Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday Mailbox: Browsing Ancestry Database Images

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxDear Ancestry Insider,

The database "Pennsylvania Wills and Probate Records 1683-1993," offers the subscriber a "Browse this collection" window which works perfectly for all Pennsylvania counties except for Philadelphia County. The list of available images for Philadelphia County never shows up anymore—it did when the database was first launched. Perhaps because it is such a huge amount of data, it cannot load properly. Because the list of digitized probate files for Philadelphia County can only be accessed by clicking on a link from this "Browse" function (administrations, etc), it is now not possible to access those files since there is no dropdown menu.

If you know someone at Ancestry who could correct this, I know many researchers would be grateful.

With thanks,

Sandi Hewlett

Dear Sandi,

I’ll see what I can do.

In the meantime, there is a workaround. There are two ways to access the browse capability of an Ancestry collection. One is the browse you have identified on the collection page. The other is accessed via the breadcrumb path at the top of the page, underneath the title when viewing an image. If you can find a way to see any image, then you can browse to any other image. You can get to an image via browsing one of the other counties that works, or by searching for a common name. Or do this:

1. Start at

2. Underneath the collection title at the top of the page, click on “Administration Files, 1764.”

3. Select from the available options.


---The Ancestry Insider


  1. Dear Ancestry Insider (and hi, Sandi!) - Tim Conrad has posted useful links to estate records for several counties, including Philadelphia. The Philadelphia links are at I hope that this helps! --Val Lutz, Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania

  2. And thank you for the link, Ancestry Insider!

  3. I had no idea! When I post images to Find-A-Grave, it is my intention to help others. If I did not want to share those photos, I would not post them. I find this a bit distressing. I have uploaded several images to Find-A-Grave. Although there are not many, I don't want to have to find each photo and make a note that they are shared freely to any and all who want them. So far, this has not been a problem but I do find it upsetting that Ancestry has nothing better to do than spend time removing "copyrighted" Find-A-Grave images from the pages of their members. There are other issues at Ancestry where they could better spend their time such as making my DNA pages available to me on my chosen browser, Firefox. Why do I have to use Chrome to view my results? I have shared this problem with Ancestry Support several times and still have to use two browsers to use my Ancestry subscription. Needless to say, this Copyright issue has increased my dissatisfaction. I am a paid subscriber to Ancestry and have had an account with them almost since Day 1 in the 1990s. Grrr!

  4. Here's a similar part of a database I cannot access through search or browse, even using the breadcrumb method. If you go to this database: and drill down to Ocean County, it gives you three communities to select from. If you select Barnegat or Whiteville, it displays a list of churches. If you select Little Egg Harbor, it displays nothing. If you perform an exact search for any event in Barnegat or Whiteville, it displays many results. An exact search for any event in Little Egg Harbor yields nada. And if you try the breadcrumb method, it gives you a loading symbol indefinitely. Fortunately, I don't see this often, but of course my wife has a lot of ancestors from Little Egg Harbor...


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