If you have a public tree on Ancestry, other members can view the details of deceased people in it.
When you are trying to grow your tree, it could be very useful to know which Ancestry members were interested in looking at the contents.
Ancestry does not show you who viewed your family tree on the website.
However, the platform shows you a list of users who have saved specific photos and documents from your tree. That won’t be everybody who looked at your tree, but it shows a portion of them.
This article shows you how to get that information.
How To See Who Viewed And Saved Details In Your Ancestry Tree
If another member used Ancestry’s “save” feature, then you will be able to see who they are.
If you’re not familiar with this feature, I describe it in detail in a later section. Here, I’ll show you how to find out who saved photos and other documents from your tree.
Open the Media Gallery of your tree and pick one of the documents.
Alternatively, click on any photo or document from a tree entry that you uploaded to a specific person.
The pane on the right side of the screen shows some summary details. This includes a list of Ancestry members who saved the item.
The picture below shows the right pane for a photo of a grave that I uploaded to my tree.
The display tells me that I uploaded the photo in 2017.
More importantly for our purposes, the display tells me that seven Ancestry members have saved the photo to their trees.
The circles are the account profile pictures of the Ancestry members.
When you click on a picture, you are shown the full display name of the user. You also get a link to:
- their account profile page
- the tree that the photo was saved to
When I clicked on one of the pictures in my example, this was the display:
Looking at the account profile details
You can see how useful this information is. The display shows that Jennifer joined some years ago and has logged into Ancestry recently.
That’s a good sign that the member is actively researching their family tree and may be open to receiving messages.
For some extra help, check out our article on how to increase the chance of getting responses from your Ancestry messages.
Looking at the tree details
Although you can follow the link to the family tree, the tree itself may be private.
Of course, you won’t be able to view a private tree.
However, Ancestry members with a private tree are probably more likely to exchange information when they already owe you a favor!
Be sure to refer (politely) to the item they saved. You can then ask if you two can help each other further. A polite request to view their tree may be successful.
Why You Won’t See Everyone Who Saves Documents
I haven’t seen specific documentation about this on the Ancestry website, but there seems to be a limit to the number of profiles that they list for each document.
Here’s an example from my tree:
Notice how the list is headed as “(10 of 11)”. I assume that Ancestry restricts the number of members it will show to ten.
People can save items without attribution
Unfortunately, some people aren’t aware of Ancestry’s “save” feature that keeps attribution i.e. it keeps details of the original source.
I’ll admit that I didn’t learn about it until I’d been using Ancestry for a few months.
If people don’t know how to use it, then they may copy items from your tree in a different way.
Web browsers let us right-click photos and documents and save to our devices. From there, we can upload the media to our tree.
The problem is that Ancestry can’t track those actions. So, the attribution is lost.
When people save your items that way, you won’t see that it happened at all.
Using Media As “Bait” For Collaboration
Do you have a tree on Ancestry.com but you never upload media to the website?
You may be missing out on learning about other members who have the same research interests as you.
If you’re keen to collaborate to uncover relationships and widen your tree, uploading interesting media is a good start.
Some people aren’t keen on uploading family photos of people. Consider gathering and uploading photos of headstones. In my experience, these are also very popular with other members.
Other Ways To See Who Is Interested In Your Family Research
We have a separate article on whether Ancestry shows who views your account profile.
I’ll say here that there isn’t a similar list of avatars as with photos and documents that we showed here.
However, the article has a lot of useful tips on checking whether people are using other platforms (e.g. Facebook) to look you up.
How Users Save From Your Tree In A Way That You Can Track
When other members use Ancestry’s “save” feature to save photos and documents from your tree, the website keeps track of the original owner i.e. you.
This feature is available when they click on a photograph or other document in your tree.
They are given a link to “Save to my tree” which opens a dialog box as shown in this picture:
The user can now choose one of their own trees.
The interface gives them a search box to find the person in their tree to which they want to add the photo.
The photo will enter the media gallery of their tree and will be associated with the person they specified.
Ancestry adds the attribution details. In other words, Details and links to the original tree owner and the specific tree are kept with the image.