Free Images to Enhance your Genealogy

We have all heard the old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words".  It is certainly true that a single image can convey a lot of information.  Presented in its proper context, a picture can add significant value to a written narrative.

Wouldn't it be wonderful for genealogists to be able to add free images to their family narratives?  Maybe you could add a historical image of the same plane your grandpa flew in World War 2 or find a picture of the town where your ancestors lived.

Thanks to the internet, free images are just a few clicks away.  You just have to know what you are looking for and search the right websites.  You don’t even have to worry about copyright concerns as long as you limit your downloads to Creative Commons images.

Creative Commons Zero (CC0) Policy

Creative Commons Zero or CC0 offers a way to for artists and other creative types to release their work into the public domain. By declaring their work product under the Creative Commons Zero policy, the creator is legally waiving their rights to it and any copyright protections provided under the law.

For genealogists, this means that any photograph you find under CC0, you are free images to use as you wish completely bypassing all copyright issues altogether.  You just need to know where to look for these CC0 freebies; listed below are five of the bigger CC0 websites that you can look for pictures to integrate into your genealogy work.

Keep in mind that some of these sites present a mixture of images for sale and CC0 images.  This is how some websites structure their revenue model.  You just need to make sure the images you download are under the Creative Commons license.  Happy hunting…

Free Images Resources





Split Shire

I can’t promise that you will find the exact image you are seeking.  I am certain that you will not find anything unless you look.  The collections are often just a random hodge-podge of wildly differing subjects, but beggars can’t be choosers. 

When you are looking for free images, the search is half the fun and there is some really eclectic stuff out there to find.  Like most things in life, you will have to put in some effort to dig out the good stuff.

Read related articles: Sharing Your Family Story


Genealogy Quick Start Guide for Beginners

Applying the Genealogy Proof Standard to your Research

5 Genealogy Mistakes to Avoid

Google Genealogy Research Toolbox

Find Records

Requesting Vital Records

Researching Ancestors through Military Records

Using the National Archives (NARA) for Genealogy Research

Using U.S. Census Records

Finding Homestead Records

Canadian Genealogy Research using the Internet

Researching British Genealogy


Genealogy Source Citations Made Easy

Finding Family History Books

Listening to Genealogy Podcasts Made Easy

Using Cyndi’s List for Genealogy Research

Researching Ancestors Using Obituaries