Web Tags - Use link to File or Document

In the recent webinar on editing people, a question was asked about using a link to a file or document as a Web Tag.
I find that if I viewed the document in Windows Explorer, and chose Copy Path, then pasted that full path as the “web address” of a new Web Tag, I could then click on that Web Tag and it would open the document specified in the path.


Can we re-use a web tag?

I added a webtag link to my ancestry.co.uk tree to a relative. I would like to use the same webtag for another relative but cannot find an option for that except for creating a new webtag with the same website link.

@Marshtown Hello Sally. Your second option seems to be the way to go since the first webtag is probably pointing to the first person and you will want the second tag to point to the second person.

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Actually I hadn’t thought of that - a web tag pointing to a certain person in my ancestry tree. I was just directing to the tree generally which I think would open on the pedigree for me. But that is better. Thank you.

So web tags are one off website links then. Not like citations that you can list and can share.

And documents like a pdf of an obituary or biography could be linked to on any cloud rather than putting them in media where a pdf files is not readable. Only a picture file.

Have I got that all correct?

Why would you want to do that? A weblink will show the file if it is online, but to do so it has to launch a browser. If the PDF file is local and you open it, it has to launch whatever PDF software is default. You really gain nothing. In neither instance to you directly see the file in RM.

Do links like this to pages in Ancestry always stay the same? If Ancestry decides, in its wisdom, to alter its path structure would all such webtags have to be updated? I’m sure we can trust Ancestry never to do such a thing :wink:

@Marshtown Have you tried clicking the mouse on the “picture” of the PDF file? For me that opens the file in my usual PDF editor. Works too for other documents by opening them in their respective editors.

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How does one get the web tags to print with individual summary, family group sheets, etc. in RM7.7.0.0?

Most of my media files are PDFs and they open in Preview the mac default image handler. Links to documents in the cloud are nice but break frequently as things move around or are deleted. You are much better off downloading such files along with their source citation information. Trust yourself more than some 3rd party like Ancestry who in 2015 dumped all their FTM customers with no warning.

You cannot currently include WebTags in reports other than the very specific WebTags List report.

Could somebody please explain to me what is the point of webtags. URLs are notoriously transient. Most major providers have a revamp of their server structure from time to time. Ancestry have been known to lose the rights to certain databases to their opposition. If you want a document why not just download it and save it as a jpg or pdf or whatever you prefer. RootsMagic may be magic but it is not going to miraculously update all your webtags if the website moves or its file structure is updated. I don’t have any webtags - am I missing something?

I’m not sure I have a must-do answer. I think they are in the nice-to-have category at worst as a convenience to revisit a site relating to a person or whatever. Yes, the URLs can be transient but I just checked a couple of old ones from Ancestry: one worked correctly, one was not found. By old, I mean several years. So they will expire and it would be also nice to have a utility that could test and report on inaccessible ones - I have a WordPress Plugin on sqlitetoolsforrootsmagic.com that explores all the URLs on its pages and puts strikeout characters through those that are broken and provides tools for Admin to review and fix.

A reason for a WebTag for a source is that the URL may be excessively long to include in the footnote. As long as the footnote contains the key information with which someone can search for and find the corresponding source, that should be sufficient. But the Preparer can still get at the URL to go directly to the source if it is stored in the citation’s WebTags. Before WebTags, one might store the URL in the Citation Comments, possibly within privacy tags, but there is no database structure with which to collect them and certainly not with labels and descriptions.

Why go back to the online source if the image is downloaded? One thought is that the online source page may provide additional services or information that could be useful. For example, the Ancestry image of a source also reports what people you have saved it to across all your Ancestry Trees.

Without TreeShare, you could still have WebTags for a person to the matching people in your Ancestry Tree, FindMyPast tree, your own published tree, et al. That could be a way to collect hints and decide whether to update that person in one of the trees.

WebTags for Places can be bookmarks to their histories, maps et al which inform your choice of geo-coordinates, place name, standardised name, Notes and possibly text that you might add about a location to a fact or source. That’s about the closest we have to a source for a place.

I started downloading documents, storing them on dropbox and then created a weblink to the dropbox version and put that in the weblink. I’m less likely to move the document. Also if I end up cancelling the Ancestry subscription, I can still see the document.

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Web tags are only a short term convenience. Just download the document, transcript and source citation at the time you find it. Then you can mine it later on your computer. Websites, Ancestry and Dropbox are not places to depend on for later access.

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Still don’t see a use for them. I don’t have an Ancestry tree and actually Ancestry is just one of many hundred sources of information for me. I transcribe all the information available on any site so the “additional information” scenario does not apply. Your “several years old” 404 goes some way to proving my point as does the suggestion that we need a utility that could test and report on inaccessible ones. If such a utility is required then I wouldn’t bother in the first place!

If you have no use for them that is fine. If you are going to be very strict in your interpretation of how citations must be done then that makes sense.

I find they are invaluable in day to day research. Even though I always download a copy of the original source document, I don’t generally download copies of all the documents found around it. I like that I can click on the URL and suddenly I am at the page of the original document. For Canadian census records this is very helpful. Often in rural areas siblings did not stray far from the place they grew up and can often be found living one or 2 houses down the road. I am regularly able to find leads to other family members simply by looking at the other pages nearby in the census records. I use these weblinks to quickly jump to the website then move forward or backward through the neighbouring census pages to see if I can identify other family members. Having the weblink greatly facilitates that activity. This does not only apply to Ancestry records, but also to government archive records or any other online source.

Yes URLs are more subject to change without notice than paper records, but I find using a little imagination in how I use them makes them another very useful tool to have in the toolbox.


That sucks!
I would really like to see the web tags attached to individuals show up in the individual narrative report.