Fold3: Original military records online

Fold3 Blog

The official blog of Fold3

Footnote is now Fold3 (updated)

Today we announced our intention to create the finest and most comprehensive collection of U.S. Military records available on the internet and changed the name of the site from Footnote to Fold3.

Footnote changes name to Fold3

Footnote Gets Focused

This announcement isn’t a complete change from what we’ve been doing.  Some of our best and most popular work has been on military titles like the Revolutionary War Pension files, the Civil War Service Records and “Widows’ Pensions,” WWII Missing Air Crew Reports and the Interactive Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

This new focus will direct our content plans and allow us to organize the site around military records.  In the future we’ll make other changes that will help us build the best online source for records related to the U.S. military, the men and women who have served and the families who support them.

You will still be able to access the great non-military records previously found on Footnote, but we’ll be adding millions of U.S. military records, like these that we’ve already begun work on:

  • Word War II “Old Man’s Draft” Cards
  • War of 1812 Pension Files
  • Mexican War Service Records
  • World War I Officer Experience Reports
  • Confederate Casualty Reports

Footnote Becomes Fold3

One change that won’t impact how things work, but is significant and will probably get a lot of attention, is the site’s new name.  Footnote has been a great name, but it doesn’t relate to military records and can carry a connotation of insignificance which doesn’t seem appropriate for a site focused on records related to the great sacrifices associated with military service.

We wanted a name that would show respect for the records we are working on and for the people who have served in the armed forces.  The name Fold3 comes from a traditional flag-folding ceremony in which the third fold is made in honor and remembrance of veterans for their sacrifice in defending their country and promoting peace in the world.

We are excited for this new focus and name because it will help us continue to improve the site and bring you records that will help in your research.

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions, please let us know.

Update:

Many of the questions so far have been about what will happen to all the non-military content on the site. Sorry for any confusion we caused on that. We don’t plan to remove any non-military content from the site with the exception of some third-party newspaper content that may be removed at the owners’ discretion. The city directories, naturalizations, vital records, Native American records and other non-military content that we have created for the site will be available on Fold3. You can still find them through search, on the records list page, and in browse under the new “Other Records” category.

There have also been some questions about content moving back and forth between Ancestry and Fold3. We do plan to bring copies of some of Ancestry’s military records over to Fold3 (the World War II “Old Man’s Draft” Cards we are currently adding to the site are an example) and Ancestry may get copies of some Fold3 titles that make sense for their users, but when this happens, the records would be copied, not moved, Fold3 content added to Ancestry will still be available on Fold3 and vice versa.

Thank you for all your comments. We appreciate your passion and support for Footnote. We hope as the dust of this change settles, you’ll find that the site feels familiar and that the most important parts of Footnote are still part of Fold3.

Update 2

We have had several people mention they have not been able to access the fold3 site. We have narrowed it down to people using Internet Explorer 8 or 7. While we work to find the solution use one of these options to get to Fold3. 1) Some people have found success by deleting their cookies, here’re instructions. 2) For others they have switched to a different browser and that has worked also. Install Google Chrome browser.

Update 3

We just rolled a fix. Please let us know if you still have issues accessing Fold3. A big thanks to member SePennartz for helping solve this issue.

153 Comments

  1. I am the daughter of a WWII vet, and 6 of my famiily served in that war, so I am not anti military. In fact my family goes back to the Civil War.
    BUT changing your website search parameters, and NAME, to subscribers who just yesterday could utilize it, is ridiculous. You should at least give people an option of which version to use. All I wanted to do was check to NY City Directory listings, and after a huge adapation and ime, could not get the full page to open. People need and want DIRECORIES for major cities, I really don’t care why the change; I care that Footnote “wasnb’t broke” so why “fix” it?? This is very disturbing,
    and to be done without notice by Footnote or even in Eastman’s genie newsletter is disregarding of your paid clients. Now, we have to take a month or so to get used to the new format? Very disrespctful of me and my dollars.

    Why the Military empahsis now? The economy is THE American emphasis, and with money tighter I resent paying for what I signe donto.
    Barbara Lima

  2. I guess you can’t please everyone, but you sure have made me happy. As a Naval Historian, I spend a lot of time on this website… adding to the resources available will only make my life easier. I hope you will add to the present list of available Pearl Harbor muster rolls, especially the lists of submarine personnel. If this could be expanded to include all WWII submarines (Atlantic and Pacific) I would need a bag of lemons to get the grin off my face. Thank you for increasing your Military emphasis!

  3. Just seeing these changes. Will you be including the other year’s Census? I thought those were on here before.

    Also, since this site is a military collection now, what does the Woodstock collection have to do with this now?

  4. fold3 vs. footnote ? Strange. I’m not looking at military records. To me footnote was about all kinds of records. Why the narrow focus on the military? Does that mean the non-military records are still under the footnote name. Doubt it.

  5. I find it very interesting that you state that footnotes “can carry a connotation of insignificance.” That certainly is not true in genealogy and history! Aren’t genealogists and historians your target audience?

  6. And those photos I uploaded yesterday that were definitely non-military, what becomes of those? For that matter, what becomes of ALL the stuff on this site that is non-military?

  7. Another Ancestry.com mis-step?

  8. As a librarian who is trying to encourage the usage of this database this name change will make it even more difficult to promote. Did you find available domain names and flip a coin? At lease footnote had some reference to research. Perhaps you will spin off the non-military content and charge more for two different products!

  9. OK ….I went to the site and although it took a minute or two, I did discover that the Records tab and List All Records would quickly get me to the master list. Nothing is “gone” – it’s just the emphasis has changed, making the military records more prominent. The “free” records are still listed, etc. I have no problems with the new site – searches or browsing works just as it did. Having military family members in every war through WW II – at least 12 ancestors fought in the Revolution – I like the new name! All things change….

  10. The name change & site focus change are not surprising to me. Any time a small company (Footnote.com) is swallowed up by a large company (Ancestry.com) all references to the old company will be removed. I am a paying subscriber to both sites and knew this was coming.

    Military records, especially those dealing with pensions, are very valuable documents to a genealogist, but footnote.com also had other records that I felt more than compensated for their high subscription price – such as the Texas birth and death records that were photocopies of the actual document.

    I also wonder, as a previous post noted, what will happen to the databases of non-military records? Will they be left on this site, shifted over to Ancestry.com, or just dropped altogether?

    I have no complaint about additional military records, anytime more records of any type become available it is a good thing, but where do we go now to find scanned vital records? Ancestry.com only gives the index for these (Texas). I had been waiting for more counties & years of these records to be added to footnote.com.

    I have genealogy buddies that had been waiting for the vital records of other states to be added before joining, I don’t see them joining now, or ever. A site that restricts it’s focus to one type of record restricts it’s following (i.e. subscribers).

    I can only hope that with the Ancestry.com acquisition that the search engine for footnote.com (fold3) records will be improved.

    We can moan & complain all we want, nothing will change. Genealogy has become a big business (Ancestry.com, which is really the old Eastman family from years ago) and big business is all about the profits, not about customer service.

    Don’t get me wrong, I remember genealogy the “old-fashioned” way from 30+ years ago before the internet, but not all change is good change. Belonging to Ancestry.com and using Family Tree Maker software is not really an option, it is a given, because of their monopoly on genealogical records. Whether or not I renew my subscription here will depend on how this site is changed – the records that become available, the price we have to pay for those & the ease of finding those records.

    • You can find and see Texas Birth and Death certificates on Familysearch.org.They have lots of records from many states and countries.

  11. What a surprise to find this out with no notice. Our genealogy department primarily purchased Footnote, in order to get the Native American records from the National archives to enable patrons to find out about their ancestry. We later discovered that Ebsco, had taken over the library edition and the Native American records were not available. I know it has something to do with money.
    I wish you would add the Native American records that the old footnote had.

  12. Footnote has been a major source of records for people of Native American heritage, such as the Dawes Rolls, the Indian census rolls, and the Eastern Cherokee applications. The name “Fold 3″ has nothing to do with that. Indian and census records have nothing to do with the military. What do you plan to do about all those records?

  13. As a Genealogy/Local History Librarian, I had pitched the subscription to Footnote.com to my library director as a way of gaining access to more of the types of records our patrons want. Ultimately, he agreed to the more costly Footnote Plus addition so that we could also have access to the Native American, African-American and Holocaust records, among others. This was about a month ago. Now I feel like the victim of a “bait-and-switch.” I understand that the non-military records are still on the site, but for how long? And will you keep adding to those non-military records? Will you eventually migrate non-military records to Ancestry or somewhere else, where yet another subscription will be required?

    Library budgets and family budgets are being cut across the country. I sincerely hope this “re-focus” does not mean we’ll eventually have to subscribe to yet another site and pay more for the same records we have access to now.

    I can speculate all day on the how and why for this change (and several of us in our library have wasted time on that already), but I have to say that the change to “Fold3″ is inexplicable at least and ridiculous at worst. Even after reading the explanation for the name change and the meaning behind it, I think it’s an ill-advised move. My own father was a veteran, and he was honored with full military rites at his graveside. But the jump from the flag fold to the name for a records repository is head-scratching, indeed. I’m going to have to spend a lot of time explaining this to my patrons and reassuring them they still have access to the records we signed up for.

    My genealogy patrons knew what “Footnote” meant, and it never occurred to me that the name implied something “inconsequential.” I’ve learned quite a bit from reading footnotes over the years!

  14. First question: did you get hacked?

    Second question: If not, is this a joke? I don’t think this is April.

    Third question: if this is serious, aren’t you breaking the trust you have with the American people to provide them free and easy access to America’s political documents, such as the Papers of the Continental Congress? What kind of scam is this?

  15. I am very sorry to see this change. To have a focused military collection is wonderful but to change name and entire focus is to loose the essence of what you have been for amatuer genealogists and family historians. I have received many comments from the materials I posted which drew users to footnote.com. What not have a military collection within the larger entity.

  16. Ah, I see now that the Papers of the Continental Congress are buried under the Revolution category. I hate to tell you, but the Congress Papers cover a period longer than the War of Independence.

  17. help!!!!!

    when i click on all my “footnote” favorites all i get is a page telling me that “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage”

  18. Sounds like your parent company Ancestry wants you to focus on one thing and they’ll absorb the rest. So much for competition. Say hello to a greater strengthened Ancestry brand. Weee.

  19. Well, I had been debating renewing my subscription because althoguh the hits weren’t frequent, there was the occasional lucky find, with images! in content not available elsewhere. This development has decided it for me: no renewal.

  20. Not happy, will not renew…enough said!

  21. Ancestry, didn’t you learn anything from your numerous name changes a few years back? Why change something that is working? The name you chose is awful! I liked Footnote much better.

  22. Hate the name change! Sorry I added info and connections to people on here. I look for more than military records. I figured this site would go downhill after Ancestry acquired it.

  23. I can understand the desire to honor the Military. I am certainly all for that. however, Footnote is more than a Military History site. It has so much more to offer. I feel that changing your name to what for me and many others, is an obscure reference not only limits the idea of the site but is also confusing to many people. I know that you will not change back but i am disappointed at this obscure and limiting new name. You had to explain it’s meaning. that should tell you something.

  24. I think your corporate decision makers need a little more oxygen in the board room. Fold3? I’ve been in the retail business for more years than I care to admit to, and I can tell you this – when you have to explain what your name means, you’ve got trouble!

    Oh – and may I add a ‘footnote’ (sorry, I couldn’t resist)? Is the image with the Fold3 photo shopped? Pretty tacky if it is…

  25. Peter, some of the questions people have asked here are really good questions and deserve an answer. I got Footnote for the directories, not the military stuff. For military the stuff I needed I mostly have gone directly to the National Archives, from whom I have obtained really, really complete records. So, I wonder about the future development of directories and similar resources. I think many of us would like a very clear outline of what’s going to happen — what part of what you are doing is going to go to Ancestry (to which I also subscribe) and what isn’t. Is there a place where it is all laid out for us? Or, do we just have to wait and see what you are planning? Thanks!

  26. What was wrong with “Footnote”? Why the name change?
    Some little techie with nothing else to do?
    But – I do look forward to the 1812 and Mexican War things.

  27. Sorry, I don’t care for the name change and site redesign. Fold3? Really? Poking around it looks like the record sets I used most often are still there so in the end I guess the change will work out, but it just seems unnecessary.

    Tell us about future plans for the website. Will non-military records like city directories, newspapers, Native American records, etc., etc. migrate to Ancestry.com? Will military records on Ancestry migrate to Fold3?

  28. Footnote has (had?) a unique relationship with the U.S. National Archives. To me this was the selling point of Footnote. Users would be able to fill in the gaps and holes that Ancestry or other online offerings had. Does the change in focus to military records mean that the other valuable collections at NARA won’t be digitized on Fold3? If so, this is a short-sighted move. Of course, the relationship with NARA would possibly belong to Ancestry now due to the purchase of Footnote, so maybe those non-military collections will end up there. A reassurance on this would be helpful in light of today’s news.

  29. Cyndi, good points and I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    I’ve had to adjust to the change very quickly as I’m giving a presentation at a conference TOMORROW. I’ve been redoing my presentation on Footnote (thanks to the powers that be that didn’t really give us much in the way of a heads up!) and am, so far, finding very little difference in the website right now. I’m sure more will change. Anyway, I have been able to find most things or a work-around. For instance, the “State Search” isn’t there any longer but I can get to it by doing an advanced search and entering the State name in the location box. That narrows it to just records that have the State listed in it.

    I cannot find a “new and upcoming content” like it was before. I’m hoping they add that back.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see more changes including exchanging of records with Ancestry’s main site. Of course, they wouldn’t consider combining them into ONE subscription. That’s sad. There are only so many military/war records available. Then what?

  30. You guys don’t get out much, do you?

    I mean, away from here.

    Otherwise, you’d have read about the debacle for Geni.com for changing the way it operates with no notice to its subscribers.

    Amazing that two formerly respected genealogical resources would do that in one week…

  31. Whatever happened to the promise that Footnote was supposed to be FREE after 5 years? And where are all the story pages or footnote pages military and non military. They have apparently disappeared. Anything I search for now I cannot find.

    You have a lot of unhappy customers and I don’t see much in an official word to quell this mistrust.

  32. Not only has the name changed, but the browse and search functions have all changed.
    I’m especially frustrated to see that advanced search no longer can be narrowed to a specific record group.

    To search a specific record group, you now have to use the browse screens and enter your search words into one box that becomes a keyword search string. You can no longer search a specific category by firstname and lastname as separate items. More often than not, because of spelling anomalies, I want to search using wildcards in first and last names. Wildcards produce either no results, or not relevant results, in keyword searches.

  33. I actually do extensive military research on fighters in every war back to the Revolution. I know the meaning of Fold3 since I have the flag that covered the casket of my 30-year-old father. That’s not why I paid for Footnote (a much more fitting name), and I echo every complaint that has been made.

    My only criticism of Ancestry for many years has been its lack of respect for customers, which is consistently demonstrated by poor phone support, an online help system that assumes everyone uses FTM, its unannounced take-it-or-leave-it changes, and its apparent inability to acknowledge problems or mistakes. Ancestry seems to be aiming for monopoly–it’s very sad to see the ACOM spreading its ethics by swallowing up some of my favorite websites.

    Since I already pay a hefty subscription price for Ancestry.com, I won’t be renewing my Footnote…uh…Fold3 subscription.

  34. I received a very quick reply from Footnote/Fold3 about the “new and upcoming” items. They explained how to find them. You go to records > list all records. Then sort by “new and updated”. At first I thought this would not show the collections in the hopper, but it does. They are the ones with no status bar on the left side. They are not in categories but you can still see the new records they are working on.

    Jane, actually the search changes are very minimal. You just have to find the right links. And I am sure they are working on a few things. In the example you listed about not being able to narrow a search to a specific record group, you can do it. Right now put your search term in the “keyword” field rather than the name field. That one works. But if I put a name field entry, it can’t find it. I’m sure there are a number of things that they either missed or are working on.

  35. I agree with all the above, I am very Patriotic and use your Military records, but leave it to Ancestry to screw up a perfectly good thing. This name change means nothing to most people who do not come from a Military family, its difficult to relate to and will probably mess up lots of things on your site.
    I am not happy with this new direction, seem you could continue to expand without screwing up what you have achieved.
    I also may not renew your site.

  36. By the way………THANKS FOR THE HEADS UP! NOT!

  37. Good job on fixing something that isn’t broken. Frankly, the name “Fold3″ is ugly, and it doesn’t say “military records” to me. As for the guy who goes around and comes up with was to mix things up like this unnecessarily: I’d like his job — sounds like easy money.

  38. PLease discontinue my membership. I am in a financial crunch (illness), at this time and am unable to keep up my membership.

  39. By the way, THANKS FOR THE HEADS UP!

  40. FOLD3, does sound like a Martha Stewart way to fold those fitted sheets.

  41. Having ALL military records was also not why I subscribed to Footnote. I’m disappointed at the change. I had also suggested our city library subscribe to Footnote, and they did. I believe I’ll rethink it after being a member for several years now. Sad because it could have become so much more.

  42. I can’t even access the site now. And who would have thought that someone would have made a change and not even send out an email to their subscribers? Poor planning, poor name, poor marketing. I basically use only the Civil War Service records and still don’t understand all this mess. Someone should be fired for this idea

  43. Can someone please give me a phone number (preferred) or email address? Other than this blog, I can’t pull up anything now.

  44. Add me to the list of people very disallusioned by this change. I joined because you had all kinds of hard copies that added context to all kinds of history. Just military is not enough to keep me as a subscriber. I also guess I can give up on your completing the collections that I joined for. :-(

  45. I am a recent subscriber. I have found the military records very helpful, but they are not why I decided to spend my limited funds on a membership. I’m not sure I would have spent the money had I known that they would be the main focus of the site. The new name is neither positive or negative to me, although I can see why you would choose it. I do agree with many of the other comments that a footnote is in no way inconsequential, but the most important part of good research. What I am REALLY angry about however is the lack of any notice whatsoever to your paid subscribers. We deserved at the very least an email saying “hey, by the way”. The way you move forward after this major pr blunder will totally determine whether or not I keep my membership.

  46. I have US Collection account with Ancestry.com which I used to view images of military records from the Civil War. Now those images are on Fold3, and I can’t see them because I don’t have an account on Fold3. I refuse to pay another $80 for an account to get information I thought I was already paying for.

  47. “Add me to the list of people very disallusioned by this change. I joined because you had all kinds of hard copies that added context to all kinds of history. Just military is not enough to keep me as a subscriber. I also guess I can give up on your completing the collections that I joined for.” I agree.
    And the Ancestry curse sets in! I too joined Footnote because of the vast and diverse records that it had. I use the Military collections and I know that they are probably the most popular and best collections here. But limiting this site to military records will also limit your customer base to short term subscribers. I will not renew.

  48. How angry would you be if Footnote just disappeared completely? Anger over a $60/year service? Wow. Just relax folks.

  49. I subscribed to Footnote about five years ago, just a few months after the change of focus to reflect genealogical resources rather than general historical resources.

    Personally, I feel the change of focus to solely military records is a good move. For years I have recommended Footnote subscriptions to audiences when I lecture about the Civil War. In any business, it is a wise decision to identify what you do best, and then specialize. I will be lecturing on the subject again next month, and will now be recommending Fold3 subscriptions.

    As an Ancestry subscriber as well, I also welcome the inclusion of non-military record groups from Footnote to Ancestry. Between Ancestry, FamilySearch, and Footnote, I found myself searching every name across all three platforms. It will be nice to cut down my search time by 1/3.

  50. Reading previous comments, I would say that I, too, am unhappy with the name change, primarily because as a subscriber, no one at the old footnote bothered to let us know about the upcoming change in name.
    One of the distinct advantages the old footnote had over ancestry was the excellence of its support team. When questions were asked, they were answered in a very timely fashion. That was not my experience with ancestry’s support. So, does this mean that fold3 has lost the old footnote support team?
    While I have used footnote for military records, I have also found the other content just as valuable. And whoever said that footnotes were inconsequential has obviously never read any history. Footnotes verify content. That’s what was so great about its name.
    Don’t suppose the name will change back, huh? Ancestry is not all that great in admitting mistakes. I did think there might be problems when they took over the old footnote. I just didn’t see a name change as one of them. It will take some time for fold3 to be come “branded.”
    So, maybe all of us who loved the old footnote should give the new fold3 a chance and see how easy or how hard it is to use and search for ALL the records on this site, not just the military ones.