Posted by Ancestry Team on January 14, 2008 in Website

Hello all…I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that your year is off to a great start! Although you haven’t heard from me in a few weeks, the AncestryPress team has been busy putting the finishing touches on some of the items on your wish list. We launched several new features this morning that I think you’ll be very excited about. Some of them will make it easier for you to create a family history book, while others will improve the appearance of the final product. In addition, we’re now offering family tree posters that display NINE generations. (If you don’t have quite that much data, don’t worry — we plan to make 7- and 8-generation posters available by the end of the month.)

To start with, we’ve delivered the two book building features users have requested the most: print preview and automatic page numbering. The print preview function is pretty self-explanatory, so I’ll let you check that out on your own.

Page numbering: The page numbering is easy too, but I’ll walk you through it just for fun. Click the “Pages” icon in the top navigation and select “Page Numbers” from the drop-down menu. You’ll see a pop-up box like the one in the example below. Check the box labeled “Show Page Numbers,” set the page number position and then click “Apply” to see how the number appears on the page. If you like how it looks, hit “OK.”

Click to enlarge image

Grid: When I started using AncestryPress, I liked the freestyle format of the application, but I sometimes found it difficult to align elements on a page. I also worried about putting text and images too close to the edge of the page because I wasn’t sure how much space I was supposed to leave for the binding. Our new grid feature gets rid of all that guesswork. Just click “Show Grid” in the top navigation and you’ll see gridlines across the whole page, rulers on the top and one side and a red line on the other side that gives you a boundary for the “gutter.” In the example below, you can see the gridlines as well as a couple of new content types we’ve just added: flags and maps.

Click to enlarge image

Highlighters: You can also see that we’ve changed the directory structure for the content wells on the left side of the application. Embellishments are now part of the “Other Content” section, which is organized into folders so that you can easily find specific types of content. One of the content folders contains highlighters that you can use to highlight your family members’ names in census records, passenger lists, etc. Just pick the color you want, drag the highlighter onto the page and position it over the name(s) you want to highlight. You can expand and crop the highlighter to make it as wide, narrow, tall or short as you wish.

Click to enlarge image

Text rotation: You can now rotate a text box the same way you rotate an image — by grabbing the circular arrow icon on the top left corner of the box or image.

Click to enlarge image

Drop shadow: Finally, we’ve added a drop shadow feature that lets you create the illusion of depth. It’s a subtle effect that you can use in lieu of a putting a border or frame around an image — or in addition to a border or frame. Just highlight the image and then click the drop shadow icon on the image editing toolbar (fifth from right…next to the flip icon).

Click to enlarge image

We’ll be releasing additional new features as well as new templates, backgrounds and embellishments on a regular basis throughout the year, so please check back often.

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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. Your staff has been very helpful when I have had a problem, I am just a novice concerning the internet. One thing I hope to see is a way I can get information on Yugoslavian relatives (living). My children are interested in finding out about their Fathers family there. I am also frustrated by not being to read a lot of the documents I have brought up and I think I saw on your information that they will be able to be enlarged. Thank you.

  2. It is very frustrating to ask for the section that says birth records and get SS & Cenus Reports only. If I had the info I would contact courthouses and other agencies for info. I have found that my grandfather, who we knew nada about, was on the Orphan Trains from Indiana to Ohio. Ancestry web had none of this info. The info I now get back is what I put in the system.

    Please see if there is a way that info can be categorized so that if that is all you need you don’t spend hours looking through volumes of the same stuff over and over.

    Maybe I just expect miracles? If you don’t know sometimes but the barest facts, what good is looking through volumes of material? You probably miss something else as well?

    Thank you.

  3. re: Family Tree Maker 2008 > Maps

    Mappin is very nice feature to confirm the location and get consistent lableing.

    BUT sometimes “your” map information is not correct such as Wayne, DuPage Co., Illinois “you” have as Wayne, Kane Co., Illinois and the prompting to change the correct informaion is a pain. There seems to be NO way to flag or correct the location.

  4. Elizabeth Madrigal

    Your site is wonderful and I enjoy being a member. However, I would love to see you obtain information on Mexican ancestry. Not only are there many descendants here in the U.S., but a very rich culture with easy access through the Roman Catholic Churches records. Please consider this as I believe it is very disappointing when people cannot find anything about the neighbor next door.
    Best regards,
    Elizabeth Madrigal

  5. Margaret Chaneles

    I would like to be able to attach a document to multiple individuals…for example if I find a census showing 5 family members living in a home, I would like to be able to attach it to all five of those individuals at once…perhaps it would give me the option of attaching to individuals that share the last name with check boxes and I could check of those that apply…details would need to be worked out, but it is tedious to have to go in to each individual to attach the document.
    Love your site. Keep up the good work.

  6. K D Barnum

    Where are the rolls and records of Union and other Armed Forces, including Confederate. Interested in 5thNY,15thNY, Sterling Prices Cavalry,MO Guard. Thanks.

  7. Arlene Miles

    AncestryPress has come a long way. I enjoyed putting my first and second coffee table book together. However,quite a few people who looked at it said they would like to knw if you plan on doing more of a family history format, I think it is referred to as registered. There are several other suggestions I would like to make: after looking through the first fifty results, why does it always return to the very begining instead of the next fifty? Is there an easier way to get through all your databases? Is there some kind od authority control in place? Where are all the maps, especially the ones showing the changes through the years, along with a timeline of historical events.

  8. Annette

    I am sorry I am really trying to learn this program. I can totally relate to some issues while some I have not tried yet.In the older versions you can build your own books, I have not been able to understand how that will work with 2008. So far it appears it will cost me about 30 dollars rounding it out. While viewing your demo I have no idea where in the program you are working from. I am a step by step person.Thank for reading this.

  9. Jennifer

    What I would like to see is a way to publish more than 4 generations! I’ve found a lot of interesting stuff and I’d like it all in one book!

  10. Boyd Leuenberger

    Is there a way to attach items in my shoe box to individuals in my tree? I have found my ancestors in the unindexed Hamburg passenger lists and would like to include the pages in a report.

  11. Jeff Jahn

    One thing i would like to see with page numbering is the choice of what page to start page number 1 on. For example if our first page is a introduction or dedication page then the second page is actually the page i would like to start as page number 1 instead of the actually first page.

  12. Gayle Loftis

    The suggestion to be able to add a document to multiple referenced individuals is one I would whole-heartedly endorse. However, I have another question as well: I had living family members set up in the prior version to print their addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses in a single report with columns like a phone directory. The present program doesn’t let me do that as I see it. That takes away the utility of it for me. Did I miss something? I seem to find the report formats to be a bit awkward to locate and “massage”.

  13. Edgardo Timpanaro

    I think you are doing a marvelous work.But being Italo-Argentinian I would like to have some features such as flags,army.backgruonds of these countries,that would be really usefull for the foreign ancestry users.
    Thank you

  14. Jean White

    I agree with Nancy Davis. Searching can get really frustrating especially when they don’t seem to be in any logical order (alpha, birth/death year, etc.)

  15. I also would like to have the birtdate feature seperate form the marriage and ss index or at least have them in some sort of order. I seem to spend hours looking through all this just to find a birth record. I hate that the u.s. directory is included. I have ask for this for at least two years every time you ask for a suggestion. Maybe now that other people are asking it will help move things along.
    Thank You

  16. I think I posted the other post in the wrong area. Sorry.
    Now for the press issue. I love what you have done. The only question is when are we going to be able to print a larger book. I have so much information…Thank you Ancestry….and would very much like to include more generations and alot more information.

  17. Patricia

    I have created a book and I gave it to my father for Christmas – he was VERY excited about it. I was able to include photos new and old that he had forgotten about. I love love love that you have included the page number feature THANK YOU!! It was time consuming to put in the page numbers and even though I did my best to get them in the corners, they didn’t all come out the same. If I am not able to choose what page I want the numbering to start I will be a little disappointed though. That leads me to the grids – again THANK YOU. This will help in my next book. I would love to be able to have some type of auto index the names in the back if that would be possible – especially if you make the books bigger! All our home-spun family history books are done that way and it’s super helpful!
    I also gave posters as Christmas presents this year. I gave them near and far and they were a huge hit! I am so glad to see that you are adding new backgrounds etc. What you did have started to get pretty redundant after a while so it will be good to be able to mix things up more on my next project. Thanks for making this available.
    I would also like to put in a request for larger books both in size and in how many people & how much data can be included.
    If anyone reading this is considering a book or poster, give it a try. You will be very happy with it, they are nicely done.

  18. Ellece

    I am very happy with 2008. For me personally, it would be almost exactly what I want if only the Descendants Chart came out in the same format as the older FTM version. It is frustrating not to be able to choose that the chart go to 1 pdf page. Also the AKA option is not satifactory on that chart.
    I would also like another report where pictures could be attached and maybe more options on some of the other reports.
    Keep up the good work. Thank you,

  19. Debbie

    I think you all are doing a FANTASTIC job!!, I have just discovered your press features, and I am learning so much!

    I was just wondering if in the future is Ancestry going to have obits from newspapers and such? I had to go to another site to find an obit for my great grandmother, that Ancestry did not have.

    What I like best about Ancestry is the surprizes when new information pops up!

    So please keep on going with what ya’ll are doing!


  20. Les Buell

    Trying to upload my family tree to Ancestry. I keep getting a message saying that there is a problem in transmission. I was told that this is because of my McAfee. I removed my McAfee and tried again…Still blocked? Can anyone help me? Thanks Les

  21. Melissa R. Cameron

    Why can’t they make these websites more descrete than this.It’s arbitrary and agrivating!!!!!!!!!!!Thank You

  22. Dennis Schneible

    I would like to dsiplay 12 generations in a compact form, can your posters be modified to do that?

  23. Pat Blanchard

    WOW! I have been busy doing other things, and had left my latest book unattended for quite a while. With the addition of all the new goodies, I am inspired once again to get moving towards publication. I thought my first volumes that were created during the Beta-Test period were great, but you have made such strides since then, that my earlier efforts look amateurish compared with what I can do now. Great job guys!!

  24. Hey there. Any idea as to when you will have more backgrounds? I like the spain and Irish backgrounds, but where’s Italy and Asia? Perhaps we can design our own and upload it to our projects? That would be spectacular! What you have provided thus far is absolutely fantastic. I can only imagine what you have down the pipeline. May I suggest your graphics team take a look at what shutterfly can provide to their customers in regards to book customizations? They have bazillion different backgrounds and different borders for photos including the little photo corner fastners you can use to make it look like the photos are attched to it like old school photo albums? Thank you for your time. Regards, Rictor Riolo

  25. Michael Harrison Sr

    The article was very good. The timing was great. I will need to go through a complete tutorial. Where can that be found?

    Since I was adopted and was raised only a few miles from my father and grandparents, I have three primary roots to my tree. My dad’s (adopter)
    family is much larger in size.

    I hope to include a audio and video production supplement to the book(s). They will include stories and readings from different “cousins” to complete our family history. I say books because I am doing the same for my wife’s family.

    Any help and encouragement would be appreciated. I am having a difficult time locating the parents of my gggrandfather’s parents.

    God bless you and yours,

    Keep up the good work,


  26. Ralph Bell

    How about being able to upload your own backround. I see R. Riolo (#31) mentioned this also. Being able to upload a backround, with a variable transparency feature would be great. I have worked around it by designing a page in photopro & saving as jpeg then uploading it to ancestry press but that would be a nice feature.

  27. Everett K. Thompson

    Very nice comments about how GOOD your site is, and what it has to OFFER. But then, you went and pulled the plug on free access at hundreds of LDS Church Family History Centers! Hoping to make more money that way, by forcing members to pay for this information? What does this say about the operations of your company, NOW? Not veyr good, in my book, no matter HOW many neat things it does. As a Consultant, it makes our jobs harder, thanks to this ill-advised decision!

  28. Mary Ann N Irby

    I like the new program very much but I have two things that I hope you will consider.
    1. being able to add what you want to include the outline descentant tree.
    2. I have found that not all my information was transfered from an older verson of the program

    Thank you.

  29. I would like a better way to move the pages around in the book. The drag and drop feature drives me a little crazy. I get thing out of order or can’t decide how I want to set it up and then sit for hours trying to drag and drop to reorder the pages. Am I missing something?
    Thank You

  30. Nancy Bradley

    Can I have a blank 9 generation poster sent to me? I have a Mac but I would love to have a poster to fill out by hand. Thank you. Nancy Bradley

  31. Yes, I love your site. But I can’t find the answer to my question. When you print your own pages from ancestrypress or have you print them in a book do they look like the same printing? I have been printing my own pages and was wondering if they will look like the pages that you would print.
    Thank you

  32. Karen

    Ancestry press book ideas

    I really like the amount of information on the family group page. I would like to see one column added to this page which gives the number of children each married sibling had.

    I was disappointed with the time line page. I would like to see more Australian historic facts added. I think this page would really work well if it could be programed to grab those facts which apply to the place where the person was living over the years of their life. Alternatively being able to choose from a list of facts, for different countries where a person’s ancestor lived, would help to place that person’s life amongst the events that may have effected them.

  33. Julie Johnson

    One of the things I enjoyed about ancestry press was being able to create pages and print them out. It worked wonderfully before the new changes and now the pages don’t look as good when they are printed and it takes a very long time to print them and sometimes they won’t even print.

    Is there a way to use the old model where pages were separate instead of in book format?

    Thank You very much.

  34. Barbara J. Yeoman

    I would love to be able to print to file. I found this feature not available when creating my book. I would like to have a permanent copy of my book on CD.

    The improvements to the publish process are great and appreciated.

    Thank you.

  35. Please help me transfer my information and memebership from the above e-mail address to this website. You are asking me to open and pay for what I already have with

  36. Jackie Elder

    I just bought the new version of FTM. I wanted to view a book I had created in the old version and it is gone! I do not want to have to pay Ancestry Press to make a book when I used to be able to do it for free. Is making a book no longer an option? Or am I missing something?

  37. Bonny Reed-Bell

    I love your site and have made two books so far and since everyone in the family wants one now I will be making many more.
    I am wondering if there is any way to cut and paste a whole page into another book? Not everyone in my mom’s family would like all the information in my father’s family. I would like to start a new book and keep the old one in storage but keep some of the same pages, would be much easier than re-doing pages or creating new ones. Thanks for your help. Bonny

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