Thursday, March 23, 2017


Yesterday I asked a fellow genealogist for permission to download a form he created and tweak it for my own use. He was fine with it. There are a lot of things I ask permission for. The most common is permission to use a photograph. I have told you before that I always ask permission to download and use photos from Find a Grave.  I ask for blanket permission explaining that though I am downloading the photo for my personal file I am also a writer (blogs, newspapers, periodicals/journals) and that I might want to use the photograph sometime in the future. I assure them that full credit will be given to them as the photographer.

Not too long ago I had to ask permission to use photographs from both the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Alabama Department of Archives and History. These photos are in their online collections but that doesn’t mean you can use them without permission.  Both agencies had me fill out a pretty comprehensive form to include exactly what I would be using the photo for. I wonder how many people just download the photos without asking. After seeing these forms it is very clear that these agencies are serious about this. 

For my own protection I keep copies of the emails/snail mail letters I have received granting me permission to use something. I looked and I have permission letters dating back to 1991.


  • The Book List has been updated
  • I am not longer formatting the blog using justified alignment because the text doesn’t look good on mobile devices. I like justified text because I am a former newspaper columnist. It looks good on the internet but since many people read the blog on their phones I changed over to left justified
  • Since today’s post was about permissions, make sure you watch “Picture This: Images You Can Freely Use” by Judy G. Russell, CG. This webinar will be free to watch through 29 March 2017. After that it will archived for Legacy Family Tree Webinar subscribers only
  • National Geographic now has free printable topography maps that you can download as PDFs


  1. I use justified alignment all the time on my blog, The Otter Lake Express, and it looks very good. I also checked on my iPhone too. I would change back.