Old Family Portrait

Frequently Asked Questions

Media Files

Ancestral Quest has the ability to attach pictures andother media to the Scrapbook of the individuals in your family database. You can also add images of to the Sources and Citations, with the Citation Images available to print out on certain kinds of reports.

Note that in the free Ancestral Quest Basics, you are permitted to add one photo to each individual's Scrapbook. You would need to purchase a Registration Key for the full Ancestral Quest to be able to add unlimited photos to a Scrapbook.

Below are some questions regarding the Media capabilities of Ancestral Quest.

What are the best practices that I should follow when adding media to my Family Database in Ancestral Quest?

While you can add pictures and other media items to the Scrapbooks and Sources of individuals in your database, those media files do not actually go into the database itself.. the program merely points to where those media files are stored at the time that you add them. This works fine.. until you move or rename the media file or the folder in which it resides--once you do that, the media item will not be found or shown by the program. But even without changing the name of the file or folders, you can experience issues if you share your file with someone else that does not have the media items, or if you change to a different computer with a different folder structure.

The best practice to use when working with media items in Ancestral Quest is to utilize what is known as a 'relative path' for your media items (such as Scrapbook\John Doe.jpg) rather than an absolute path (like C:\Users\John\Documents\Scrapbook\John Doe.jpg) [On Macintosh computers, the drive letter is the way AQ refers to the drive containing the path; it is a pseudo path].

In brief, the way this works is to create a folder in the same location as your database file (maybe call it Scrapbook), then you copy the media files for AQ into that folder (or any structure of sub-folders within that Scrapbook folder). Then, when you link to those media items in that location, AQ should create a relative path to those media items within AQ. As long as those image files remain in that Scrapbook folder (without changes to any names of those files or folders), the linked media items should always be available within AQ.

Below are the detailed steps you need to properly set this up.

  1. Start up Ancestral Quest, and up on the menu bar, click Help then go down and click on About Ancestral Quest.
  2. Just about in the center of the window that appears, within the Database Information section, find where it lists the Location. Write this path and filename down so you can locate that folder on your computer. If, by chance, you do not see the entire path, click the Additional Stats button, and in the top portion of that window that opens, you should see the Location with a little more room to read the entire path.
  3. Click OK as needed to close those windows.
  4. Use [My] Documents or [My] Computer or Windows/File Explorer on Windows systems, or the Finder on Mac systems, to navigate to and locate the database file that you wrote down in step 2.
  5. Once you spot the database file, go ahead and create a New Folder in this location. You can name the folder whatever you like: Scrapbook or Media or Pictures or whatever makes sense to you.
    Inside the new folder you just made, you can create any subfolder structure that you desire. You may wish to:
    • organize media items by category, like Photos, Documentation, Gravemarkers; or
    • set up folders for individual records by making a folder for each Surname in your database, then within each surname folder, make folders for individuals by using the Firstname and birthdate.
    The subfolder structure can be anything that makes the most sense to you, or don't even use subfolders--it is not required.
    The key thing here, though, is that once you decide on what to do, stick to it and do not change it once you start to add media to your AQ database.
  6. Now, you can copy your pictures (and any other media or documentation files that you wish to use in AQ) into this folder/subfolder structure, as you deem appropriate.
  7. Go into Ancestral Quest and now attach media items to the individual Scrapbooks and Sources/Citations as desired. When you access the media items that you have copied to the folder in the same place as the database, AQ should should automatically establish those links using relative paths (the Location should not begin with a drive letter [c:\], but should begin with the name of the folder that you had created in step 5).
  8. Continue to use this procedure to copy new media items to the folder/subfolder you created, then attach the media items in AQ, and it should employ relative paths automatically.

Now, as long as those various media files remain in that folder structure that you had created, the images in AQ should always be available. Note that if you rename or move or delete the media files or the folders in which they reside, you will lose the links in Ancestral Quest. But as long as they do not change, you should never see any images disappear from AQ.

The added benefit of this relative path structure, is that now, as long as you keep the database file and the folder that you had created together, you can copy or move the database and media folder to any drive or device or computer, and when you open up that database, the media items will be shown.

I have moved to a new computer and my Ancestral Quest is not showing the images. I have the pictures on this computer, so how do I tell AQ the new location for my images?

Ancestral Quest has some built-in tools that will help you to fix broken scrapbook links. One of the tools available in the full paid-for version is the Move Scrapbook Items tool.

Up on the menu bar, select Tools, then Move Scrapbook items.

This tool does not actually move your media files, but it allows you to modify the paths that Ancestral Quest has recorded for the media items.

Move Scrapbook Items screenshot

Click on the desired entry within the Current Media Paths in Database that you wish to modify. An example would be the c:\users\psjms\pictures\ path in the above screen shot.

Now you can click the Browse button to go locate the folder where those images from that folder are now stored. Click the desired location then click the OK button.

Move Scrapbook Items Change To screenshot

Back in the Move Scrapbook Items screen, that new path will appear in the Change To box. [As an alternative, you can type the new path directly into that box, just be sure you use the correct spelling.]

Next, you will either click the Update Path button, or the Update Path and all Subdirectories button, depending on your situation.

  • If there are no subfolders in the new folder or if you do not want to move the paths stored for any subfolders, just click the Update Path button.
  • If there are subfolders involved and they have all been moved en masse to the new location, you will want to click on the Update Path and all Subdirectories button to make this process a lot faster.

In the second example screen shot, above, you see that there are two paths that are similar -- we have c:\users\psjms\pictures\ as well as c:\users\psjms\pictures\family. Note that the family folder is a subfolder of pictures. So, if I do wish to update both of those paths with the new path, I would click the Update Path and all Subdirectories button. That will take care of both paths at once.

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