Posted by Ancestry Team on October 15, 2009 in Site Features

Do you recall the first time you saw information about an ancestor on a census record, military draft card or an immigration record?  We’ve just made it easier than ever to share that thrill of discovery with family and friends through Facebook, Twitter and Email.

You can share daily finds from the record page by clicking on the “Share this record” link in the Page Tools section.  Then select Facebook, Twitter or Email from the drop-down menu, login if needed, enter a personalized message and submit.

Share from Record Page for blog
Share options on the record page

Here is a Facebook post that I made for a WWI draft record of my grandpa which shows his age, occupation, gives a physical description and even has his signature.

Kelvin Facebook Post for blog
Facebook post with a comment

Your family and friends will be able to click on the link they receive to view the record on

Shared record as displayed in the image viewer
Shared record as seen in the image viewer on

Give it a try and please let me know what you think.  We look forward to your feedback to help us know how to best extend sharing to other areas of the Ancestry site and to other types of media such as photos and stories.


  1. Andy Hatchett

    Am I to understand that by clicking the link any of my friends will be able to see the image even it they have not registered with Ancestry or Rootsweb and even if they don’t have an Ancestry subscription?

    Andy Hatchett

  2. Laura

    Ooo, good question Andy, since I’m the only one in my family who has a paid ancestry account (well, my mom and I do), but there are many more people who are interested in what I find.

  3. Eric Shoup

    Andy / Laura — yes, your friends do NOT need to be registered with or subscribed to Ancestry or Rootsweb to see the images that you share. You can try this by sharing a record, then logging out of Ancestry, and click through on the link to see what happens. Let us know what you think.

    Barbara — are you referring to your QuickLinks? You will find these behind the QuickLinks tab at the top right corner of the site.


  4. BEE

    I apologize for the length of this, but I’d like some answers on this subject. I don’t do Facebook or twitter, but I do “search the web” from my tree. I wrote a letter to ancestry about a month ago on this subject but have not received an answer yet: “I don’t understand the ins and outs of “search engines”, but I can’t help but wonder how information from one of my “private” trees can appear on a “German search” when I “search the web” for a name on my tree. It shows information I have entered about that person, as well as three others on my tree with that surname. Although the “tree” cannot be accessed from that “search”, I didn’t realize that the information from my “private” trees could appear on the internet, and it’s a mystery why these, or any names that I have in my trees should appear anywhere beyond the bounds of the ancestry website, especially since they are all “private” – I thought that leaving the “search box” unchecked only applied to access by ancestry members, not the whole internet. I did a web search on another name and it brought up information from my tree{in English} and I am able to open ancestry to the “search results” with this name – I’d like to know what happens when someone else comes upon this “search” – can be opened by anyone else who has an ancestry membership? Can anything else from my tree be accessed? Can my other trees be opened from this site? I would like that clarified.” I asked other questions as well, and hope to receive a reply.
    Concerning all this information that appears on the internet when doing a “search”, I’m having a “discussion” with a distant relative who created a website and posted a great deal of personal information, photos, etc. on our whole family – ancestors long dead, and descendants, much alive, including information that I shared with her. When I found that this website could be accessed by googling any family name, I asked her to delete members of my immediate family. The names and information still appear when I do a “search”, although the website can no longer be opened from that source – but she also created a “calendar” so family names still comes up in a search, and her whole website can be opened. Cautioning her about posting information on living people {especially without their permission} has fallen on deaf ears – “with so much information available on the internet, what’s the difference”. I’ve been made to feel “anti-social” – am I wrong to feel that this is too much “exposure”?

    • kehulet

      BEE – I have talked to Kenny Freestone who is the product manager over Ancestry member trees and he said “We don’t usually see private trees being made publicly available outside of” Would you please email him ( with more details so he can thoroughly investigate this?


  5. Andy Hatchett


    If your main worry is identity theft I’ll just say this. There has never been a case of identity theft where it was proved that a genealogy site was the source of information that lead to that theft of identity. All in all there is *way* too much worry about this. Look at Europe where you can get info on anyone from birth, marriage records down to voter rolls; and their identity theft rate is way below the US rate. Texas and certain other states have that info online for their state records. I’v recreated one texas family from 1864 to the latest birth in 2002 just by using those online records.

    As to how that info got out on the web.. there are a variety of ways. The most likely is that someone who you invited to your private tree put it out on a website somewhere where it was copied by someone else who then posted it to another website etc.

    Information is like water, it wants to be free and flowing and sooner or later it will find a way to achieve that state.

    How likely do you think it would be for someone to find the information you are talking about if they weren’t searching for those names?

    Odds are anyone searching for those names already knows something about the people involved.

    I know I certainly don’t just type in random names to searh for on the web!

    I know this doesn’t answer a lot of your questions but I just wanted to give my thoughts on the subject.

    Andy Hatchett

  6. Jade

    Bee, #5,

    Setting your Tree to ‘private’ deters others’ viewing the Tree.

    If you did not set your personal settings not to index your entries, it will still be indexed by and by external search engines such as google. has set up its interfaces so that external search engines can index it, to attract customers and page-viewers for ad ‘hits’.

    What is now indexed will not disappear from web search engines, but if you set your preferences to not index your activities, future entries will not be indexed by

  7. Anna

    Sounds like a winner. I have lots of family that would like to be included in some of the family documents and history.

    • Kelvin Hulet

      Kim –

      You don’t necessarily need to be a subscriber to share records. If you can view a record that has an image you can share it and there are a number of database that don’t require a subscription to search and view records. However, most databases do require a subscription to view the record images and subsequently share them.

      Just to be clear…you don’t need to register or subscribe to view a shared record.


  8. This is a nice fun feature. I like all the recent changes and resources (Expert) new to the site. I wonder with this new inclusion to Facebook and others, will it be possible in the future for more than just Ancestry’s own databases to be posted? For example, I have a picture past down to me of a hanging in Texas, taken Sept. 10, 1891. I am told a certain man in the picture (the sherriff) is a distant relative of mine. It would be nice if I could post this in the same fashion as your records with a note, to see if anyone has info or comments that might help me figure out the name and exact nature of my relation. Plus, the ability to share certain finds or pictures I have included without giving full access to other info in my tree. Thanks!

  9. Andy Hatchett


    The easy way to do this would be to just start a public “tree” with the individual items, persons, etc. but without any links to anyone else on that public tree. It would be more a catalog of items, etc. than an actual tree – and people could only see what you put on that public tree without getting access to anything on other trees.

  10. Lois Downour

    Will you ever have a link on ancestry where we can ask you a direct question and get answers?
    I have been searching for many years and records you now have on your Historical records site,Were free at one time through other sites,But since you have taken them over no one can browse the actual record,Like the Tohickon Union Lutheran Church Bucks County Pennsylvania,Everytime I try to search it for my gggrandfathers rcords I get a typed thing showing he was a sponsor or the father of someone,And you have see image but you click it and you get more of the same,I would like to Browse this record myself,Not what you want me to see,Because as every researcher knows,One person can look at a record and maybe overlook something,That another researcher can spot right away.And believe me what I have seen with the transcribers work,I would rather veiw the record myself,So even though I am a paying subscriber do I have to pay again to see the whole record?Lois

  11. Stacey Lane

    It would be helpful to be able to post directly to a group rather than straight to your wall on Facebook. Not all of my friends will be interested in a record I may want to share with certain family members in a family group. Not sure if this is possible, but I couldn’t figure it out. I’ve also had complaints that family were not able to zoom the record to a point where they can read the information, such as a census record. Any help would be appreciated.

  12. Ahmed E.


    I shared a Facebook picture which generated a URL to reference my picture publicly. I now realized that I don’t want to share the picture, so I proceeded to remove the picture from my tree’s media library. However, when I try to access the URL, it still works! The picture is no where to be found in the Media Library. Please explain.


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