My two main passions in life are my genealogy research and blogging, and photos and images are essential to the success of both.
Photos and images are essential to successful genealogy research and blogging.
Photos and images are essential to successful genealogy research and blogging.

Most of us do this for the love of the craft – and yes, it is a craft that takes a great deal of talent, research, and knowledge of available resources to make it work.

For all my knowledge, my efforts barely make enough to pay the overhead, which can be considerable, even though I’m an advanced user and can perform most IT, SEO and other tasks myself. There is not much income left over for myself, so I must seek out as many free tools and resources as I can find.

The following is just a brief description of the image search tools I have used – and many I still do use.

One of the tools I recommend using to increase readership and minimize bounces is to use the highest quality images possible.

This can be rather difficult considering the confusion regarding copyright restrictions, licensing, and available image repositories.


In the beginning I used the Photodropper plugin and liked it, but sometimes the quality of the images left a lot to be desired.

I remained loyal, however, until each update made it more and more difficult to find anything but licensed images requiring payment. These images were definitely at the forefront of every search.

Browser Image Search Add-on.

I also tried the image search add-on for my browser, but found this to be a total waste of time as there was no way of filtering the searches or telling at a glance whether they were free or if they were under license restrictions.

Image Sites

Wikipedia main page image.Since I started taking on guest authors, I’ve taken notice of the quality of the images they submit and two companies stood out for me.

They are and

The searches are not contaminated with restrictions and costly images and the browsing is easy and straightforward. I’ve also been impressed with the variety and quality of images available.

Another resource I use regularly is

Image more details link window.

Many of the images on this site are available for use with some licensing restrictions detailed on the image’s Wikimedia Commons page.

Image more details window.

This can be reached by clicking on the image, then clicking the “More Details” button on the lower right.

Most of these images require only the inclusion of a photo license statement, which I always include at the very bottom of my posts.

Search Engine Image Searches

The two largest resources available are probably the least used because of the issues and confusion surrounding copyright.

They are Google and Bing image searches.

A keyword’s search shows no indicators of cost or license restrictions in the results.

This is easily resolved by using the search filters available on both sites.

First, search using the keyword on the main search page, then click on the Images link in the menu at the top of the page, and then use the filters drop-downs at the top of the page to search through numerous categories, including licensing and use restrictions.

Below are screenshots of the dropdowns from each of the Google and Bing image searches.

Image searches
Google image searches.
Bing Image Search Filters
Bing Image Search Filters

I used to use Microsoft Office’s clipart and image gallery regularly, but a while back, Microsoft discontinued this site.

Microsoft Office’s clipart and image library are now available through Bing’s image search.