant List” from the available book types. If you’d like to add a descendant list to an existing book, click “New Page” from the top navigation, select “Family Tree Layout,” choose the tree you want to use and then select “Descendant” from the layout drop-down menu.

Foreign Characters 

If you’ve been using foreign characters in AncestryPress, you may have noticed that some of them weren’t displaying properly, depending on which font you were using. That problem has been fixed. Foreign characters from most European languages should now display correctly in any font available in AncestryPress. Cyrillic characters will not display correctly, however, so if you have Russian names, etc., you’ll need to transliterate them into a Latin-based alphabet.

In case you don’t know how to access foreign characters, here are a couple of easy places to find them:

  • In Microsoft Word, go to the Insert menu and select Symbol. You can copy the symbol you’re looking for and then paste it into a page in your AncestryPress project.
  • If you’re using a PC, another option is to use the Windows character menu. Go to the Start menu and select All Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools and finally Character Map. Again, just copy the symbol you want and paste it into your AncestryPress project.

Scrapbook Products 

I’m also pleased to announce that we recently launched a line of scrapbook products for family history enthusiasts in partnership with K&Company. These include two 11 x 8.5-inch scrapbooks that you can use to preserve and display pages you’ve created in AncestryPress. You can check out the entire product line by visiting the Ancestry Store and clicking the Scrapbook tab in the top navigation.

Family Tree Posters 

Finally, a quick word about Family Tree Posters. Robyn Johnson commented on the poor output quality of a 5-generation tree that she printed on her home printer. It’s very difficult to get good results when you try to fit that much data on letter-size paper, and since the posters were designed to be printed in a larger format, printing on 11 x 8.5-inch paper will not give you an accurate preview of what a 24 x 18-inch poster will look like. Robyn, I’m confident that you’ll be thrilled with your professionally printed poster. Our general manager — a former executive at Kodak — is fanatical about print quality and insisted that we not skimp on the resolution or paper quality for the Family Tree Posters.

Please note that if you are using AncestryPress to create holiday gifts, you must place your order by December 9 for guaranteed delivery by December 24 with standard shipping. If you’re willing to pay for expedited shipping, the order deadline for Christmas Eve delivery is December 12.

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NOTE: AncestryPress is now MyCanvas

In October 2008, AncestryPress was relaunched under the name MyCanvas. It is still a free, online software program provided by For current information about products and features, please see my more recent blog posts.


  1. someone

    Please work on fixing the application and not your web site! I’d much rather create a book with FTM08 then using AncestryPress….

  2. Christine Barton

    Hi! I have been enjoying using the ancestry press software to create some family books. I am awaiting my first order and if the quality is as promised, I will want to do many more. I have some questions/comments:

    1) Feature to add: I would like a “preview” type feature where I can see each page, preferably full-screen so I can have an easier time proof-reading. For example, “” has such a feature, though it isn’t quite big enough for my liking. I hope you are considering something like that. It is hard to zoom in and pan around each page for proof-reading, and printing one page at a time is very slow and cumbersome.

    2) I’ve done a lot of work. One of my books is 80 pages. Do you anticipate that I will be able to update this book over time, and get new prints of it? That is, as you release new software, will it be backward compatible with what I have already done? I hope so!

    3) Will my books age off of ancestry press? I hope not!

    4) How long will the introductory price be available? What do you anticipate it will be when the introduction is over? Right now I thin it is a very good deal!

    Thanks in advance.

  3. I’m looking for my father picture he died in 1971 his name was jordan steeley moore. he was in wwll he married my mother in 1942 swainsboro ga. please someone help me I’ve never seen him

  4. Jen

    I love the descendant book format, but I was wondering if the 3 generation limit will be expanded? I want to do a descendant book that starts with my great-grandparents. I know that I could manually add in pages for the 4th and 5th generations, but it would be so much easier if Ancestry Press would auto fill the pages from my tree.

  5. Donna Martin-Netherton

    I produced 4 ancestry books so far ( 2 have already been printed and are terrific & 2 in progress)….EXCEPT in the cumbersome method of trying to proofread the pages in portions– since no full screen is available- doesn’t work very well!
    I overlooked that a few of the pages were not
    re-numbered after I had moved them…this was very disappointing since I tried to be so careful and proofread several times.
    Also, It is VERY time-consuming to manually add the page numbers……PLEASE, PLEASE add auto page numbering as an option…preferably in the middle at the bottom of the page.
    Thank you for a wonderful product!!

    PLEASE add auto page numbering !!!! Preferably in the center of the page>
    Thanks for a great product!!

  6. We are building a history of Pelham NY veterans. has been very helpful in helping to track down what happened to a number of servicemen and women for whom we found articles from WWII era newspaper microfilm.

    For one soldier from Pelham, we had an article that Anthony Bertoldi was reported to have been taken prisoner in 1944 after D-Day. From we found that he ahd indeed returned home from WWII and raised a family in the Hershey, PA area. I contacted the Hershey Historical Society and they were able to find his obituary from 2000.

    For an Army nurse we were able to find that she and her husband had settled in the Houston area and had been recognized as benefactors of a hospital there.

    We can use help with accessing more records from the National Archives. So many WWII era stories about veterans, especially Navy members were vague about what ships they were on or the carrier they flew from.

    We are planning to finalize a manuscript on this project by later this year. Any suggestions welcome. Much of the information we have accumulated so far is presented on our website under “Heros Memorial” or “Pelham Veterans”.

    WQe are encouraging other communities to do the same exercize so purposes this is an area for your company to develop.

    Best regards,

    Ken Kraetzer
    Sons of American Legion
    Pelham NY

  7. Pauline Hoey

    Hi, delighted with the extra features, but disappointed that the WW2 background only features the American Flag and US soldiers. Do you know if there are any plans for a background with a British Flag for all us British Ancestry members to commemorate our relatives?

  8. EC

    I think it’s great you added a number of military backgrounds as page options for the ancestry books. But what about the Korean War? My dad served as a Marine during the Korean War and when I went to create pages about his service, there weren’t any military backgrounds for that.

  9. Joan Johnson

    Howard Hayes My Exhusband is Thomas Micheal Hayes,they are from Idaho are you the same Hayes?

  10. mann welch

    hi. glad to know we’ll find out about world war 2. but i am hoping you can include those american soldiers, officers, volunteers and more, who were stationed in the philippines, please. specifically the ones who stayed in mindanao, particularly mambajao, camiguin island. thank you very much.

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