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Tip: Browse on Fold3

June 11, 2014 by | 55 Comments

Whether you’re browsing the records on Fold3 just to take a look around or browsing to find information on a specific person, this method of online exploration can broaden your understanding of a conflict period and give context to records about your ancestors.

The easiest way to access the browse menu is by selecting “Browse records” from the “Search” dropdown at the top of any page. Then choose a conflict period and record collection to look through. Each collection is organized differently based on the type of records it contains, but all are easy to navigate using the browse menu.

When you’ve navigated through the browse menu to its final pane, you’ll see thumbnail images of the records in that particular part of the collection. Looking at these thumbnails can give you a general overview of how much content there is in a particular record. You can also choose the information icon under a thumbnail to view the document information, like full publication title, content source, document type, a short description of the collection, and much more. Selecting any of the thumbnails will bring you to the full-size image in the Fold3 viewer.

Your browse isn’t over once you reach the viewer. From the viewer, you can open the “filmstrip” at the bottom of the page and quickly go to other images within the record. You can also use the “breadcrumbs” (the trail of links) at the top of the viewer to easily navigate to other parts of the collection without having to start your browse over from the beginning.

Another helpful feature is “Search within.” For example, if you’re looking for JEB Stuart in the 1860 Census, and you know he lived in Kansas at that time but aren’t sure which county to look in, select the 1860 census from the browse menu, then choose Kansas. Next, type “J E B Stuart” in the “Search within” box that’s located at the top of the pane and select “Go.” This will search within the Kansas 1860 Census and return a search result for JEB Stuart’s census record. From that, you’ll learn that he was living in Davis County, Kansas. (You can also begin a “search within” by selecting a breadcrumb from the top of the viewer and searching from there.)

For more information on how to browse on Fold3, view our helpful browse tutorial in the Training Center.

D-Day on the USS Quincy

June 1, 2014 by | 43 Comments

June 6 marks the day 70 years ago when Allied troops famously stormed the beaches of Normandy in 1944. On D-Day, more than 160,000 men went up against the Germans’ extensively fortified Atlantic Wall in northern France, breaking through to begin the invasion of German-occupied France. Offshore during this invasion, lending material and gunfire support, were 5,000 ships.

D-Day Invasion-War Theatre #12 (France)One of these ships was the USS Quincy, a heavy cruiser on which Lieutenant Commander John F. Latimer was serving as the assistant communications officer. The Quincy was offshore of Utah Beach during the D-Day landings, and from his position on board, Latimer participated in—and later described—the D-Day invasion.

According to Latimer (in the Personal Interviews section of Fold3’s World War II War Diaries), on D-Day the Quincy worked with spotting planes to fire on and destroy previously assigned targets on shore, mainly batteries. The Quincy also protected Shore Fire Control Parties (SFCP) from enemy fire, and as Latimer reported, the SFCP “sent us fervent thanks for saving their lives on several different occasions.” Although Latimer wasn’t sure how many shore batteries the Quincy engaged on D-Day, he estimated that by 8 o’clock that night, they had expended 70 percent of their approximately 1,000 8″ rounds and about the same amount of their 5″.

The day following D-Day, the Quincy only fired when requested to by SFCP planes, as the ship was low on ammunition. It also received about 20 men, some wounded and “all suffering from more or less exposure,” who had been rescued from the water by torpedo boats after their planes had gone down. The Quincy also retrieved a body from the water, but it was so decomposed it had to be buried at sea.

According to Latimer, the Quincy performed its D-Day mission with no major mistakes, and he attributed this partly to luck “but mostly to thorough preparation, consistent application to the task in hand, excellent leadership, and splendid cooperation.” Although the Quincy was lucky enough not to sustain any casualties on D-Day, this was not the case for others on the invasion force: more than nine thousand Allies were killed or wounded during the Normandy landings.

Search for your D-Day and other World War II heroes in Fold3’s WWII collection, and commemorate their service by creating or expanding a Memorial Page for them on the Honor Wall.

150th Anniversary (1864–2014) This Month in the Civil War: Battle of Cherbourg

June 1, 2014 by | 15 Comments

Civil War Collection 150th Anniversary

June 19, 1864, saw the most famous Confederate raider, the CSS Alabama, sent to the bottom of the ocean after a battle with the USS Kearsarge off the coast of Cherbourg, France. After two years of disrupting U.S. shipping all over the world—and sinking a Union warship in 1863—the Alabama’s captain, Raphael Semmes, took his ship to France for maintenance and repair.

The Kearsarge, captained by John Winslow, followed the Alabama and waited in Cherbourg’s harbor for the Alabama to reemerge. Semmes, aware that he was blockaded in the harbor, decided to challenge the Kearsarge to a ship-to-ship duel. Winslow accepted, and on June 19, a French ironclad escorted the Alabama to meet up with the Kearsarge in international waters.

The Battle of Cherbourg began about 11 a.m., with the Alabama firing the first shots, and lasted about an hour. The Alabama fired faster but less accurately, and its shells and powder were in poor condition. The Kearsarge, firing more deliberately, eventually struck the Alabama below the waterline, causing it to start to sink. Semmes surrendered, but he and some of his crew were rescued by a British yacht and escaped before they could be captured by the Federals.

Medal of Honor Recipients

May 22, 2014 by | 4 Comments

Medal of Honor Recipients by conflictThe Medal of Honor is the U.S. military’s highest award for valor. Discover more about this nation’s bravest heroes by exploring Fold3’s Medal of Honor Recipients title.

Compiled by congressional committee and originally spanning the years 1863 to 1978, Medal of Honor Recipients was recently expanded to include additional names from 1979 to 2013 for more than 3,400 entries on those who received the Medal of Honor.

The first volume (1863–1978) contains an in-depth history of the Medal of Honor. For instance, did you know that in 1917, 910 names were removed from the Medal of Honor Roll because the Board ruled their actions didn’t merit the award? 864 of them were from the same regiment. This first volume also lists recipients by conflict, recipients by state, foreign-born recipients, recipients in alphabetical order, and other (non-recipient) names mentioned in the citations.

Medal of Honor Recipiants listed alphabeticallyThe 1979–2013 addendum encompasses additions and changes to the earlier volume. It includes information on recent recipients, as well as information on those retroactively given the Medal of Honor (including 22 Asian Americans and 7 African Americans from World War II).

Information included—when available—for each Medal of Honor recipient is name and rank, organization (e.g., company and division), the date and place of their Medal of Honor action, their date and place of birth, and the citation text. Recipients come from all branches of service, and although early citations are often shorter, more descriptive citations are available from about World War I on.

Within the pages of Medal of Honor Recipients, each name preceding a citation is selectable. Selecting the name will bring up a box containing basic information pulled from the citation and the Honor Wall. Selecting the person’s name at the top of this box will take you to the person’s Honor Wall page, which you can explore or expand, depending on your preference.

As we approach Memorial Day, take some time to honor this nation’s heroes by learning more about them and their bravery in Fold3’s Medal of Honor Recipients and on the Honor Wall.

Access the World War II Collection

May 12, 2014 by | 11 Comments

This Memorial Day season, explore Fold3’s World War II Collection for free now through May 31st.

WWII DocumentsFind your family heroes in Fold3’s vast collection of WWII documents, records, and images, including draft registration cards, Army enlistment records, Navy muster rolls, “Old Man’s Draft” registration cards, missing air crew reports, casualty lists, and more.

You can also explore records that provide historical context, such as Navy war diaries, submarine patrol reports, naval press clippings, JAG case files, European Theater Army records, US Air Force photos, and beyond. Also included are the extensive Holocaust Collection and the interactive USS Arizona Memorial.

WWII DocumentsRecent Fold3 member discoveries in the World War II Collection have ranged from records about members’ fathers, uncles, grandfathers, and great-uncles to information that helped fill in the timeline of a specific soldier’s service.

Once you’ve found your WWII relatives, make a Memorial Page for them—or for anyone who served in a U.S. conflict—on Fold3’s Honor Wall. If a search of the Honor Wall for the person’s name doesn’t bring up an existing Memorial Page, easily create one yourself. Not only can you include documents and images from Fold3’s collections on a Memorial Page, but you can upload records and photos from your own collection and add facts, stories, and memories to the page. Create, expand, or update as many Memorial Pages as you’d like: the Honor Wall is a great way to commemorate your veteran relatives and ancestors and share their stories with family and friends.

Get started searching the Honor Wall here or exploring the World War II Collection here.

May 30, 1868:
First Official Memorial Day Observance

May 1, 2014 by | 6 Comments

In the years immediately following the Civil War, one way Americans sought to remember the multitudes of war dead was by holding “decoration days”—days on which they would gather to decorate the graves of those who died in the conflict. Although many local groups and communities had their own decoration days, including well-known ones in Waterloo (New York) and Charleston (South Carolina), the first official observance of what would eventually become Memorial Day took place on May 30, 1868.

Memorial Day Ceremony in ChinaThis Decoration Day (it wouldn’t officially be called Memorial Day until 1967) was coordinated by John A. Logan, a former Union general and at the time commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union veteran’s association. In his General Order Number 11, dated May 5, 1868, he designated May 30 “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” In addition to the decoration of graves, Decoration Day was also to be observed with “fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit,” according to Logan.

Veterans and their loved ones, as well as widows, orphans, and other bereaved, responded to Logan’s call with alacrity. That year, 183 cemeteries in 27 states celebrated Decoration Day, and observance only grew in the years that followed. By 1890, all the northern states had made it an official state holiday.

The South didn’t celebrate Logan’s Decoration Day until after World War I, when the holiday shifted from honoring Civil War dead to honoring the American dead of all wars. Instead, Southerners memorialized the Confederate dead locally on days throughout spring and early summer, often on important dates such as Joseph Johnston’s surrender, Stonewall Jackson’s death, or Jefferson Davis’ birthday.

Memorial Day, in the form we know it today, came about in 1967, when Decoration Day was renamed Memorial Day to better reflect contemporary usage. Then, the following year, it was permanently moved from May 30 to the last Monday in May to create a three-day weekend.

This Memorial Day, find your military ancestors on Fold3 and memorialize them by creating or expanding a page for them on the Honor Wall.

150th Anniversary (1864–2014) This Month in the Civil War: Death of JEB Stuart

May 1, 2014 by | 7 Comments

Civil War Collection 150th Anniversary

One hundred and fifty years ago this month, JEB Stuart—famed Confederate cavalry commander—was shot during the Battle of Yellow Tavern and died of his wounds the following day, May 12, 1864. During the battle, which would ultimately prove a Confederate loss, Stuart had been firing at a group of Union soldiers, when one Federal, John A. Huff from the 5th Michigan, took aim and shot Stuart. Hit in his right side below the ribs, Stuart was led off the battlefield, having to switch horses when his own became too nervous. He was finally loaded into an ambulance and taken to his brother-in-law’s home in nearby Richmond.

The doctors found that Stuart had sustained severed blood vessels and a perforated intestine, an extremely painful—and fatal—wound. As he lay dying, Stuart got his affairs in order, received visitors (including Jefferson Davis), and led those around him in singing hymns. His final words were, “I am resigned. God’s will be done.” Stuart died at 7:38 p.m., more than 24 hours after being shot. His wife, [] Flora, didn’t arrive until 4 hours after his death due to the difficulty of travel. He was buried at Hollywood Cemetery.

When Robert E. Lee heard about Stuart’s passing, he remarked, “I can scarcely think about him without weeping.” Stuart would be remembered not only for his flamboyant uniform (which included a red-lined cape, golden spurs, and a plumed hat), but also for his skill as a cavalry commander and his ability to provide Lee with up-to-date intelligence on the Union army.