Collection Information

Technological advances have enabled us to retrieve images with digital cameras and scanners and to easily add them to our family trees. Millions of photographs have been added to Ancestry family trees by users who have indicated that their tree can be viewed by Ancestry members. In the "Public Member Photos and Scanned Documents" section at Ancestry, you can find photographs of individuals, families, homes, cemetery tombstones, and more. Additionally, millions of contributors have shared documents such as naturalization papers, marriage certificates, drawings, maps and other documents that may not be found elsewhere.

Other exciting collections in this category include school yearbooks, images of passenger ships, selected U.S. headstones, African American Photos, U.S. Civil War Photos, images of Professional Baseball Players, historical post cards from several countries and the ever popular Library of Congress Photo Collection, 1840-2000.

To borrow the oft-used cliché, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Photographic images capture the essence of people, places, and things and are among the most desirable of family history treasures.

Photographs that were taken ten minutes ago, photographs taken a century ago, or even pictures of portraits that were painted of our ancestors before the introduction of photography are all within reach through online collections.

Sample Images

Search Tips

  • Search for the names of your ancestors and add a location. There may be a photograph of him or her attached to an online tree. You will be able to see photographs on Public Trees immediately. If you find an ancestor on a Private Tree, you can contact the tree owner through Ancestry messaging and request permission to view it.
  • Try entering a place or event in the keyword field to locate other types of images relevant to your family history.
  • If your ancestor served in the military, enter his military unit in the keyword field to see if there are any images available. This category has a large collection of Civil War photographs in particular.
  • Search this collection for the ship on which your ancestor sailed to America.