Help and Support

Hello and Welcome to Collectionaire!

(You may also want to view the Introductory Videos in the first Help category.)

Collectionaire is a new way to organize your most cherished family photos, videos and keepsake memories so that these "best of" treasured items are never lost and always accessible and shareable on your phone, tablet or desktop computer.  You'll be able to create a dedicated collection for each member of your family, from cherished memories of each child to legacy tributes to grandparents and ancestors. You'll also create a separate collection for each family.

Not a photo storing service

Collectionaire does not store your photos.  Instead, your media will reside in one or more photo-sharing cloud services, such as Google Photos, Apple Photos, Flickr, SmugMug, etc. for photos; and Dropbox, Google Drive, YouTube, Vimeo, Amazon cloud or other site for videos. You can use almost any, or several, different photo-sharing cloud services for your media.  Collectionaire is then the app through which you'll organize and access them.  It's important to understand that your photos and videos are not transferred to Collectionaire but always remain, and are viewed, in the photo-sharing cloud site where they reside.

A visual family tree hub to your collections

At its core then, Collectionaire is a simple visual hub in the form of a family tree, directly linking you to the photo storage cloud location where you'll view the media. Think of it as a customized Table of Contents where your family tree is the interface to the keepsake documents that pertain to a specific family member or the collective family. Clicking on a person will take you to their personal collection of keepsake memories.  Clicking on a circle icon linking a couple takes you to their family collection.

Why is it better than what I have now?

Your photos may already be in Apple Photos, Google Photos or other site, but these are simply not designed to organize the collective family's photo and video memories over the years. And you'll probably use multiple cloud locations for storing your broad collection.  For example, there is a fantastic feature for long form (over 15 minutes) videos when stored in Google Drive, Vimeo or YouTube.  In these sites, you can link the viwer to a specific starting point anywhere in the video using Collectionaire's "linking" process.  And with Collectionaire, photos, videos and digital albums pertaining to one person or one family are all brought to one place, regardless of location or format. You'll be able to organize everything about a child's early years through adulthood; create a legacy tribute to a deceased loved one for all to remember; or bring together the memories of all of your cherished family events and vacations in one place.

Use the best of the best

Our "Best Practices" suggest that your photo library be stored in one cloud site and videos perhaps in another.  But beyond these, there are dozens of exciting new photo, audio, and video sharing apps being created each year that you can tap into.  And Google, Apple, Amazon and others continue to bring new features to their apps trying to out-do the other in photo and video management.  But with Collectionaire as your central hub you won't have to keep moving your files to different cloud services to be able to use some of the latest apps and features available.


(You may also want to view the Introductory Videos in the first Help category.)

Collectionaire works as a partner app to most all third party photo-sharing cloud sites, and you'll build your collections with two tabs open in your browser. The first will be open to the third party site where your photos or videos are located, You'll organize this media into "Albums" (which can be just one photo or video, or a full digital photo album) and obtain a "share link" (web address) for that Album.  The second tab will be open to Collectionaire where you'll paste this share link into the collection of the person or family for which the Album relates.

Here are the steps you'll follow:

  • Create Your Collectionaire Account

  • Build a portion of Your Tree - You'll create your family tree, adding family members for which you'd like to create collections. You may want to add just a couple of people to get started, as you can easily add others later.  See Help category: Creating a Tree.

  • Create Albums in your 3rd Party Cloud Sites - In one or more photo-sharing cloud sites, you'll combine photos or videos into Albums and get share links to link them to Collectionaire. See Help category: Creating Albums in 3rd Party Cloud Sites.

  • Link these Albums to individuals or families in Collectionaire - Clicking on any person or couple in your tree will take you to their Media Collection page where you'll add "Chapters", and within a Chapter "Entries", and linking to these to your Albums in the 3rd party cloud sites. See Help category Creating a Media Collection.

Choose where to start:

My photos are still in prints

If your photos are still in print form, they must first be scanned into your computer or storage drive. Our Help category Your Photos are still Prints, will guide you in digitizing photos, videos and keepsake documents. 

My photos are not located in a photo sharing cloud site

If your photos and videos are digital but still in your computer or storage device, you’ll need to upload them to a photo sharing cloud app like iCloud photos, Google Photos, Smugmug, Flickr or other web photo storage site. You'll find suggested cloud sites and help on how to upload files in Help category Your Photos are not in the Cloud.

I use a photo sharing cloud site but have not created digital albums

You’ll need to learn how to create “shared albums” or “shared galleries” in the photo sharing services.  Please see the Help Category: Creating Albums in 3rd Party Cloud Sites.


Please see the 3rd & 4th Help Categories to the right for support with: 

  • Converting Photo Prints to digital formats

  • Converting 8mm and 16mm movies to digital

  • Converting VHS video tapes and analog / digital video tapes to digital

  • Converting  DVD's to digital formats that can be uploaded to the cloud.

Please see the fourth Help & Support Category to the right of this same name for straight forward quick-start instructions.

One important suggestion:  If you're storing long-form home movies (longer than 15 minutes), we are highly favorable toward Google Drive, YouTube and Vimeo over other sites we've found, for one reason:  Each of these sites allows you to start your video at a specific point in the movie, which is incredibly valuable if your long-form movie has several different events and activities documented.

You may also wish to read our Blog entry, Suggested Cloud Storage Options if you want our view.  We'll continue to share what has worked well for us and update this answer and Blog answers as cloud services change.



If you've entered siblings but can't see them in your family tree, you will need to change the "view node" for the tree to that of one of your parents. To do this, click the triangle in the lower corner of either parent's node.  This turns that node gray, showing that it is the current "view node", and shows their tree. 

The View Rule 

Only part of your tree can be seen at any given time, and a given person's tree view does not show their siblings.

The view for any person shows a) both of their birth parents and past direct ancestors, b) their spouse and any prior spouses, c) their descendants and all current and former spouse descendants.


The reason for this view rule is that this app is focused on using the family tree to easily navigate to the collections of those for whom you most frequently view photos and videos.  We reason that a given grown person with a large family will most often view the collections relating to their own childhood family and their current family, including all of their offspring.  Having siblings on the tree in this view might make it unwieldy. 

If one wants their siblings shown on the tree, they can select one of their parents as the Home Node or View Node and all children and descendants of both parents will be displayed.

Remember that clicking the triangle in a person’s node makes that person the View Node. which includes direct parents and grandparents of that person and all children and grandchildren of that person’s view.  The further up the tree the view node, the more people in general will be seen on your tree at one time.


The primary purpose of Collectionaire is to get users quickly to the collections which they most frequently view.  And although you can of course create collections for hundreds of people in your extended family, we've found that most people focus on viewing collections of their immediate family including children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents.  If you wish to see your siblings and their children on your tree view, then make one of your parents the "View Node" by clicking on the triangle corner of one of their nodes.

The View Rule 

The view for any person shows a) both of that person's birth parents and both sets of natural grandparents, b) the spouse and any prior spouses for themselves, their birth parents and their natural grandparents, and c) the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of their self and all current and former spouses.

So if one goes to a grandparent and clicks thier triangle, making that grandparent the View Node, they'll then see their own parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and children of these individuals.

Collectionaire uses Popups to link your collections to media stored in other cloud websites.  The first time you click on the Preview Image of one of your new Entries, it's is possible a warning message will tell you that your browser is blocking popups (this is usually to prevent unwanted ads. Collectionaire has no ads and there is no security risk). 

When this happens, the links to your media stored in 3rd party cloud sites will not work. 

A) In most cases, to remedy this, please follow the simple steps below:

  • On Firefox:  In the Yellow bar above, click on Options or Preferences (on the right); then select “Allow pop-ups for collectionaire.com”

  • On Chrome: In the web address bar above, to the right, click on the small page icon with the tiny red box; select “always allow popups and redirects from https://collectionaire.com; click Done

  • On Safari:  In the web address bar above where you see collectionaire.com, click on the box-shaped page icon to its right (left of the circular refresh button). If this is not shown, go to Safari > Preferences > Websites tab > Pop-up Windows > Allow collectionaire.com.

  • On Internet Explorer:  You should see a bar appear at the bottom of the screen.  Click "allow popups from Collectinaire".

B)  In some cases with Google, you may need to change your sync settings.

In the rare case that this does not work, please see the Help & Support Category to the right called Settings


When in your Tree view, simply click on the circle link icon between a couple and you'll be directed to their "couples" or "family" page.

The couples collection is generally there for archiving family movies, family photos, vacation photos, etc. that pertain to the entire family unit vs. one of the individual family members.

Adding Linked Albums

Please see the video in Help topic Introductory Videos entitled: Adding a Linked Album to a Collection

Please also see the Help topic to the right: Creating a Media Collection.

Where do I find the Share Link?

All sites do it a bit differently, but in the cloud site where you store your photos, videos, digital albums, etc., you will likely find the word "Share" or "Get Share Link" somewhere on the photo or album page. Click this link and it will provide a Share Link or Copy Link option, which is a series of characters that represent this specific page in that cloud site.  This "Link" is the web address you will copy and then paste into your Collectionaire Entry.  Please see the Help topic: Creating Albums in 3rd Party Cloud Sites for specific instructions for some sites.

Can I just use the URL or Web Address?

It may seem that the web address is all that is needed, but in many cloud sites, the "Share LInk" is different as it allows the user to bypass login protocols and go directly to the shared album.   So whenever possible, use the "Share Link" for connecting a Shared Album to Collectionaire.

What is a URL?

A URL is basically a way of identifying the location of a file or your media that's stored not on your computer but in a computer (server) at a remote location.  Remote servers represent what we call the Cloud... meaning it seems we're sending these files into thin air but they actually travel through the Internet and are stored on another computer rather than yours.  Opening a local file on your computer is as simple as double-clicking it, but to open files on remote computers in the cloud, we must use URLs so that our web browser knows where to look.

Clicking on a URL opens that location.  In Collectionaire, the URL is linked to the Preview Image in a collection to take you to the associated media.

Using remote servers and URL's does two main things for your files and media.  First, it serves as a backup for security in case you lose your photos and media at home.  Second it allows you to see your media from any connected platform, such as a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.

Preview images are used for Entries and Linked Albums as a representation of the content they contain.  We try to help you quickly create these images with the GENERATE button when creating Linked Albums.  But this does not work with some 3rd party cloud sites, most notibly Apple Photos, SmugMug and Forever.  If a preview image cannot be automatically created, or if you are not pleased with a preview image, there are two quick and easy ways to add a custom image.

From a Mac or iPhone

Option 1 - Choose a stored photo

  • In the edit page of either Add Entry or Add Linked Album, click on REPLACE PHOTO next to the image or template you wish to add or change.

  • This will open the Photos library on your Mac.  Navigate to a photo folder, select your preferred image and click Open.

  • Zoom and Crop then Save the photo.

Option 2 - Quickly create a new preview image

  • Since this image will be used only as a thumbnail representation of your photos album or video, the quality does not need to have a high resolution, so you can do the following:

  • Open the Album on your Mac or iPhone and choose the image you'd like to use. For video, you can pause it where you want. Enlarge the image as much as possible on the screen and take a Screen Grab (shift + command + 4) and capture the image. 

  • Now proceed with Option 1 above and your photo will likely be located on your Desktop unless set to store screen grabs elsewhere.

From a Windows computer:

Option 1 - Choose a stored photo

  • In the edit screen for either Add Entry or Add Linked Album, just below the Description box, click on REPLACE PHOTO next to the image or template you wish to add or change.

  • This will open Explorer on your computer..  Navigate to either the Pictures folder, or, if your photos are in iCloud on Windows, navigate to the iCloud folder and select from the Downloads folder.  Select your preferred image and click Open.

  • Zoom and Crop then Save the photo.

Option 2 - Quickly create a new preview image

  • Since this image will be used only as a thumbnail representation of your photos album or video, the quality does not need to have a high resolution, so you can do the following:

  • Open the Linked Album on your PC or mobile phone and choose the image you'd like to use.  For video, you can pause it where you want.  Enlarge the image as much as possible on the screen and take a screen shot/print screen (this command is usually on the top-right corner of the F-row on your keyboard.)  This copies an image of the screen to your clipboard. 

  • In a program like Word or Power Point, paste the image onto the page (right click and select Paste).  Now left click on the image to highlight it and then right click on the image and select "Save as Picture".  Choose either Pictures or Desktop as the location to store.

  • Now proceed with Option 1 above to use this image.


    If you are addressing Preview Images or Node images for your Collection, you'll need to rotate them in your computer or mobile device before pulling them into the cropping tool on Collectionaire.

    If you are addressing photos in one of your linked Albums, Collectionaire does not have control over  your photos stored elsewhere.  You must go the the cloud site that stores your photos and determine how to do this.  You may need to rotate the photo in your ocmputer or mobile device before uploading it to the cloud site.

    Important notes to make this work:

    • For the link to work, one must be logged in to their Collectionaire account on the same browser as Ancestry.com.
    • When implemented, clicking on the Collectionaire link under "Facts" in this person's Ancestry.com entry will take the viewer to the subject person's collection in Collectionaire.

    Here's how to set it up:

    • In Collectionaire, navigate to the person's media collection page and copy the URL or web address in the top address bar in your browser.
    • Go to the person's Ancesty.com entry.  Click on Facts (under the photo).  Click on + Add Web Link at the bottom of the middle column.  Add the URL of the Collectionaire entry to the top text box, and add a title, such as: [James Wilson's Collectionaire collection], to the lower text box.
    • Now, when one clicks on this link in Ancestry.com, they will be taken to the link of the person in Collectionaire.