Thank you to everyone who has responded so passionately with comments and questions about the change from Footnote to Fold3. The fact that so many have responded is a positive reminder that many of you have grown to love the site and the content we offer. It would have been much more discouraging if no one had cared. Here is some additional clarification to address some of the concerns we’ve seen posted:
- Many have voiced concern about what will happen to the non-military content on Fold3. We have not removed any non-military content from the site and we have no plans to remove any non-military content from the site (except possibly some newspapers from content partners who may choose to have their content removed in the future, unrelated to the Fold3 launch). Everything that was on Footnote two days ago and earlier is still accessible today.
- There has been concern about whether or not we will add non-military content in the future. There are some ongoing commitments to produce non-military records, like Homestead Records for example, that will continue to be added to the site even though they are not military records. But the clear focus for new content will be military records. We understand that many of our users love the naturalization records, vital records, census records and city directories found on the site – and all of those we’ve produced will continue to be available on Fold3; but our parent, Ancestry.com, has a fantastic site with an enormous number of naturalization records, vital records, census records and city directories already available and many more being added constantly. We encourage everyone to visit the Ancestry.com site for records beyond what we have on Fold3. There is a very, very large number of military records yet to be digitized and made available online and we are increasing our investment in content production to accelerate the pace of content growth on the site. By focusing on military records, we know we may disappoint some users who wanted to see another copy of US Census records produced or additional city directories, and so on; but we believe we are more likely to succeed at exceeding users’ expectations if we clearly communicate our focus and stick to it rather than trying to excel in creating an optimal user experience for dozens of different types of records.
- Users have asked why they weren’t notified of the change in advance. Notification of members is underway already and emails will continue to be sent over the coming days (it takes a while to send as many email messages as we are sending); so if you haven’t received one yet, you should have it in your inbox soon. We appreciate your patience and are happy to answer any questions you may have.
- Some have wondered what might become of non-military memorial pages and user-uploaded content. All memorial pages and user-uploaded content remains as it was before, meaning that there are tens of millions of non-military memorial pages on the site and we have no plans to limit future memorial pages or user uploads to just military content.
- A few comments have wondered whether Ancestry.com would move all of its military content to Fold3. There are no plans to remove any military content from the Ancestry.com site. While there are some military record collections that make sense to have on both Fold3 and Ancestry.com (like the World War II Old Man’s Draft Cards that we just started adding to Fold3), the content on the Fold3 site has always been mostly distinct content that could not be found on Ancestry.com and that will continue to be true. When we selectively add content from the Ancestry.com site to Fold3, we will be making a separate copy available on Fold3 and not removing the content from Ancestry.com. Similarly, there are some cases where it may make sense for Ancestry.com to selectively copy vital records or other content from Fold3 to Ancestry. But the vast majority of content on each site will continue to be distinct rather than overlapping.
- Other comments have related to whether or not existing partnerships or integration points would continue to function as they do currently, with the FamilySearch integration being mentioned in a couple comments for example. All existing links and integration points are still functioning as they did previously (although it will take some time for all of the text on various sites to be changed from Footnote.com to Fold3). We have no plans to remove any of the linkages between FamilySearch and Fold3 and are very happy with that integration and similar integration points with other sites.
We understand that the change from Footnote to Fold3 is dramatic and that it is very uncomfortable for some users. We hope you will find that the same team that created what you loved under the Footnote brand will bring you content and features you love just as much under the Fold3 brand. We appreciate your support. If you have any account specific questions please visit our Contact Page.