Five years ago, January 10, 2007, the Footnote website was born with a mission to provide convenient access to original source documents. We celebrated with a cake so orange that it probably shortened our lives.
When we launched, we had industry-leading digitization tools, a dedicated team and several great partners, including the National Archives, to provide content for us to digitize. We had about 5 million images including a complete and fully indexed set of the Revolutionary War Pensions, an Index to the Civil War Pensions and the Pennsylvania Archives.
Over the past 5 years we’ve worked hard to provide a place where genealogists, historians, students and curious people of all kinds could find and use original source documents to understand the past and the people who lived it.
We’ve had great reviews from people like Dick Eastman, PC Magazine and Kim Komando. More importantly, we hear great stories from people who use the site, like this one Janet Carlson recently posted on our Facebook page: “I love your record collection! I just found CSA records on my gg grandfather and found out that he was wounded in action and was taken prisoner during Price’s Raid in 1864.”
We’ve seen good times, tough times and even some times that were a little of both, like in March of 2008 when CNN featured the then newly launched Interactive Vietnam Memorial on their home page and so many people came to see it that we had trouble keeping the site going.
The last year or so has brought big changes. In October of 2010, Ancestry.com acquired our parent company, iArchives and with their help we’ve been able to add more content to the site more quickly. It’s been great to work with the world’s largest online family history resource.
US Military records have always been at the heart of the site, and in 2011 we decided to focus our efforts on them. In August, we changed the name of the website from Footnote to Fold3 to honor those who have sacrificed to defend their country and promote peace in the world.
We’re still chasing our goal of providing convenient access to original source records. Today we have over 85 million images including Civil War Service Records, World War II Missing Air Crew Reports, Marine Corps photos from Vietnam and many more.
And we’re adding more all the time. Among the projects we are working on are some that will provide access to some of the large paper collections at NARA like the Civil War Widows’ Pensions, War of 1812 Pension Files and the Homestead Records.
What are your favorite titles on Fold3? Which would you like to see us work on in the next 5 years?
We’re excited to celebrate our 5th anniversary and we know that none of this would have been possible without your support.