Posted by Ancestry Team on March 19, 2008 in Website

Today we launched an exciting new feature that many of you have requested: the ability to share AncestryPress projects in a digital format. You can now invite family members and friends to view your project and, if they wish, order a printed copy of it. We’ve also made a navigation change that will make it easier for you to access our growing array of backgrounds.

Sharing: Phase I

To share a project, go to the My Projects tab and click the “Share” link under the project you want to share. Enter the e-mail address of the person you want to invite to view your project. If there are multiple addresses, just enter a semi-colon after each address. Enter a subject line and a brief message explaining what action you’d like the recipient(s) to take: provide feedback, send you missing photos or other information, purchase a printed copy of your project, etc.

Under the field for the e-mail addresses, you’ll see a box labeled, “Allow invitees to copy my project.” If this box is checked, the people you invite will be able to create an electronic copy of your project in their own AncestryPress account. This means they will be able to modify their own copy of the project, but they will not be able to make any changes to the original version (the one that lives in your AncestryPress account).

Once you’ve shared your project with someone, that person can forward it to others, so it’s important to only share your project with people you trust. If you’re concerned about the privacy of data in your project, be sure to mention in your message that you don’t want the recipients to forward your project to anyone else. While sharing, please keep in mind the copyright restrictions noted in the image upload agreement.

Later this year, we will launch additional sharing and collaboration features that will allow several family members to work together on a single project. We’ll also launch an online gallery where you can share your project with the community. As a project owner, you’ll always be able to control the level of access you provide to specific individuals and to the community.


In the content directory on the left-hand side of AncestryPress, you’ll notice that we’ve added a new content tray labeled Backgrounds. When you click on the Backgrounds tab, the tray will expand so that you can scroll down to see thumbnails of the available backgrounds. Browse the entire collection or click on one of the folders to see a particular type of backgrounds (floral, military, etc.).

Hold your cursor over a thumbnail to see how that particular background looks on the page. If you like how it looks, click “Apply to page” from the fly-out menu — or, if you want to make it the default background for the entire book, click “Apply to all.” The background you see when you hover over the thumbnail is a low-resolution version; once you’ve applied the background to a page you’ll see a high-resolution version.

You’ll notice that we’ve recently added more than a dozen new backgrounds, including country backgrounds for Norway, Sweden, Scotland, England and Canada, an Old Ships background for showcasing immigration records and a collection of feminine-looking backgrounds that are perfect for a Mother’s Day photo book or family history book.



Click to enlarge image



Click to enlarge image

Old Ships

Old Ships

Click to enlarge image

Speaking of Mother’s Day, be sure to check back next week for new products, features, templates and content ideas that will help you create the best gift your mom has ever received. I’ve made a goal to finally finish the book I started for my mom before Christmas…before I got sidetracked by running a marathon, going to China on vacation and buying a house. I think I’ve finally run out of excuses!

You’ll want to get started early — the standard shipping deadline for Mother’s Day delivery is April 27 — but not too early, because our special Mother’s Day templates won’t be available until March 26. I’m telling you now so that you can set aside an evening or weekend to create a fitting tribute to your mom, grandma and/or mother-in-law.

In the meantime, enjoy the new backgrounds and please let me know what you think of our new sharing feature!

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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. Anja

    I just shared my project and it works! That is a great feature, i was just thinking this morning it would be great if i could share it. Thank you very much for adding it!
    While working on my project i thought it would be great if baptism dates and occupation information for example could be easily added out of

    The sharing-feature is great!


  2. Iam very impressed and at awe with the features of the Print and publishing feature of As I continue to work on my project (i.e. Otway-Nyack book) which is now headed for 100 pages…or close to it, I have many interested persons, roughly 75 to 150 potential sales.With regards to the page background effect which I really enjoy. I have an image of an historical scene painted in the 1800’s that would be critical to the overall theme and historical content of my book. This image I can send to you…for review for possiblity of adding this to my progect. Please advise me of how this can be done. It’s extremely important for many of my ancestors emigrated to the Caribbean Island of Grenada, West Indies. This image depicts Grenada during the late 1700’s early 1800’s. It would be a great addition to the collection of backgrounds from an genealogical perspective.

    Please contact me at the above or my number is 202-291-0196.

    With many thanks!

    Your’s respectfully,

    Henry Joseph Pius Otway


    With respect to sharing projects and the protection of projects,I urge you to consider the implementation of four(4)features to that program:

    A. The ability to block someone from viewing My specific projects, even after an invitation is sent to that individual.

    B. The ability to restrict someone from copying via electronic or print of any material from My Project.

    C. The ability to restrict anyone from forwarding or transfering via email to a third party.


    D. The ability as an adminnistrator of an account to monitor the activity of the project whil that invitee has access to the materials of that project.

    I believe that this is incredibly important in the protection and privacy of one intellectual rights and further strengthens the copyrights policies with respect to the owner of their respective project(s.)

  4. Jourdan Brunson

    Looks great! Can’t wait for the joint projects!!!(and hoping for a breach of the page limit as aformentioned)

  5. Margo Gill-Linscott

    I began a project and then wanted to make changes. The only way I seemed to be able to do this was to start over. Also I could not transfer pictures I had in one project to the new project. I don’t know if these issues have been addressed but I would appreciate any information you might provide in regard to this. I too like the new backgrounds.

  6. yolanda Maldonado

    I get excited when i find
    census records but sometimes i get a good size font i can read and other times a need a magnifyng glass. how can i choose font size when printing census pages. the printer friendly ones I mean

  7. dede

    The print backgrounds are a great ideas, but not everyone has an european grandma. Could you please include international ideas of maternal geneology, like pioneer frontiers woman and world travelers that followed their men folk/slave masters, etc.
    My great-grandmothers have settled the globe in the last 150 years, and I would like to reflect that in my Mother’s Day gifts.
    Thanks for your helping site.

  8. Anja

    As my book is growing it would be great if there was a draft for a table of contents that could for example pull in the headlines. I would like to include a table of contents and that would be an easy and fast way to include it.

  9. Guy M Bordner

    I put my family tree on the internet thinking that was the correct thinig to do. Now if I move a generation I am supposed to pay to research, evn the material that I put on the internet. This doesn’t seem right. I would appreciate an explanation.

    Guy M Bordner

  10. Thank you. The backgrounds are improving. More of a selection. I asked for England, Canada and Scotland and now here they are. All I need is Italy and I am one happy camper. Also, user generated backgrounds is a must for your next update. I cam maximize an image to use as a background but it still shows a thin border on half the page. Gosh, once Italy and user generated backgrounds are possible, I can publish my book immediately. Thank you for what you have done so far!

  11. Susan Ellen MacDonald

    I am very rapt up in my family history on both the MacDonald and the Ireland sides of the family.
    Writing a novel would take me considerable time as I would have to start from the very beginning. There would be chapters to be added.
    Please be patient.
    Thsnk you very much.

    Susan Ellen MacDonald

  12. hazel Jean Lowe

    I do not have a websiteright now, but hope to have one soon. I have read the ancestry’s blog,and very excited about the process of starting my project. Thank you for all that you are doing to help bring dreams to happen. I ordered two books awhile ago on our name in history on my mother’s side of family and also my father’s name and found out that a city up in the panhandle. with the same and some history about that town. Thank you so much for your staff of people and may God bless you and your company.

    I will get started on my project real soon. Its a big one.


    Hazel J. Lowe

  13. Sudie

    I have tried inviting family to become editors on my site, sending the invitation several times. They are unable to access the family tree. Why?

  14. Jackie Green

    A technical glich arose with the project program (specifically mine) that caused some content to not load, nor print, so that I received some books I ordered with some pages missing their content. I posted a blog message, and possible found a link to email Ancestry Press about the technical problem, and this morning I received a phone call from them. I am so amazed at their service oriented response. I mean wow! They called me. I didn’t have to call them! The service representative got a technician on the problem right away and it was fixed within an hour. At no additional cost to me they are shipping replacement books to me for the ones I received with the missing content.
    I love!

  15. Sarah

    I just received my first project today and I can not tell how very happy I am with the final product! I have absolutely no complaints on your service and can’t wait to share this with my relatives! My book is just gorgeous and I want to thank you for making this possible. A template for a Contents Page would have been nice, but hey….that was no big deal to me. I just entered a blank page and typed it in myself—everything was so easy! The pictures printed off beautifully and I just wanted to thank you for making this all possible.


  16. Julie Smith

    I am an annual member and I have lost myself in projects after projects, including buying several leather bound books. My comment is that I am thrilled with the backgrounds you have added, in particular the countries….BUT…why don’t you have the USA in there??? You have several military backgrounds for the USA, but none of just the country to represent Americans. Some other countries would be valued as well, China for instance. Could you please this already satisfied customer.


    Julie Smith

  17. edwinjzapel

    I am sending an update on descendants of Absalom Adams and Mary Prickett for 3 generations. There was an inquiry on RootsWeb regarding Joseph Robert (Joe Bob) Adams. Joe Bob moved his family by covered wagon from Dahlonega GA sometime in late 1907 or early 1908. They moved to Moran Texas. They lost their ranch in Texas before 1922 and moved to Oklahoma. Joe Bob bought a plot in the Savannah OK cemetery where he and Rosa Lee were subsequently buried in 1929 and 1949. All of Joe Bob,s Children are now deceased.

  18. First the site is my cousin Marta’s. I am an invitee and contributor. We are trying to put a book together.
    She lives on the West coast and I live on the East coast. So we need to be able to acess the same book project. How can that be done ?

  19. Sharyn Turner

    I have complete a book on my family & successfully shared it with other family members. They love how the project turned out and are impressed with the quality of the product. Now they would like to order their own copy, but can’t seem to do that. They get a message saying they need a login & password. Are there specific instruction on how other people can order the book once I have shared it with them? Can I set up a generic login & password to enable them to order a copy? I am reluctant to give them my own password & login. Please advise! Thanks!! Sharyn Turner

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