Posted by lorilee on April 26, 2013 in MyCanvas

Have you ever wondered what to do with all of your family history research?  What is the next step?  How can you put it all together so you can easily share it with your family members?

At the RootsTech genealogy conference in Salt Lake City a few weeks ago, I spent my time in the booth talking with many of our customers face to face.  I helped people with genealogy research challenges, answered questions about Family Tree Maker, and, most importantly, shared information about MyCanvas.

I was amazed at how many of our long time customers have never heard of MyCanvas.  Many of them said this was exactly what they were looking for and were so excited to hear that this program was available to them.  The response was overwhelming!

Due to that great experience, I realized there might be more of you unaware of MyCanvas and the tools available for you to publish and share your family history.  Allow me to share.

Family Tree Publishing

MyCanvas provides a way for you to create beautiful family history books and family tree posters to share with your family.  Using the information from your online tree on, a simple book or poster is created that you can then customize any way you choose.

To access MyCanvas, click the Publish button on

MyCanvas Publishing

Creating books and posters is free, so you can use it even if you don’t have a current subscription.  Start a project by importing information, documents and pictures from your online tree.  You can then add more generations, stories, or pictures.  There are also thousands of backgrounds and embellishments available to enhance your family story and make it truly your own.

Can’t finish your project right away?  Want to do just a little more research before printing?  No problem.  Any projects you start remain in your account until you choose to delete them.

I hope you will take a little time this weekend to try out MyCanvas.  And, if you have any questions along the way, just leave a comment for me here.

Need some help getting started on your family history book?  Check out this article or watch this video.


  1. Monika

    Yeah, but I called your 800 number about a year ago for guidance. I explained to him that I was trying to write a book about a certain branch of my husband’s tree. Whoever was on the line “helped” me by downloading all the Census and vital records from that one specific tree onto my Canvass (I never intended to have every record of these people in that book) and said “now when you are ready press that button and it will tell you the cost”! At that point I had not added one word to the book, but just for the fun of it I pressed the button and it said “$275, please”! Trust me, that was not going to happen! But I went to a local Kinko and they said “just put it all on a disc and bring it to us and we can put it in a book form.” That works much better and is cheaper!

  2. Why Bother?

    This blog is now one long series of adverts for Ancestry products and services occasionally punctuated by the musings of a guest blogger.

    If the blog is still supposed to have us “notice just how passionate we are about family history,” it is a dismal failure. It’s all about the Benjamins and what more can I sell to a gullible marketplace.

  3. patty giller

    I discovered the ‘publish’ feature totally by accident, so I think it’s a good thing you’re enlightening people via this blog.

    I have five brothers and sisters, and coming up with a creative (and inexpensive!) Christmas present annually is a real challenge! This year they each got an 18×24 family tree poster I designed using MyCanvas. (Wish I could include an image so you could see how cool it turned out!)

    The process was painless — I chose my poster option, the starting person, and it magically filled in the blanks, including pictures. I was able to go back five generations on both sides and, of course, added my own facts and figures and embellishments and fonts.

    It was received with rave reviews and, even got a reaction from the brother we never hear from! (BTW, each one was under $25, including shipping!)

  4. Rebekah Mendoza

    I’ve done several books through MyCanvas as well as a couple of posters. All were beautifully printed on quality stock. I first tried out a basic picture book so that I could see the quality of binding before I did a more elaborate book on my mother’s family. Then I did a book on my husband’s family. They were very well received by family members. It can be a $30 book or a $350 book depending on the number of pages, size and type of cover. It doesn’t cost a thing to try it out and you can print out the pages on your own printer for free if you don’t want a finished book. Win – win.

  5. Tom Webb

    Are there any plans to have My Canvas available to Canadian subscribers? I have a world subscription and spoke with an Ancestry rep who informed me they were looking into it.
    That was 2 years ago…..anything happening?

  6. Rick Womack

    I recently used the MyCanvas site to create a poster for my dad’s 80th birthday as a surprise for him. I was surprised as well – the cost was very reasonable – it was easy to work on over a period of weeks from different computers – the import of data was seamless and the customization options were impressive.

    I was very pleased with the poster and probably will do a book next – thanks for the mention – I think it is an under-appreciated feature.

    Does one have to have a paid membership to use it?

  7. Diane

    Hello, I have used MyCanvas to create photo books and been very pleased (and the cost was roughly the same as comparable photo book services I’ve used).

    Here’s my question: I would like to use MyCanvas to create a family tree poster showing all relatives in my tree (basically, what I see in the family view of my Ancestry tree), but I haven’t found this option. Is it available?

    Thank you!

  8. Camille Atwood

    Thanks for this info. Am a recently ‘returned’ member..was previously using an much older version of FTM. With my return, I have updated everythng. Found this tutorial very interesting.

    I think I can share with you why folks may not be using it… the costs which pop right up on the presenting page!!

    If, as I think it is true from various vidios, blogs etc, that ‘My canvas’, is the way for a user to print trees and prepare various family books from the site, then there should be a rewriting of the primary page. Your wanting of money is the first thing I saw the initial time I opened it. I was not, at the moment, interesting in purchasing anything, I just wanted to be able to print [for my use] working copies of my tree sections in ancestry. I did not continue, as there was a charge clearly implied for the use of ‘My Canvas’ and I was not happy!!.

    Previously, an I think it is still true, FTM allowed tree printing, as well as book printing …no charge..just my printer and my paper. The way the ‘My Canvas’ presents itself to the user is that there is a charge to do any tree or book printng. The presenting page with these charges listed is a ‘turn off’ . Please consider rewriting the presenting page with info as to how to use ‘My canvas’ just for personal printing fo trees etc and then a second section of how to use it for obtaining beautiful final copies one might distribute…

    Well, this is probably more comment than you wished….but you asked…if it was not you, was it Christa????

    Thank you for the vidios and the ‘blog’ presentations…great learning tools,


  9. BEE

    I was excited to learn about this feature, and “created” a book from a couple of my trees.
    I thought it would be nice to send to an elderly person for him to view the tree I created for his family, so I sent one of the “books” to myself so that I could review the process to walk him through it.
    All my trees are private, but when I clicked on “info”, besides a price list for someone to order a book, it also reveals the other “books” I created, which means those trees would no longer be “private”.
    So while “share” is a nice feature – unless I’m missing something, I don’t see how I can use it.

  10. lorilee

    # 1 – Monika – When you create your family history book, you may choose what types of pages you want to include. If a page is added that you don’t want, you can easily delete the page. You may also edit the information on the page.

    #5 – Tom – Unfortunately we are not able to offer this to Canadian customers. However, if you go to, you can use the service, and then Share your product with someone outside of Canada. They can place the order for you, and then ship it to you.

    #6 – Rick – You do not have to have a paid membership to use MyCanvas.

    #7 – Diane – We don’t have a family tree poster that looks exactly like the Family view of your tree on However, the Family Tree Maker software program has one that is similar. It is called the Extended Family Chart. Once you create this chart, you can save it as a One Page PDF file and have it printed locally.

    #9 – Bee – This is something we are looking into.

  11. BEE

    Hi Lorilee, that’s good to know, and I certainly look forward to having that problem solved, but I hope it doesn’t take as long as other “issues” I’ve had, one in particular that has gone on for well over a year!

  12. Michel

    I did print a couple of books over the years. They all turn out beautifuly. I am canadian and the first book was shipped to Canada no problem but after, for whatever reason that was stopped. I have send the next one to a US address. It is a inconvinience. When every other printer around the world will gladly take our money. It is pricey but so is anything of quality.

  13. Barbara

    Lorilee, I have just this week clicked on “Submit” for my first book. Whew, that was a labor of love. I wonder if you know of a US map with pushpins online? I think it would be a great way to color code where the descendants fanned out over the last several (or more) generations. I thought about creating one, but wanted to get the book out to some family by Mother’s Day. It would be nice if MyCanvas had it as an option and pull from the records to populate the map. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished book(s). Thanks for helping preserve important family research, and even maybe more importantly, making it accessible to others who might not want to pore over the data themselves.

  14. lorilee

    #13 – Barbara – I know of a person that purchased a digital file of a map of Italy for the reason you mentioned. They want to map out where their ancestors came. Once she had the file, she imported it into MyCanvas and selected the Collage poster option, with just one image. Then she put the map on the poster, made a few edits, and ordered it. This might be an option for you as well.

  15. I would like to keep a “complete” copy of our family tree on or Family Tree Maker to a CD to leave to descendants and to easily add/change information without having to print pages with corrections.

    As it is now, everyone in the family is forced to purchase Family Maker to see the present family tree which, of course, doesn’t help coming generations. And having a book is not necessarily the answer in this virtual environment. Offering storage in a “cloud” version without constant membership renewal would be the way to go.

  16. lorilee

    #15 – Anna – You can invite your family members to view your tree if you have it on They don’t have to pay a membership to view your tree if you send them an invitation to view your tree. They do need to register, and set up a free Registered Guest account, but they will not be charged for this. This article will show you how to invite someone to view your tree.

  17. Diane

    I created separate trees for each of my grandparents’ ancestries so my Dad’s ancestry is separated onto two different trees. Is it possible to create a poster of his family tree which includes both sides of his family without merging the trees on Ancestry?

  18. lorilee

    #17 – Diane – When you create a project, the program must pull all the information from a single tree. If you are making a book, once it is started, you can add pages that will pull information from other trees. However,each page can only access the information from a single tree. A poster is like the individual pages in the book, and can only access the information from a single tree. Therefore, you will need to have the people you want on the poster in the same tree.

  19. lorilee

    # 9 – Bee – I have been looking into your concern. When you share the book with yourself, you are probably also signed into your account. This is what is giving you access to your other projects. However, when you share the project with another person, they won’t be signed into your account. So, when they click on Info, they will get the Pricing and Shipping details page, but when they close that, they will not see your other projects. I hope this helps ease your concern about this.

  20. BEE

    Lorilee, thank you for your reply. I appreciate it. I suppose I should have thought of that myself, but I’m happy to have that information.

  21. Judy Barnette

    I am trying to edit my work before I order a book. I had been using Mozilla Firefox but it has crashed with a blue screen. When I try to edit my work with Internet Explorer with no luck. Can you help me?
    Judy Barnette

  22. lorilee

    Judy – I am sorry you are having problems editing your book. That is not something that we have reported very often. Please call our support line so the MyCanvas agents can get more details about what operating system you are using, and what version of these browsers. This will help them find out what is happening and get you moving again on this project. You can reach them at 1-800-507-4612, M-F, from 10 am – 6 pm ET.

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