Uploading Content to FamilySearch.org: What Happens to It?

When you upload a photo, document, story, audio file, or ancestor information to FamilySearch.org, you agree to FamilySearch’s Content Submission Agreement. You also agree that you have the appropriate copyright and/or permission to submit a photo, document, or audio recording.

Any photos, documents, or audio you upload or stories you add are made publicly viewable by anyone online. FamilySearch does allow you to remove photos or documents you’ve contributed, but others could have already copied and posted your photos in their trees or for their own use, and FamilySearch is not obligated to remove links or references to your deleted content.

In addition, by submitting content to the website you grant FamilySearch

“an unrestricted, fully paid-up, royalty-free, worldwide, and perpetual license to use any and all information, content, and other materials … for any and all purposes in any and all manners, and in any and all forms of media that we, in our sole discretion, deem appropriate for the furtherance of our mission to promote family history and genealogical research.”

FamilySearch agreement

Example of content agreement when uploading photos to FamilySearch.org

Essentially, you are giving FamilySearch the materials to use in any way it wants, without limitation. That means the photos, stories, documents, and other information you provide could become part of an advertisement or brochure, or part of product that FamilySearch may sell at a later date, or it may remain linked to on the site forever.

Read the full Content Submission Agreement before you submit information or other materials. And heed the advice in the agreement, which says, “Do not submit any content which you do not want to be accessed or used by others.”

(Excerpted from Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org, on sale now at Amazon.com and ShopFamilyTree.com.)


Dana McCullough is a freelance writer and editor who frequently writes, edits, copy-edits, and proofreads content for magazines, blogs, websites, books, and more. She is the owner of Dana’s Creative Services and author of the Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org. Twitter:@DanasCreative

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