©2023 Donald R. Snow
Page last updated 2023-08-15

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ABSTRACT: Internet Archive is a free website with a goal of preserving the world's knowledge and making it available to everyone for free.  They do this by preserving copies of books, images, videos, music, and, every few days they do a "snapshot" of the entitire world wide web.  The copies of the entire internet are stored in the Wayback Machine and you can view old websites there, even those that have been changed or deleted.  It is a major source of information for family history.  This class will discuss the Wayback Machine, what it contains and how to use it.  We will also show how to be sure that webpages you are concerned about are saved on it.  The notes for this class and related articles, all with active internet links, are posted on my website .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo, Utah. 
  2. The notes for this class and related articles, all with active internet links, are posted on my website .  
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for the URL for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon that is in front of the address in your browser to your desktop.  (2)  To open a link while keeping your place in the original page, hold down the Control key while clicking the link, so the link opens in a new tab. 
  4. The problem for today:  What is the Wayback Machine on Internet Archive (IA), what does it contain, how do you use it, and how do you save a webpage to it?

  6. Internet Archive is a free website at --  Note that "archive" is singular here and the extension is .org.
  7. It was founded by Brewster Kahle in 1996 and is supported by donations, but you can use it without donating.
  8. A Wikipedia article about IA is at  -- The Internet Archive is a San Francisco-based nonprofit digital library with the stated mission "to provide 'universal access to all knowledge'. "   It provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, software applications, games, music, movies, videos, and books.  
  9. To get back to the IA Home page from most other IA pages, click the Internet Archive icon (Building in upper left corner) 
  10. Helps for the Internet Archive
    1. Internet Archive Blog -- 
    2. Internet Archive Help Center --
    3. FAQs About --
    4. Because of the size of this database it is sometimes hard to find what you are looking for. 

  12. The Wayback Machine is where IA stores copies of old publicly accessible websites and it currently has 100s of billions of these -- That's billion, not million!
  13. The name Wayback machine comes from the animated cartoon "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" of the 1960s that had a device to transport people back in time so they could see what was happening earlier -- see Machine and 
  14. The search box for the Wayback Machine is on the IA home page.  
  15. A good article is "Using the Wayback Machine" -- 
  16. Result pages in the Wayback Machine include a date box in the upper right corner to move between date versions.
  17. Some webpages have more crawls (recordings) than others.
  18. To save a current webpage to the Wayback Machine use browser extensions, e.g. in Chrome the extension is called Save To The Wayback Machine.

  20. Example 1:  Type in, the old name of our UVTAGG; go to the year 2000 and in the calendar below click on 16 Aug 2000, the first day they scanned our website. There's our old website.  Click on Meetings and go to 2000 and see who spoke at the 14 Feb 2000 meeting and what the topic was. 
  21. Example 2:  My webpage -- type in (or copy and paste) the old name of my webpage:  starting 2006-07-16 -- Do the topics we were discussing bring back memories?
  22. Example 3:  has been crawled (recorded) tens of thousands of times since 08 May 1999; Only static pages are archived.

  24. Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine have lots of good family history information.
  25. Search it for some other webpage you are interested in to see its history. 

Return to the  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page  or  Don Snow's Class Listings Page .