Help and Support

Collectionaire helps you organize your most cherished family photos, videos and keepsake memories so that these treasured items are never lost and always accessible in one place from your phone, tablet or desktop computer.

Its key benefits are: a) all your memories are brought to one hub rather than multiple sites; b) it is easy to share your collection with family and friends; and c) it is easy for guest viewers to find your great memories, even when viewing for the first time, using your family tree and clear collection pages.

Collectionaire is a cloud site, but unlike others does not store your photos and videos.  Instead, it is an “overlay” or “hub” that organizes all your media from other photo and video cloud sites into one collection.

The core of your collection will be your family collection, where you'll bring together your best family memories of vacations, holidays, photos together, etc.  But you can also create dedicated collections for each member of your family or the history of a family line or surname.

Use most any photo or video cloud service

Your media will reside in one or more photo or video-sharing cloud services, such as Google Photos, iCloud Photos, Flickr, SmugMug, Forever, etc. for photos; and Vimeo, Google Drive, YouTube or other site for videos. You can use almost any, or several, different cloud services for your media.  Collectionaire then works as a clean visual overlay linking you to your media in other sites. Again, it's important to understand that your photos and videos are not transferred to Collectionaire but always remain, and will be viewed, in the photo-sharing cloud site where they reside. At its core then, Collectionaire is a simple visual hub linking you to your memories. 

The key visual element

The key element is the Collection Page, created for each person and each family, where you’ll assemble their best memories, stories and mementos… somewhat like a Table of Contents of their life.  You'll reach each Collection Page through your Family Tree, where clicking on any person takes you to their page.  Clicking on a circle icon linking a couple takes you to the couple’s family Collection Page.

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.  For example, linking from Collectionaire to a video in Google Drive, Vimeo or YouTube allows you to start a video at any specific point. 

With Collectionaire as your central hub you'll be able to use the best of the best photo and video cloud sites, while taking these general purpose sites to a higher level as an ideal digital family archive.

(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 and video-sharing cloud sites, and creates an "overlay" to aggregate and organize all of your cloud media into one family-centric collection. 

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 what most sites term "Albums" or "Galleries" (which can be just one photo or video, or a full digital photo album) and obtain a "Share Link".  The Share Link is a special web address that allows viewers to bypass login credentials for that site and only allows the viewer to see that specific media; not the entire collection.

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 at least a portion of your Tree - You'll create your Family Tree (or Organization 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 3rd party cloud sites - In one or more photo-sharing  or video-sharing cloud sites, you'll combine files into Albums and get Share Links to link these Albums to Collectionaire. See Help category: Creating Albums in 3rd Party Cloud Sites.

  • Link your albums to Collectionaire - Each person and each family on your tree has a Collection Page, which is essentially a Table of Contents of their life.  Clicking their name in the family tree takes you to this personal or family Collection Page. Once there, you'll add "Chapters", and within a Chapter "Linked Albums" where you'll add the links to your Albums in the 3rd party cloud sites. See Help category Creating a Media Collection.

  • Once set up, clicking on the Preview Image of any Linked Album opens a new tab in your browser to the media in that website.

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.


A "Linked Album" is the term Collectionaire uses to note its core building block element added to any Collection Page, which is basically a web link to a photo, photo album, video or other media item located in another cloud site. Each Linked Album is comprised of a Title, Description, Preview Image and Share Link. Clicking the Preview Image opens a new tab in their computer browser and displays the third-party cloud site containing the media associated with that Linked Album.

Every link entered into a Collection Page is considered one Linked Album, regardless of whether the linked item contains just one or hundreds of photos, or a video snippet or very long movie.

The numbers in circles at the bottom of a person or between a couple on the family tree denotes the number of Linked Albums stored for that person or couple.

A Share Link is a specific URL that bypasses login credentials usually required to access a cloud site and allows the guest viewer access to one specific file, or folder of files, without gaining access to other files or folders in the account. The key to a Share Link vs. a URL or web address is that the URL usually requires the person to be logged into the site to view the files. 

Share Links are the key to how Collectionaire works.  You add share links to your Collectionaire indexes which then share a specific photo, photo album, video, document, etc. with a viewer.  So whenever possible, use the "Share Link" for connecting a Shared Album to Collectionaire.

Where do I find the Share Link?

All sites do this a bit differently, but generally, 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?

There are some cloud sites that you want to link to a Collection Page that do not provide share links.  Examples would be Facebook, Instagram, FamilySearch, Ancestry.com and others.  In these cases, the viewer will need to have an account with the site and permissions to view the specific site or link being shared.

What if a Share Link becomes Unlinked:

New users are sometimes concerned that Share Lnks may be changed or go away. We understand this concern but believe the risk is not great and give the user an easy recovery should this happen. 

First, Share Links are core to the features and functionality of 95% of all cloud photo and video sites and likely not going away.

Second, even if the Share Link were to change, one would not lose their media.  And for this and other reasons we allow and encourage all users to download the complete database of their collection via the Help Topic, "Printing Your Collection and Database".  So if a site were to change its link structure, one would be able to sort all links to that site and recreate the links in short order.  But, again, we do not expect this to ever be necessary.

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.

On each person or family's Collection Page, in the left column under their photo, you will find a button called "+ ADD" for Quick Links.  Each Quick Link contains a Share Link to a cloud site, photo album, movie, etc. that does not require a description.  You will simply add a Title and paste in a URL or Share Link, and add a preview image.  Up to four Quick Links can be added per Collection Page.

It is often tempting for new users to simply add their first links here, but we encourage you to not do this. You would usually be happier as your progress to go to the right side of the page, the collection, and enter a simple Chapter name such as "Photos" and then add a Linked Album with your link.  The only difference between adding a Linked Album and adding a Quick Link is that the Linked Album has an optional description area.

Most frequently, for younger people, Quick Links are used to link to their social media pages such as Facebook photos or Instagram.  Clicking the link would take users straight to their primary page or photos page.

For ancestors, many use these to link to the person's records in FamilySearch, Ancestry.com or other cloud-based genealogy app. Clicking the link could take users, for example, to their Facts page or Memories page.

Still others use it to link to a person's primary profile, a digital scrapbook or e-book for that person, but it could link to any cloud location.

In many cases for these direct links, the user will need permissions and be logged into these third party applications as we are simply putting in the URL.  This is different from getting a "share link" from a photo or video site which allows the viewer to bypass login protocols.

You will see that the interface is similar to adding a Linked Album, but there is no Description box.

Yes!  Please click HERE, type your question, and we'll be back to you within 24 hours.  And usually in less than one hour. 

No question is too small and we welcome them all, as we learn from helping our users.

Please see the fifth Help & Support Category of this same name, to the left, for our comments and recommendations: "Which cloud sites should I use?"

Summary Picks:

Best for Photos:

Photos recorded digitially: Google Photos [Which cloud sites are best for photos?]

Scanned and Heirloom photos: MemoryWeb [Which cloud sites are best for photos?]

Best for Home Movies: 

Google Drive or Vimeo [Which cloud sites are best for home movies and home videos?]

This is sometimes a concern. Here are some thoughts:

  • One should always have backups of all their files on hard drives or thumb drives. Using the cloud is simpy the most convenient way to view and share your photos. Cloud sites are backed up in multiple locations and are a great additional home for your media, as you can better share your photos and videos with others, and stream your home movies. 
  • All cloud photo sites we are aware of that have converted to another name (e.g. the old Google Picasa) or gone out of business have given at least 3 months warning to subscribers to move one's files to another platform.  This is very rare for major cloud hosts.
  • You can save a copy of your work as we enable you to download an Excel spreadsheet containing every data field of your collection. Go to My Account > Permissions and Preferences > Summary Report
  • You can also print a pdf of each collection page by clicking the link at bottom of the page. This allows you to have a hard copy of your collection summary should you need to move flies to another cloud site.
  • Remember... Collectionaire is only the "hub" that brings all of your cloud media together in one place.

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


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

  • Windows 10:
- Open the album or video to the image you would like to capture
- Press the Windows key (Windows Logo) + fn + PrtSc key
- Screenshot is saved automatically in the Photos folder
- From Collectionaire, click on Upload Custom Preview Image and navigate to the Photos folder to select your image
  • Windows 7 or 8: Concept is the same for Windows but you'll use the "Snipping Tool" to save the photo:
- Open the album or video to the image you would like to capture.
- Open the Snipping Tool (type snipping into Windows search box)
- Click on "New"
- Outline the area to be snipped
- Click Save and add any name... even random characters if you wish as this image will likely not be used again.
- The image will be saved in Pictures
- From Collectionaire, click on Upload Custom Preview Image and navigate to Pictures to select your image
- Keep the Snipping Tool open for your session.
  • Now proceed with Option 1 above to use this image.

    Click on small camera icon in the bottom right corner of your family collection photo block to upload a new image.

    An account can belong to only one email address at a time. The email address is found in My Account (click on your name in the top right corner of page).  You can change the account owner email address at any time.   

    Should you wish to have two or more people administer the account, you can do so in the following two ways:   

    Option 1 is to simply share your user email address and password with one or more persons you trust.

    Option 2 is for the other person or persons to create their own (free) Collectionaire account and, via your Guest Permissions tab, invite them to view and edit your full collection with settings of "Private" Viewing Permissions and "Full Edit" Editing Permissions.

    Handing Off Your Account

    An account can belong to only one email address at a time. The email address is found in My Account (click on your name in the top right corner of page).  You can change the account owner email address at any time.  You can also simply share your user email address and password with one or more persons you trust.

    Adding Successors

    This feature allows you to add up to two account Successors.  If your account should go unpaid and you are not reachable, the individual(s) entered here will be contacted with an option to continue the account. Account Preservation is found under My Account (top right corner of screen) > Personal Information. Up to 2 Account Successors can be added. 


    You may build your tree as large as you wish, but you can have just one tree for each account.

    If you keep adding generations to your tree, there may be times when you would like to link a person in your Collectionaire tree to that person's profile in another site, such as Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.com.  For example, you might do this for a deceased relative that already has a full profile in one of these other sites.  Here is how to make this work:

    • Note: For the link from Collectionaire to work, one must already be "signed in" to Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.com, though these sites do not have to be "pre-opened" when using Collectionaire.
    • Also, for Ancestry.com, the tree must be set to "public" view for others to see the records, unless you invite them on that service.
    • When implemented for Ancestry.com, clicking on the Collectionaire entry links you to a person's page in Ancestry.com.  You can choose whether this will be their LifeStory, Facts or Gallery page. 
    • When implemented for FamilySearch.com, clicking on the Collectionaire entry links you to a person's page in FamilySearchcom.  You can choose whether this will be their Details or Timeline page.

    Here's how to set it up:

    • Go to the person's Ancesty.com or FamilySearch.com page that you want to link to and copy the URL or web address in the top address bar in your browser.
    • In Collectionaire, enter this link when you add a new Entry to this person's Media Collection page.
    • Now, when one clicks on this link in Collectionaire, they will be taken to the Ancestry or FamilySearch page you linked to.



    Yes you can, with a caveat.  Neither Facebook nor Instagram provides a share link, so it doesn't work quite as well as most cloud sites that provide share links.  WIth Facebook and Instagram, or other cloud sites without share links, the person clicking the link must:

    a) have first logged into the site they are connecting to and

    b) have permissions to view the account being linked.

    Most people prefer to use a Quick Link for this, in the left column.

    With Quick Links there are no descriptions, so you may just wish to put the app name as the Title and then enter the URL (web address) for the person in FB or Insta.  You'll need to upload a custom preview photo. 


    Often one finds that they entered the URL of the cloud site location rather than the "share link". You can test this by copying the link you added to collectionaire and pasting it into your computer or phone browser.

    You can indeed start again using the same Account information. 

    Go to My Account > Subscription Options > Delete Your Collection

    You will need to add your password for this step.  Deleting your tree will take you back to the New Tree start screens.