I’ve used footnote.com on just about every research project as well as in the classroom, where it has helped to expand the scope of primary sources that I can introduce to my students.  Recently the company decided on a name change, which you can read about here.  This is a product that I believe in and I am proud to have fold3 as a sponsor of Civil War Memory.  Check it out.

18 comments add yours

  1. I have mixed feelings about this change. I use Footno. . . er, Fold3 almost daily. It’s an essential tool for CW research, when you get down into individual soldiers.

    I understand what I think is the motivation here; they’re playing to their strengths, especially in having Civil War CSRs online. Ancestry seems to have the generalized genealogy market locked up, so it makes sense for Fold3 to focus on military records. But still, my first use of the site had nothing to do with military records, but on salvage claims made for wrecks in the Florida Keys. I’m guessing that Fold3 will either stop adding new records of that sort, or at least drop them to such a lower priority that it will amount to the same thing.

    Finally, some of your readers may not know that the SCV has a deal with Fold3 giving its members access to the database. So that’s all to the good, as well.

    • Andy,

      That’s the sense I get as well. I didn’t know the SCV had a deal with Fold3 – just another tool to help further along the butchering of the past. 🙂

      • Eh, maybe – but if it gives them access to actual records, it could also be a tool to enlightenment.

        I use it almost daily, too. It’s a great tool. I expected there to be some changes after they were bought by Ancestry.com – if this is the direction they’ve chosen to go, I agree it’s the right one.

        I also hope it speeds up the digitalization of the Service Records – it seems that I’ve been waiting for Ohio and Indiana for ever and a day. Or two.

        • The service records available online were digitized from microfilm. All the Confederate CSRs (and Union records for units with southern state designations) were microfilmed decades ago, thanks to a grant from the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Union CSRs were microfilmed much more recently, with limited funding, so only smaller states, smaller categories, and the large body of USCT CSRs were filmed. Kate is likely to wait a very long time indeed for the larger Union states’ CSRs to appear online.

          • Thank you UDC – the perfect project for such an organization and one that benefits all.

  2. Why the name change? Footnote.com gives at least a hint of the service offered, Fold3 is meaningless and I’ll not be surprised if their traffic drops off because of it. When looking for sources Fold3 suggests nothing towards that end.

    One of the links that appeared under the post was a ” reclaim your Sothern American heritage” featuring a youtube video by the detestable KKKirk Lyons but alas, clicking it revealed it is a private video. but aomeone should tell KKKirk that Southern American is already taken and taken by the very people he detests, such delicious irony .

    • I think Fold3 is too cutesy by half, sort of like the “Newseum” in DC — regardless of public education programming they do, it’s hard for me to take them seriously.

      • I have no idea what kind of sales volume they are dealing with, but I assume they are doing what it takes to survive in this economy.

        • Dunno about Fold3, but I read that Ancestry has an insanely large subscriber base of millions, but also has something like a 50% annual turnover because folks subscribe, do their family genealogy stuff, and drop it.

          • Ancestry.com is also insanely expensive – I would think the turnover rate even higher than 50%.

            What I was afraid of was that they’d raise the price of Footnote.com to the same insane levels after they bought it.

            I’m still afraid of that, frankly.

        • I’m reminded of the Vermont Teddy Bear Company’s name change years back to the International Teddy Bear Company. their sales tanked, they smartly reverted to the old name and they survived. a name means a lot and with Teddy Bears they were really selling cuteness, Vermont conjures up quaint snug homeyness while International brings to mind a soulless corporation in a glass, steel and polished aluminium building.
          a bad name can kill a product, something the people pushing the breakfast cereal Muselix should consider, you aren’t going to sell anything with that name in America.

          Dumb ideas are as if not more common than than good ones in business.

          • I really have no idea what information you have that would allow you to conclude that this name change is a “dumb idea.” The more important question is what do you think of the product.

            • I was giving my opinion and gave my reason why in the post.
              Fold3 doesn’t IMO get across what the service might be and it could easily be ignored for that reason.

              Net searches produce a plethora of results and no one is going to sift through them all so a name that identifies what the site is is important, Fold3 doesn’t IMO opinion achieve that.

              feel free to disagree

  3. I feel that the name loses people who are not aware of what it means. Most genealogists I know do not know what it means. They think its something that is made up. Ancestry should’ve made it something like Footnote-Military or something like that.

    I found out by a twitter post and now most of my stuff has been removed by me. Why? Because most of my relations are not in the military and I don’t have any need for it to be in that half-baked website. I do not believe that Ancestry.com intends to keep up the “Other collections” too at least for now its available via contractual agreements.

    Thanks for agreeing on the name thing here. I haven’t heard others mention it as well as its stated here.

  4. I was concerned when Ancestry.com bought Footnote.com, and shocked when the name was changed. My main worry, however, was whether my 172,000+ annotations had survived in the Confederate Citizens and Business File, the Miscellaneous Confederate CSRs, and the Confederate Officer CSRs, as well as over 100 spotlights. Had that happened they would have heard me at corporate headquarters without a phone line. But so far, all is well. I guess, as a librarian and historian, as much as anything I resented their statement that “footnote” seemed to designate something insignificant. Insignificant?? Footnotes/endnotes are the basis of scholarly research. Without them, an article or book is just unsubstantiated opinion or conjecture. Even with them, as we’ve found with the black Confederates research, unless they are traceable and accurate, the whole foundation for an historical assertion can crumble.

    Vicki Betts

  5. I’m not happy about this at all.

    In December, I paid for the World Deluxe Subscription, as I have for the past 5+ years. This is so that I can access everything on Ancestry’s website.

    But I am now not able to do that. They list databases on Ancestry as if they were Ancestry databases; but when you get your search result, it is a Fold3 record and you must have a Fold3 subscription to gain access.

    And Fold3 is not just military records. They have moved some of the Immigration Records over there as well. Immigration Records are not military records, which we have been told is what Fold3 is all about. It feels like a bait-and-switch.

    I’ve been a subscriber in one way or another for 12 years to Ancestry, but this has me very upset.

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