©2020 by Donald R. Snow --Page last updated 2020-11-23
Return to the  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page  or  Don Snow's Class Listings Page .
ABSTRACT: The Internet Archive is a free website with a goal of preserving the world's knowledge and providing it to everyone for free.  They do this be preserving copies of books, images, videos, music, anc snapshots of the entire world wide web periodically.  The snapshots of the entire internet are stored in the Wayback Machine and you can find old websites there that have been changed or deleted from the internet.  It is a major source of information for family history.  This class will show how to use the Wayback Machine, what it contains, and how to be sure webpages that you find now on the internet are preserved in 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 and St. George, 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 Internet Archive Wayback Machine, wht does it contain, and how do you use it?

  6. The Internet Archive is a free website at  (Note that "archive" is singular here and its extension is .org) founded by Brewster Kahle in 1996 and supported by donations, but you can use it without donating..
  7. A Wikipedia article about it is at  -- Quote from the Wikipedia article: "The Internet Archive is a San Francisco-based nonprofit digital library with the stated mission of 'universal access to all knowledge'.   It provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and ... books."  
  8. To get back to the Home page of Internet Archive from anywhere in it, click on the Internet Archive icon (Building in upper left corner) 
  9. Helps for the Internet Archive
    1. Internet Archive Blog -- 
    2. Home Page Overview -- 
    3. Internet Archive General Information --  
    4. FAQs About --  

  11. The Wayback Machine is where the Internet Archive store copies of old webpages and it currently has almost 500 billion webpages -- That's billion, not million!
  12. The name comes from the "Wayback Machine" of the animated cartoon "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" of the 1960s that transported people back in time so they could see what was happening then -- see and 
  13. Helps for The Wayback Machine
    1. The Wikipedia article cited above.
    2. The Wayback Machine -- 
    3. Using the Wayback Machine FAQs --
  14. The search box for the Wayback Machine is at the top of the Internet Archive Home page  
  15. Examples
    1. 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.  We didn't start posting handouts until later and in 2001 we started video-taping the meetings and those videos are still available and are being posted on our current website  for members to view.
    2. Example 2:  My webpage -- type in (or copy and paste) the old name of my webpage:  starting 2006-07-16 -- Look at the topics we were teaching and the notes.
    3. Example 3:  Washington County Historical Society -- -- has had almost 200 captures starting on 04 May 2009, but it hasn't been saved for the past several months for some reason; it's fun to look at and remember the early formats of websites  
    4. Example 4:  has been crawled 19,000 times since 08 May 1999; since the searches are dynamic on FamilySearch, I don't think you can get it to search now; when the website came out my wife and I were on missions as Directors of the New York Family History Center in Manhattan and we were interviewed on TV about the new website and those interviews are probably stored there somewhere  -- as some of us have said before, we'll never live long enough to track down everything that is available on our own lives 
    5. Example 5: -- download the video (it only takes a few seconds) and watch the first couple of minutes to see who's on it; all those old Church FH Training Videos from the DVDs are stored in the Wayback Machine   
  16. For the old webpages the box in the upper right corner shows the date and has arrows to go to the previous version or the next one 
  17. Some years have more crawls for a website than others, perhaps due to the website changing more or less, or possibly by the number of hits it had then    
  18. For webpages that you find now on the internet and want to be sure they are saved on it, there are extensions ("add-ons" some browsers call them) that you click to save it right then; for Chrome the extension is called Save To The Waybback Machine -- I usually click on that whenever I make major changes in my online notes, so those are preserved, in case they don't get to them for a few weeks.
  19. Because of the size of this database it is sometimes hard to find what you are looking for, but they are working on indexing every word on all those archived websites 

  21. Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine have lots of good family history information.
  22. Try it out on some webpage you are interested in to see its history.

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