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New Casualty Records

April 19, 2018 by | 0 comments

This month, we’re highlighting some of Fold3’s newest casualty records. Check them out!

US Marine Corps Casualty Indexes
This index contains basic information on U.S. Marine Corps casualties from the World War II and Korean War eras, about 1940–1958. Types of information available may include name, location, cause of death, death date, military unit, and service number. The records are organized alphabetically by surname, then given name.

British Battle Casualties of the Crimean War
This index documents British army and navy battle casualties during the Crimean War. It was compiled from contemporary editions of the London Gazette and contains approximately 16,000 names. Types of information available may include name, rank, regiment, regiment number, sub-unit, battle, soldier status, enquiry date, and print date. The records are organized by regiment, then the individual’s name.

British WWI Wounded and Missing
This index lists wounded and missing British, Australian, Canadian, and South African military personnel in all theaters of World War I about whom enquiries were made to the British Red Cross or Order of St. John. Information available may include name, notes, enquiry date, rank, regiment, sub-unit, regiment number, battalion, company, theater, and missing or wounded date. The records are organized by theater, regiment, then the individual’s name.

UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
These records document the money owed to soldiers in the British army who died in service between 1901 and 1929. A small number of soldiers discharged as “insane” are also included. Information available may include the name, regiment, and rank of the soldier, his next of kin and their relationship, the date and place of death, plus the details of the money owed. The records are organized by payment center, year range, then register number.

Get started searching or browsing these titles and more on Fold3!

Bataan Death March Begins: April 9, 1942

April 1, 2018 by | 253 Comments

April 9, 1942, marks the beginning of the Bataan Death March, in which tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers were forced on a grueling 65-mile trek across the Philippine island of Luzon, following their surrender to the Japanese. Thousands of men died on the march, and thousands more would die later in POW camps.

Fold3 Image - Photos from the Bataan Death March
Directly after the bombing at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese bombed Clark Field in the Philippines as part of their campaign to take control of Southeast Asia. This and other raids left the Philippines without air power when the Japanese landed 43,000 troops on the main island of Luzon on December 22, 1941. The American and Filipino troops, under General Douglas MacArthur, retreated to the Bataan peninsula, where they resisted the Japanese for months, enduring starvation, disease, and exhaustion in addition to the fighting.

Finally, on April 9, 1942, Major General Edward King surrendered all 76,000 American and Filipino troops under his command to the Japanese. (General MacArthur had by this time evacuated first to Corregidor, then Australia.) The prisoners of war were divided by the Japanese into groups of 100 to begin the journey to the POW camps at Camp O’Donnell.

The arduous 65-mile trek in blazing hot temperatures lasted about 5 to 10 days, and the already enervated men were allowed little food or water. They also faced numerous instances of brutality by their Japanese captors, from beatings to killings

The men were marched dozens of miles to a rail station at San Fernando, where they were crammed a hundred at a time into boxcars meant for 40. Additional men died on this train journey from suffocation, exhaustion, and dehydration. Estimates vary widely, but at least 500 Americans and 2,500 Filipinos (though likely far many more) died on the march and in the boxcars.

Things did not improve for the tens of thousands of men who survived to reach the POW camps. There were far more prisoners of war than the Japanese had anticipated, and conditions in the camps were horrific. Several hundred men died a day, with total deaths in the camps estimated at around 1,500 Americans and 26,000 Filipinos.

After the war, the Bataan Death March was designated a war crime, and various Japanese military leaders were executed or imprisoned for their role in it.

Do you have any relatives who are Bataan survivors? Share their stories with us! Or find more information about the battle and ensuing march by searching on Fold3.

Free Access to Fold3’s Civil War Collection, April 1–15

April 1, 2018 by | 4 Comments

Gun squad at drill
To commemorate the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, Fold3 is providing free access (with registration) to our Civil War Collection from April 1–15. This collection currently has 50 titles, with more than 91 million records, so if you’re looking for information on the Civil War veterans in your family tree—or doing other Civil War-era research—now is the perfect time to explore these records on Fold3.

Here’s a brief look at just a few of Fold3’s Civil War titles:

Popular Titles

Confederate Records

Can’t find your Civil War ancestor on Fold3? You can still use Fold3 to learn about what your ancestor’s military service may have been like. Here are a few ideas, though the possible uses of the Civil War Collection are endless!

  • Use the Brady and Civil War photo collections, as well as the Civil War Horse Soldier Artifacts Collection, to learn what life was like for soldiers during the war, including what uniforms and firearms were common, what military camps and headquarters were like, what battlefields and forts looked like, etc.
  • Look through the Service Records and “Widows’ Pensions” of men who were in the same company, regiment, etc., as your ancestor to learn more about what battles he may have been involved in and the movements of his unit.
  • If you have Confederate ancestors, explore the Confederate Casualty Reports for your ancestor’s unit to learn about casualty rates and even read narrative reports of actions your ancestor may have been involved in.

Get started searching or browsing Fold3’s Civil War Collection!

New Women’s Records on Fold3!

March 22, 2018 by | 2 Comments

Fold3 Image - British WWI Honourable Women
March is Women’s History Month. Come explore two of Fold3’s newest collections of women’s records: British WWI Honourable Women and British WWI Service Women Casualties.

British WWI Honourable Women
This collection is a reproduction of a book entitled Honourable Women of the Great War & the Women’s (War) Who’s Who. The book gives brief biographies of more than 200 British society women who participated in the WWI war effort through nursing, charitable work, etc. Photos of some women are also included. In addition to discussing the women’s war work, each entry provides a wide range of genealogical and social information, such as parents’ names, husband’s name, marriage date, hometown, hobbies, club membership, and more. The book’s entries are arranged in alphabetical order by surname. However, note that many of the married women included in this book are referred to by their title or surname only, or by their husband’s name or initials, rather than by their given name.

British WWI Service Women Casualties
Like the title indicates, this index documents British servicewomen and nurses who became casualties of World War I. Early in the war, women were primarily involved in the war effort through nursing, caring for refugees, and assisting and caring for wounded servicemen. But as the war progressed, women’s branches of the armed forces were created, and as a result women also served in organizations such as the Women’s Army Corps, Women’s Royal Navy, and Women’s Royal Air Force. On Fold3, this index is organized first by the organization the woman served with, then by given name in alphabetical order.

Get started searching or browsing these two collections on Fold3!

Battle of Guilford Courthouse: March 15, 1781

March 1, 2018 by | 101 Comments

On March 15, 1781, British and American troops clashed at Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, in one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolution and the largest battle in the southern theater. Though the British would technically emerge the victors, the cost of their victory would prove devastatingly high.

Fold3 Image - Statue of Nathanael Greene
Throughout February 1781, the British army under General Charles Cornwallis had been pursuing General Nathanael Greene’s American force through the Carolinas. Although Greene made it to relative safety in Virginia, he decided to lead his troops back into North Carolina to face the British.

Greene took his stand at Guilford Courthouse, a densely wooded area. He arranged his roughly 4,500 troops (about twice the British number) in three defensive lines, spaced a few hundred yards apart, with no men held in reserve. The North Carolina militia was in the front (flanked on either side by cavalry, light infantry, and riflemen), the Virginia militia was behind them, and the Virginia and Maryland Continentals were in the back, off slightly to the right.

The British arrived on March 15th after marching 12 miles. They attacked the Americans’ forward line, with some of the British getting diverted into fights with the cavalry and other troops on the American right and left flanks. When the Americans’ first line crumbled, the British then pushed forward to fight the second line. The American right of this line gave way, while the left held out a while longer.

When the right of the American second line crumbled, the British pushed forward again to encounter the center of the American third line. However, this part of the line contained the most experienced of the American troops, and they succeeded in repelling the British.

Meanwhile, when the left of the American second line finally gave way, the British attacked the far left of the American third line. This evolved into brutal, close fighting, and Cornwallis made the decision to fire his 3-pound guns into the melee. This resulted in casualties on both sides but did make the Americans fighting there pull back.

When Greene saw that the British had reformed their lines and were preparing to attack again, he made the decision to retreat. Cornwallis sent some of his troops to pursue the Americans, but his men were too exhausted to be effective.

With the American retreat, the British were left in command of the field, but their victory was costly. The British had suffered a much higher casualty rate than the Americans, at 27 percent to the Americans’ 6 percent. Cornwallis’ army had been significantly damaged, and this would contribute to his surrender at Yorktown later that year.

Do you have ancestors who fought in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse? Tell us about them. Or learn more about the battle on Fold3.

Texas and California Added to the WWII Draft Registration Cards Collection!

February 22, 2018 by | 16 Comments

Example WWII Draft Registration Card
Fold3 has added two new states to its collection of U.S. WWII Draft Registration Cards! The collection (from the National Archives) now includes Texas and California. The cards in this collection are registration cards for the draft and do not necessarily indicate that the individual served in the military.

There were seven draft registration periods in the United States for World War II service. The first draft registration was held on October 16, 1940—before the United States had entered the war. Men ages 21–36 were required to register at their local draft board. The second draft registration was also held prior to the American entrance into the war, on July 1, 1941. This registration was for men who had turned 21 since the previous registration date nine months earlier.

The third (February 16, 1942) and fifth (June 30, 1942) registration periods expanded the ages required to register; the age ranges for the third were extended to 20–21 and 35–44, while the fifth extended them to ages 18–20. The sixth registration (December 10–31, 1942) was for men who had turned 18 since the fifth registration six months prior. There was also a seventh registration, known as the “Extra Registration,” from November 16 to December 31, 1943, which was for American men ages 18–44 who were living abroad.

The cards from the fourth registration (April 27, 1942; for men ages 45–64) are not included in the WWII Draft Registration Cards but in Fold3’s WWII “Old Man’s Draft” Registration Cards collection.

Information on the WWII Draft Registration Cards may include the man’s name, address, telephone number, age, place of birth, country of citizenship, name and address of the person who will always know the registrant’s address, employer’s name, place of employment, and a description of the registrant.

Get started searching or browsing the WWII Draft Registration Cards on Fold3!

Black History Month 2018 – Access Black History Records

February 1, 2018 by | 13 Comments

Black History Month

In recognition of Black History Month, Fold3 is making the records in its Black History collection available for free through the end of February.

Whether you’re searching for your ancestors or looking for primary documents to help with other research, the Black History collection gives you access to more than a million documents, records, and photos that help to capture the African-American experience during five eras of American history: Slavery, The Civil War, Reconstruction & Jim Crow Laws, World War I & II, and the Civil Rights Movement

Recontruction and Jim Crow LawsAll the titles in our Black History collection contain valuable insight into the history of African-Americans, but titles that are especially rich in information include:

Some examples of interesting records you can find in the Black History collection include:

  • An 1810 inventory for the estate of Joseph Morton, a “free black man”
  • An 1827 inventory for the estate of Thomas Drayton that lists his 160 slaves by family group
  • A Civil War—era photograph of black laborers
  • The service record of Christian A. Fleetwood of the US Colored Infantry, who earned the Medal of Honor during the Civil War
  • A photograph of 3 members of the original black fighter squadron in WWII

Get started searching Fold3’s Black History records here. Or look for individual collections by name here.