importing/transferring/sharing historical records between services? #general

Lee Jaffe

I was wondering if anyone knew of a way to upload historical records found in one source into another?  For instance, if I find marriage record via or a manifest at Ellis Island, is there a smooth way to bring that over to MyHeritage or Ancestry and attach it to someone's record?   Or documents from Ancestry to MyHeritage, and vice versa?  Currently, I'm downloading the image of the record (or taking screenshots) at the source, then hand entering the event into my tree and uploading the image.  It's cumbersome and tedious, especially for records that touch on multiple individuals. 

t's my experience that you can't always locate a historical record within one service that you've found via another, so you are stuck with gaps in your tree history.  Recently, I was exchanging notes with a cousin and I found a manifest record for some of our family via MyHeritage. But her tree is in Ancestry.  When I tried to reproduce the results in my Ancestry account I wasn't able to pull up the same record, even knowing the ship, date and place.  I had found it, I could have shared it with her and let her add the record to her tree seamlessly.  The best I could do was make a screenshot including the relevant information and email it to her.  

Similarly, I saw that my cousin had a 1920 census record attached to her tree in Ancestry but couldn't recall the same document in MyHeritage and therefore couldn't attach it to my tree there.  

In yet another case, I've managed to find the same NYC Marriage Record entry for my great-grandparents via FamilySearch, Ancestry and MyHeritage. However, only FamilySearch includes the parents' names.   I'd much rather attach the FamilySearch version of the record to my tree instead of taking a screenshot of the record and having to hand enter the information for 4 additional people.

As I reread this, I think this question is more about the inconsistencies between the services and what they show us.  But a workaround that lets us add historical records more easily wherever we find them would go a long way to paving over the gaps.  If someone knows of a tool or a workaround, I'd like to hear about it and I think it would benefit others.

Lee Jaffe
Jaffe / Memphis
Weinblatt / Perth Amboy and Brooklyn
Koshkin/Kashkins / Snovsk and Romny, Ukraine


You write a private book and distribute it to close family members. I really don't want some third cousin sticking documents to do with my grandparents and great-grandparents online, often mangled, uncorrectable, sometimes stolen and without consent or respect.

Dr Aubrey Blumsohn  

Sheffield, UK

Martyn Woolf

  • Dr. Blumsohn's comment is absolutely right. I have found that those making unauthorised changes are generally those with trees of around 100,000 names and asked about sources have no idea what is meant. They are normally proud that they have achieved such a number after only a few months "research".
  • The trees I intend to give to my family, I hold privately, with no access to other people.
Martyn Woolf

London, UK

Mike Coleman

The moral is - stay clear of rivet-counters!

My tree is on my PC, backed up, with nothing online.
To my mind, the advantages of this far outweigh the disadvantages.

Mike Coleman, London U.K.



Chana Bonn

I think it is very dangerous when different folks are able to add/change/remove information from someone else's tree.  A couple of years ago I found some really awful errors on my family's tree that were apparently submitted/changed by someone I never heard of who is apparently an umpteenth cousin by marriage and whose knowledge is probably 4th hand at best. 

Chana Bonn
Peresmyk, Appelbaum ,Feinglass - Pruzhany,Belarus
Kaplan, Gelburd, Kopman - Radiviliv, Ukraine (Radziwillow, Wolhynia)

Laurie Sosna

Since each of the services (Ancestry, FamilySearch and MyHeritage) are separate entities, some for profit, some not, the issue is that they do not work and play well with each other.
Also, they have overlapping records (manifests, census, marriage, birth death indexes), use different sources of the same material (marriage indexes that may or may not list parent's names). Some records are transcribed, some are not.
I found most of my family's manifests through Steve Morse because the search is much more flexible and refined.
An additional issue is caused by affiliate sites (FamilySearch & BillionGraves, Ancestry & Find-a-Grave) which have their own content, acquired independently from each other.
And there are sites that require additional membership (, Fold3) that are integrated into the Ancestry results.

There is no easy way to manage integration if you have trees on multiple sites, or work with family members if they have separate trees.
On Ancestry, there is an option to add a web link for sources that are online but outside of Ancestry.
The downside is that they don't link to an event in the Facts list or appear in the Gallery or Life Story.
You can add a new event, which will appear in the Facts list and Life Story and add the link in the description but it isn't clickable.
I don't know if FamilySearch or MyHeritage trees have that option, I suspect they have something similar.

Laurie Sosna
San Francisco, CA

Eva Lawrence

Firstly, you really need to discriminate between historical sources and indexed information.  Secondly,  what appear to be historical records have sometimes been rewritten in the archive where they are now found, and photos of say, a gravestone, could be of a later redesign. So the source and date of acquisition of your record is just as important as the information it contains, and transferring from one place to another without further input is really dangerous, quite apart from any privacy or copyright issues.  I've taken and filed screenshots for a long time, as the only safe way of avoiding typos in entering dates etc.    Even here I regret that I used to  edit out the date and other context which  might have made it possible to retrieve details I missed earlier, such as a second page. 
Eva Lawrence
St Albans, UK.


Just as an example - On Ancestry I had an occasion where someone put on their tree that a relative of mine was theirs, it was in the wrong order and so it changed my relatives relations to me on thrulines. This proves to be frustrating at times,.so I don't think it's a good idea. You can make your own tree work in different ways and they is a way on ancestry that you can write private notes for your own research purposes, if this helps.

Mandy Molava 
Researching Russia Brest Belarus and Galacia. 

Judith Singer

On Wed, Jan 13, 2021 at 04:18 AM, Lee Jaffe wrote:
I was wondering if anyone knew of a way to upload historical records found in one source into another? 

Dear Lee - I use for my on-line tree so I don't know what can be done with a tree. On Ancestry, however, you can (1) take a screen shot of the historical record from another source and include it in the gallery (though to avoid breaking copyright laws, that should probably be done only if the tree is private, not open to the general public) or (2) add a link to the historical document in the space provided for links in the Ancestry profiles. 

The inconsistencies are beyond our power to remedy, I fear.

Good luck - Judith Singer
CHARNEY - Lithuania

Sarah L Meyer

I keep my genealogy on my computer (and yes I do have trees on Ancestry (public but not shared), MH private and my own website (see below).  You can almost always download the document to your computer and if it is not readily available that way, right click and use "save image as".
Sarah L Meyer
Georgetown TX
BIRGARDOVSKY, EDELBERG, HITE (CHAIT), PERCHIK Russia (southern Ukraine) and some Latvia or Lithuania

Lee Jaffe

The best answer to my question came privately and I wanted to share the gist of it as part of this thread.  The suggestion was to use the citation feature of whatever system you are using to document (and when possible) link to the source of any "external" record you want to append to a member of your tree.  In other words, I find a manifest in FamilySearch and am unable to retrieve the record through the site where I maintain my family tree.  I use FamilySearch's download option to capture a copy of the manifest record to my computer, then upload it as a photo to my tree.  I would then need to create a new "event" (in MyHeritage terms) for each family member on the manifest, including all the details, attach the photo to the new event, and add a citation to the FamilySearch location – including the URL – that would allow me to retrace my steps. 

It's a cumbersome process, especially compared to the relative ease of adding a record discovered through the service where you keep your tree.  As most of your know, when you choose to link a record to someone in your tree, the system automatically (but not infallibly) fills in the information for you and creates a citation to the document/record.   I was hoping for a bit of magic that might relieve me of a few of the extra steps needed when the document/record is discovered elsewhere.  But I appreciate the pointer to the "citation" feature as a critical piece of building a reliable tree and documenting your sources.

As to the copyright issue raised, I admit I hadn't considered that in my question or in my practice.  There is a difference between linking a document to my tree within a site and essentially republishing an image you copied from somewhere else.   I guess I'd assumed that public records such as manifest, draft registration and census images managed by the National Archives or other US agencies were in the public domain regardless of where you find them.  There are other sources – Google Maps and FindAGrave, come readily to mind – where the content is clearly covered by copyright.  I'll leave it to others who have studied these issues to sort out where the scrimmage line is.  But please do it in another thread.

Lee Jaffe