Posted by Sean Pate on July 11, 2011 in Website has launched a photo contest in search of the best 4th of July family photo from this year’s celebrations or years past. Participants are invited to enter the 4th of July photo contest through’s Facebook page – just click the “Contests” tab – or follow this link:

Be sure to submit your photo by midnight PDT on July 13th. Finalists will be chosen, and our Facebook fans will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite photo until July 21st. If your photo receives the most fan votes, you’ll win a FREE World Deluxe Annual Membership!

Don’t forget, if you can’t get enough of Independence Day, you can also research and discover whether or not your ancestors fought for the reason we celebrate July 4th. By searching the newly released Sons of the American Revolution Collection – you may find that one of your ancestors was a supporter of the American Revolution. In these records, you would also learn that Theodore Roosevelt was related to Jacobus (James) and proved that his ancestor acted as commissary for the New York troops. Harry S. Truman’s SAR application proves that his revolutionary ancestor, James Holmes, served as an Ensign for the Virginia State Regiment. See what else you might discover by searching the collection.

Whether your family goes back a few years or more than 200 years, taking the time to dig through your family’s history may turn up some interesting discoveries. Who knows what you’ll find? A great family photo might just win you a free year of access to great collections like the Sons of the American Revolution Applications – in addition to more than 6 billion other records!



  1. Judy Mount

    Hi Sean Pate. Even employees have ancestors. You just might be one of my “Brick Walls” 🙂 Have you any information on Jackson Pate b abt 1806 d abt 18860 in Civil War. Prisoner of War m. Mariah something, she born abt 1814. They lived in Tippah Co. after he went off to war. I don’t think he ever returned. Before Tippah they lived Tishomingo Ms. I believe. Just thought I’d be lucky. God Bless you and give you grace in finding those of your ancestors you need to find. Judy Mount PS I am related to Jackson Pate thru his daughter Mary Jane Pate

  2. Barbara

    I have a wonderful picture that I would enter except I refuse to join Facebook and that is a requirement. And a 2 day window of entry??? And only Facebook members can vote?

  3. Barbara Re: #2

    I agree- 2 days notice…. and this from the Director of Public Relations who has been with them less than 2 years??? Absurd!

    They should have given the job to Heather. She would have had this planned out and posted a month ago, giving plenty of notice.

  4. Carol A. H.

    I have lots of American Revolution soldiers as ancestors, and I’m on Ancestry almost every day, but even I can’t come up with a 4th of July photo in 2 days. And I don’t want to join Facebook if I can avoid it.

    Not good public relations!

  5. Sean Pate

    Folks, sorry about the shorter notice via the blog. We’ve only had this up on Facebook since late last week but wanted to make sure this community was invited as well. Many people have electronic photos readily available and have uploaded conveniently. We have over 170,000 people as part of our Facebook user group so its a very large population of engaged users.

  6. Sean Re: #5(Unnumbered)

    “Over 170,000″- that is less than 10% of your subscriber base. What about the other 90%?

    Did it really never occur to anyone involved in this contest that the correct procedure would have been to announce it on FaceBook AND the blog at the same time?

    Is there no one at Ancestry, with the notable exception of the Search Team, that believes in long range planning and engages the members in that planning? If there is, I’ve yet to see evidence of it and would gladly welcome any examples of such if anyone can provide them.

    What are we- stepchildren…
    ‘Oh- I guess we should also throw this up on the blog”.

    This is, to me, just one more example of the desire of Ancestry to turn the whole thing into a social network rather than the premier genealogical research site it could so easily be – if they had the guts to do it.

  7. BroMaelor

    #6. Ancestry has allowed this blatant advert for FAKE sunglasses to be displayed for four days now!
    This suggests that no-one from Ancestry actually checks postings on this blog??? Very unprofessional.

  8. I think you’ll find that it is the person who posts the original Blog article that is responsible for checking postings to their own article. I don’t think any one person oversees all postings on the Blog- unfortunately.

  9. My Viewpoint

    No. 7 and 8: From my perspective, there is usually nobody at home on these blog sites to comment on, let alone take responsibility for, topics introduced. The spammers have infiltrated the Message Boards, the RootsWeb Mailing Lists, and now the Blogs. ACOM needs to run a tighter ship and keep the pesky spammers away.

  10. BroMaelor

    So Ancestry have now deleted the offensive spam posting but haven’t removed my comment about it! My comment now seems to imply that Andy is the spammer!!!

  11. BEE

    At least “they” removed it – it’s still up on the “Announcing Your ALL-NEW Monthly Newsletter” blog.

  12. BobNY

    Sean Pate needs some lessons in truthiness.

    1. His blurb would make it appear that anyone who is willing to join Facebook can enter this contest. In reality, that is nowhere near the truth. As the Contest Rules clearly state: “The following Contest (“4th of July Family” Photo Contest) is intended for play in the United States only, and shall only be construed and evaluated according to U.S. law. Do not enter this Contest if you are not located in the U.S. at the time of entry.”

    2. He says that if your photo receives the most fan votes, you’ll win a FREE World Deluxe Annual Membership. Not so says the Official Rules; there are ACOM hand-picked judges to do that. ” Each finalist entry will be reviewed by a qualified judge or panel of judges, to be selected in Sponsor’s sole discretion, whose decisions are final and binding.”

    3. Sean seems to think that the contest ends midnight PDT on July 13th. The lawyers think the contest ends at 11:59:59 p.m. EST on July 13, 2011.

    4. I would suspect that there will be a considerable number of disqualified entries based on the fact that ACOM is requiring that the entrant be responbible “for obtaining, prior to submission, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the use and exhibition of the entry by Sponsor in the manner set forth in these Official Rules, including, without limitation, name and likeness releases for any person who appears in or is identifiable in the photo.”
    This is not a cute little photo contest run by the local PTA. Check this out and ask yourself “How many lawyers does it take to run a photo contest?”

    More than likely, this is a gimmick dreamed up by MSL in San Francisco, ACOM’s social media agency of record to increase Facebook awareness and membership.

    • Sean Pate

      Bob, thank you for your thorough commentary. We are always looking for ways to improve our contests and sweepstakes to make the experience better for our fan base. We ran this contest in accordance with the published Contest Rules and can understand your frustration over the perceived inconsistencies. In the future we will be more clear as to whether or not a person can participate in a contest or sweepstakes outside of the United States (in this case you cannot). We will also publish the Contest end times within the same time zone to avoid confusion and be even clearer as to the process of how the finalists and winners are chosen. But your comment about disqualifying a person who doesn’t have the right to post the picture is baffling. You must understand that it is the responsibility of the person entering the Contest to determine whether they have the right to publish the photo before they post the picture. Clearly, we cannot do so and cannot be held responsible for images which are posted without the proper copyright. We appreciate your detailed interest in our Contest and hope that you will participate in the future.

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