The American Battle Monuments Commission Website

Having served in the U.S. Army, I’m always checking to see if any of my former “Battle Buddies” have lost their lives. This has led me to look for the names and records of soldiers lost in other conflicts. The American Battle Monuments website is one of the better sites.


Established by Congress in 1923, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) commemorates the service, achievements, and sacrifice of U.S. armed forces. ABMC manages 24 overseas military cemeteries, and 26 memorials, monuments, and markers. Nearly all the cemeteries and memorials specifically honor those who served in World War I or World War II.

The sacrifice of more than 218,000 U.S. servicemen and women is memorialized at these locations. Nearly 125,000 American war dead are buried at ABMC cemeteries, with an additional 94,000 individuals commemorated on Tablets of the Missing.

Visit their Website to learn more.

Records are easily available – simply search by: War, Soldiers Name, Cemetery, State of Origin, or Unit

ABMC maintains several databases, including:

  • Those interred at the American World War I and World War II cemeteries overseas.
  • The missing in action from World War I and World War II who are memorialized on Tablets of the Missing within the cemeteries and on three memorials in the United States.
  • Those killed worldwide during the Korean War.
  • War dead and veterans of the Mexican War, Civil War and Spanish-American War who are buried at the ABMC cemeteries in Corozal, Panama and Mexico City.
  • The missing in action of the Vietnam War memorialized at the Honolulu Memorial.
  • All interments at Corozal American Cemetery, including civilians who built and operated the Panama Canal.

Here are two exampels of what you may find

World War II

Ernest H. Anderson
Captain, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # O-725397
772nd Bomber Squadron, 463rd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Washington
Died: 19-Mar-44
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Florence American Cemetery
Florence, Italy
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart

Korean War

Paul Harris
Unknown City, Alaska
Born 1920
Sergeant, U.S. Army
Service Number 39950756
Died while Prisoner of War
Died February 4, 1951 in Korea
Sergeant Harris was a member of the 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was taken Prisoner of War while fighting the enemy in Korea on November 26, 1950 and died while a prisoner on February 4, 1951. Sergeant Harris was awarded the Prisoner of War Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

Visit their Website to learn more.

Written by Dale R. Meitzler

Google is Mapping Arlington National Cemetery

Google is about to post a walk-through of Arlington National Cemetery. Although some headstones photographed with the walk-through might not be as clear and readable as others, it is said that many will for more legible than those currently posted at the Cemetery website (not bad in itself!), as the photography is being done in very high resolution. The site is scheduled to be live in May of 2014, in time for the 150th Anniversary of the Cemetery.

The following excerpt is from an article by Cecelia Kang, published in the October 20, 2013 edition of the Washington Post:

The walk through Arlington National Cemetery on a beautiful October day was being captured by Google for anyone to experience with a few keystrokes or the swipe of a smartphone screen.

Google on Sunday began its project to map the cemetery by collecting millions of photos and stitching them together to re-
create the feeling of strolling the iconic burial ground of presidents and soldiers.

Online users will be able to zoom in close enough to read some grave markers. Or zoom out for panoramas of rolling hills dotted with thousands of white headstones. Or experience a 360-degree view of the resting place of America’s service members.

Read the full article.

Visit the offical website of Arlington National Cemetery and check out the 400,000 fully indexed and searchable headstones on the site.

Remembering Our Veterans: FamilySearch Adds New Indexed Record Collections from WWII, Korean War, & Vietnam War

The following is from FamilySearch August 6, 2013:
FamilySearch has recently added more than 43.6 million indexed records and images from BillionGraves, Italy, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 10 new indexed war records collections, including: the United States, World War II Prisoners of War of the Japanese, 1941-1945, collection, the United States, Korean War Battle Deaths, 1950-1957, collection, and the United States, Casualties of the Vietnam War, 1956-1998, collection . See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at

Searchable historic records are made available on through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Collection – Indexed Records – Digital Images – Comments

BillionGraves Index – 393,089 – 393,089 – Added index records and images to an existing collection.

Italy, Cuneo, Saluzzo, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1866-1942 – 0 – 623,212 – Added images to an existing collection.

Italy, Pola and Trieste, Catholic Church Records, 1593-1941 – 0 – 13,143 – New browsable image collection.

U.S., Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1891 – 461,040 – 0 – Added index records to an existing collection.

United States, American Prisoners of War During the Korean War, 1950-1953 – 4,714 – 0 – New indexed record collection.

United States, Casualties of Army Personnel, Dependents and Civilian Employees, 1961-1981 – 70,010 – 0 – New indexed record collection.

United States, Casualties of the Vietnam War, 1956-1998 – 58,965 – 0 – New indexed record collection.

United States, Index to the Gorgas Hospital Mortuary Registers, 1906-1991 – 26,212 – 0 – New indexed record collection.

United States, Japanese Americans Relocated During World War II, 1942-1946 – 109,368 – 0 – New indexed record collection.

United States, Korean War Battle Deaths, 1950-1957 – 33,642 – 0 – New indexed record collection.

United States, Korean War Dead and Army Wounded, 1950-1953 – 109,961 – 0 – New indexed record collection.

United States, Korean War Repatriated Prisoners of War, 1950-1954 – 4,447 – 0 – New indexed record collection.

United States, Military Personnel who Died During the Vietnam War, 1956-2003 – 58,230 – 0 – New indexed record collection.

United States, Public Records Index – 41,290,300 – 0 – Added index records to an existing collection.

United States, World War II Prisoners of War of the Japanese, 1941-1945 – 29,879 – 0 – New indexed record collection.

Neglect of a South Korean Cemetery Where North Korean and Chinese “Enemy” Soldiers are Buried

The following teaser is from an AP story posted at

PAJU, South Korea (AP) — Just south of the Demilitarized Zone, hundreds of identical wooden grave markers poke out of the grass on a hill surrounded by rice paddies and trees, North Korea’s dark mountains visible in the distance. Some are rotting; some have been knocked to the dirt; most have no names.

They call this the “enemy cemetery,” though of the two nations whose soldiers are buried here, only North Korea is still considered an enemy by the South. The other, China, has inspired proposals for improving this site, but bitter feelings for the North have formed a seemingly impassable barrier.

China is now a major trading and diplomatic partner, and a significant source of tourists to South Korea. Many might come here to honor their war dead if a more fitting memorial were built, especially on a day like Friday, the anniversary of the 1953 armistice that halted the Korean War.

At least a few Chinese have visited this cemetery near the border with North Korea, though there is not even a parking lot at the site. They often are saddened by what they see.

“My fellow countrymen were left in the wild by themselves. So lonely,” Chinese businessman Huang Zhun said in Beijing. The son of a Korean War veteran who survived, he visited the cemetery last year to honor those who died.

South Korean government collected the scattered remains of about 770 North Koreans and 270 Chinese and buried them here in 1996, calling it a humanitarian measure. Most of the dead are unidentified.

Read the Full Article.

Also found in the Huffington Post.

27 Million New Records & Images of U.S. Marine Corps Activities During WW II & Korean War Now Available on

PROVO, UT- (Marketwire – May 24, 2012) – (NASDAQ: ACOM), the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced that more than 27 million new records and images detailing U.S. Marine Corps activities during World War II and the Korean War are now available on The records of many notable celebrities, including baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams, actress Bea Arthur and accused JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald are part of this valuable collection. Revealing details about many iconic figures in American history who served in the U.S. Marine Corps can be found, as well as the compelling stories of Marines — infamous, famous or simply family — who helped shape history from 1940 to 1958.

For family members who have their own heroes listed in this newly expanded collection, seeing the details of a loved one’s time in the military can be particularity poignant. Often the records can provide a snapshot of the sacrifices made by these Marines to protect American freedom. For the nearly 25,000 U.S. Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice in WWII and the Korean War, these records mean their stories will never be lost. Their contributions and sacrifices have been captured and will be remembered far beyond Memorial Day 2012.

Compelling celebrity stories include:

  • Ted Williams – The nineteen-time MLB All-Star served in both World War II and the Korean War. An interesting side note is that Williams almost never enlisted at all. At the onset of World War II, Williams stated he was unable to enlist due to family financial concerns. A reluctance to enlist in the military at the time of World War II, for whatever reason, was considered unacceptable — even for professional athletes. One of Williams’ sponsors, Quaker Oats, withdrew their endorsement contract after getting word that Williams would not be enlisting. On May 22, 1942, after much public criticism, Williams enlisted as a naval aviator in the Marines Corps and later served as a flight instructor in Pensacola, Florida. His skills as a pilot were put to the test when, during the Korean War in 1953, the hydraulics and electrical systems of his aircraft were knocked out by a piece of flak during a raid. Despite damage to the aircraft, Williams was able to land at a nearby U.S. Air Force field and, for his actions that day, was awarded the Air Medal.
  • Bea Arthur – Also joining the war effort was actress Bea Arthur, known for her role on The Golden Girls 40 years after the conclusion of World War II. At the time of her enlistment at Marine Headquarters in Washington, D.C., Arthur went by her maiden name, Beatrice Frankel. Starting as a private, Arthur worked her way up to the rank of staff sergeant before her honorable discharge in September 1945. In later interviews, Arthur denied serving in the Marines; however,’s records clearly indicate she was enlisted between 1943 and 1945.
  • Lee Harvey Oswald – Marine Corps Muster Rolls not only include the name, rank and enlistment date of Marines, but also remarks on their service and prison/punishment details. Searching the records for Lee Harvey Oswald — the man the FBI claimed to have assassinated President Kennedy — reveals Oswald began his career in the Marines at the El Toro Air Station in October 1956, seven years before the assassination of JFK. At that time, Oswald held the rank of private. A year later, in 1957, the collection records shows Oswald moved from El Toro Air Station in California to Atsugi Naval Air Facility in Japan. Oswald was promoted to the rank of private first class, only to be demoted back to the rank of private and given medical treatment after he accidently shot himself in the arm.
  • Other celebrities referenced in the collection include: Steve McQueen, F. Lee Bailey, Gene Hackman, Dan Rather, Jim Lehrer, Harvey Keitel, Ed McMahon and Mills Lane.

“The additions to the U.S. Marine Corps Muster Roll collection on help us honor those men and women who left their homes and families in order to secure freedom for future generations,” said Daniel Jones, VP of Content, “While it’s always exciting to see so many celebrity names in a collection, the real value is providing millions of Americans who have family members in the Marines important information about where and when their ancestors served.”

About the Marine Corp. Muster Rolls
The collection, which spans 19 years, contains U.S. Marine Corps Personnel Rosters, Muster Rolls and Unit Diaries from 1940 to 1958, which encompasses the United States’ involvement in WWII and the Korean War. Personnel Rosters were completed monthly and included the names of each person at each duty station, their rank, service number and military occupational specialty. Muster Rolls and Unit Diaries often include a bit more detail and were also prepared monthly. Muster Rolls can include prison or punishment details and Unit Diaries can contain remarks about a particular soldier’s service. The records are searchable, making it easy to discover and, in some cases, follow a veteran’s military career from start to finish. has the largest collection of U.S. military records available online, now with more than 150 million records.

To view and search this latest addition to the military records, go to

About Inc. (NASDAQ: ACOM) is the world’s largest online family history resource, with more than 1.9 million paying subscribers. More than 10 billion records have been added to the site in the past 15 years. Ancestry users have created more than 34 million family trees containing approximately 4 billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site, offers several localized Web sites designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.

A Review of “Hey, America, Your Roots are Showing“

Several weeks ago, my friend, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, sent me a copy of her new book. It’s titled “Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing.” I finally got the chance to sit down and read it cover to cover. Megan knows how to write, with several successful books behind her. However, in my humble opinion, this time she’s outdone herself. The book is brilliant – and should be required reading for any genealogist that wishes to sharpen their skills. I’ve been reading and editing genealogy books and articles as a profession for 30 years. This is without a doubt the best genealogy book I’ve ever read.

In full disclosure, I’ve known Megan for many years, and she’s a friend. However, she’s also arguably one of the very best genealogists in the country, if not on planet Earth. Megan can find the living as well as the dead – and she has the skills to do it quickly. This 288-page book is made up of first-hand accounts about how Megan has gone about doing the research that has made her famous. She has been on more network television talk shows and genealogy-related programs than any of the other genealogists that I know. Sure – this came about principally because of celebrity research, but there were many hours of sleuthing required before the 15 minutes of fame in a network studio.

The book covers a wide variety of topics, as Megan has been involved in many types of genealogical quests. Each of the chapters tells a story. She details the story well enough that any of us can come away with research ideas we may never have considered before. There’s a lot to be learned here.

The Foreword is written by Henry Louis Gates, Jr – and Ken Burns added this note to the back cover, “Megan Smolenyak2 decodes our fascinating complicated past, in this tour de force of detective work.” Wow! Ken Burns on the back cover! Now that’s something to be proud of.

Following is a list of the chapters:
Foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Introduction: Rewriting History
1. No Man Left Behind (for real)
A decade of forensic consulting for the Army
2. Famous Cousins
Barak Obama and Sarah Palin are related – “Yawn”
3. Serial Centenarians
Could two relatives who knew each other live in four centuries?
4. Alex Hailey Was Scottish?
Uncovering the unexpected heritage of Roots author, Alex Hailey, through DNA
5. Egyptian Roots in a Hurry
Researching Hota Kotb’s roots for the Today show on a fierce deadline.
6. A House Divided, A Bible Shared
The strange travels of a Civil War-era Bible.
7. There’s No One as Irish as Barack Obama
Tracing his roots to the Auld Sod.
8. Unclaimed Persons
Why you should call your estranged brother.
9. Adventures in TV Land
You need what by when?
10. Finding Melvina, Michelle Obama’s Great, Great, Great Grandmother
How do you trace a slave girl in South Carolina?
11. The Road to the First Lady’s Roots
Road-tripping to discover all that’s not online about Michelle Obama’s heritage.
12. King of America
Who would rule America today if George Washington had been king?
13. Skeletons in the Turret
Could DNA reveal the identity of the men of the USS Monitor?
14. Anatomy of an Adoption Search
Helping adoptees discover who they are.
15. The Slave Who Rescued Freedom
Rediscovering Phillip Reed, without whom the capital would look very different.
16. No, Your Name Wasn’t Changed at Ellis Island
Why you shouldn’t fall for this popular myth.
17. Paralyzed Prostitute
Following the trail of an Oregon madam.
18. Half a Negro Boy
Finding a hidden connection between Al Sharpton and Strom Thurmond.
19. A Lonely Tombstone on the Sidewalks of Manhattan
The wandering memorial of a Jewish pioneer goes home.
20. Grandma Stepped Out
My accidental genetic discovery.
21. They Call Me Yak-Yak
What I learned from helping the FBI with civil rights cold cases.
22. Annie Moore, Ellis Island’s First
Rectifying a case of historical identity theft.


To purchase a copy of Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing, click here. $15.63.

Air Force Records: A Guide for Family Historians

Air Force Records: A Guide for Family Historians, Second Edition is part of a series of books covering military records available at the British National Archives. From the Boer War, through two World Wars, Korea, Kenya, Suez, and other interwar actions, this book provides the necessary information for genealogists to trace ancestors who served in any of the many British air forces. The earliest service records predate mechanical flight with the Royal Engineers Balloon Section. Other forces include the Royal Flying Corps, the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF), Glider Pilot Regiment, Fleet Air Arm, and the Royal Naval Air Services.

Each service is reviewed with an historical overview. Key records created and used by various government agencies which administrated the flying services and personnel are noted and referenced. Records types include operational record books, unit war diaries, individual service records, medal rolls, gallantry awards and casualty lists. Guidance is given with a focus on the National Archives, but also c0vers other resources including various museums and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Like so many books reviewed on this site, Air Force Records is an interesting read just for the historical insights it provides. This book is also exceptionally well organized with plenty of pictures and sample documents. The family historian will be able to quickly identify similar documents when conducting their own research. With a primary focus on the National Archives, the author provides useful instructions for accessing records located at the Archives, including using and searching the online catalogue. Each year, more and more of the records are digitized and placed in the DocumentsOnline section of the National Archvies’ website.

The author, William Spencer, works as the principal military specialist at the National Archives. He previously served 13 years in the Fleet Air Arm and holds a MA in War Studies from the Department of War Studies at King’s College. We have previously another book in this series by Spencer, First World War Army Service Records: A Guide for Family Historians.

Note: The British National Archives are no longer in the “publishing” business. First World War Army Service Records and other books previously published by the National Archives are in limited supply and may not be available in the future.

Table of Contents


Using The National Archives


1 Military Flying Up to 1914

  • The Royal Engineers and their Balloons
  • The Royal Flying Corps
  • The Royal Naval Air Service

2 Royal Flying Corps, Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Air Force up to 1918

  • The Royal Flying Corp
  • The Royal Naval Air Service
  • The Royal Air Force and Women’s Royal Air Force

3 Royal Air Force, Fleet Air Arm, Glider Pilot Regiment and Army Air Corps From 1919

  • Royal Air Force
  • Fleet Air Arm
  • Glider Pilot Regiment and Army Air Corps

4 Royal Engineers Balloon Section Records of Service

  • Officers
  • Other Ranks
  • Case Studies

5 Royal Flying Corps Records of Service

  • Officers
  • Airmen
  • Case Studies

6 Royal Naval Air Service Records of Service

  • Officers
  • Ratings
  • Case Study

7 Royal Air Force and Women’s Royal Air Force Records of Service

  • Officers
  • Airmen
  • Women’s Royal Air Force
  • Special Operations Executive
  • Case Study

8 Operational Records

  • Royal Engineers Balloon Section
  • Royal Flying Corps
  • Royal Naval Air Service
  • Royal Air Force: First World War
  • Royal Air Force: Inter-war Years
  • Royal Air Force: Second World War and After
  • Fleet Air Arm
  • Glider Pilot Regiment and Army Air Corps: Second World War and After

9 Casualties and Air Crashes

  • Casualties
  • Air Crashes

10 Medals and Awards

  • Royal Engineers Balloon Section: Campaign Medals
  • Royal Flying Corps: Campaign Medals
  • Royal Naval Air Service: Campaign Medals
  • Royal Air Force: Campaign Medals
  • Awards for Gallantry and Meritorious Service
  • Royal Air Force Awards
  • Fleet Air Arm Awards
  • Glider Pilot Regiment and Army Air Corps Awards
  • The London Gazette
  • Long Service Awards
  • Coronation and Jubilee Medals

11 Court Martial

  • Admiralty Records
  • War Office Records
  • Air Ministry Records
  • Supreme Court Records

12 Prisoners of War and War Crimes

  • First World War
  • Second World War
  • War Crimes
  • Missing Personnel

13 Medical Records

  • Records up to 1918
  • Inter-war Records
  • Second World War Records
  • Post-Second World War Medical Records

14 Photographs

15 Records Held by Other Institutions

  • Fleet Air Arm Museum
  • Royal Engineers Museum
  • Museum of Army Flying
  • Airborne Forces Museum
  • Imperial War Museum
  • Royal Air Force Museum
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission

16 Research Techniques

  • Printed Sources
  • The London Gazette Online
  • Aids to Research

Appendix 1: RAF Ranks

Appendix 2: Useful Addresses

Appendix 3: Unit Abbreviations

Appendix 4: Royal Naval Air Stations

Appendix 5: Command and Organizations found in AIR 24

Appendix 6: Regimental Order of Precedence

Further Reading and Websites



Air Force Records: A Guide for Family Historians, Second Edition is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: TNA02, Price: $24.45.


National Archives Dedicates the New National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis & Makes 3 New Videos Available

The formal dedication of the new National Personnel Records Center took place this last Saturday, October 15, 2011. To celebrate the dedication, the Archives made up three videos that take us behind the scenes. These National Archives’ produced videos are available on the National Archives YouTube Channel, and are copyright free, so we’re posting the descriptions and links to all three videos right here on Enjoy!

Did you know that the archival reconstruction and preservation of records burned in the 1973 Personnel Records Center fire still continues and will for many years to come? Learn more about these efforts in second and third videos below.

Veterans Personnel Records at the National Archives, St. Louis (Runs 3:43)

This video illustrates the primary purpose of NPRC – to preserve the nation’s military personnel files in perpetuity and to make them available to veterans and other interested parties. Air Force veteran and NPRC archives technician Bruce Bronsema – using his own personnel file – demonstrates how veterans can request copies of their records with a simple on-line application (available at NPRC receives 4,000 to 5,000 requests each day for military personnel records and according to NPRC director Scott Levins, responds to 90 percent of those requests within ten days. Levins leads viewers through the process from beginning to end, showing where the records are stored, how they are retrieved and copied and then mailed to requestors. Click on the Illustration to view the video here or click here to view the video at YouTube.

Preservation Lab at the National Archives, St. Louis (Runs 3:18)

Go behind-the-scenes to see NPRC’s new state-of-the-art preservation lab. In 1973 a fire in NPRC’s former building destroyed 18 million military personnel files. Six million more were recovered with varying degrees of fire and water damage. As individual files are requested, preservation technicians painstakingly treat the documents for damage and mold. Preservation officer Marta O’Neill and her staff demonstrate the arduous work required to preserve these permanent records of the United States. The preservation lab also treats archival microfilm, an extensive process shown in the video. In the digital section of the preservation lab, military personnel files of “Persons of Exceptional Prominence” are scanned and the images transferred to CDs. In this manner frequently-requested records are removed from circulation and preserved, even as their contents are made available to the public. And in a startling display of digital technology, viewers see how text seemingly lost to fire damage can be restored to legibility. Click on the Illustration to view the video here or click here to view the video at YouTube.

Public Research Room at the National Archives, St. Louis (Runs 2:49)

The new NPRC building features a research room open to the general public. This video provides a tour of the room and the resources available to genealogists, historians and anyone with an interest in researching archival military personnel records. Among those featured in the video are a couple searching for information on a long-deceased half-brother; a military historian looking at the use of the death penalty during World War II; NPRC’s two archives specialists – Susan Nash and Donna Noelken — who together have more than 60 years experience with the holdings and whose full-time job is to assist the public. As research room manager Whitney Mahar says, “We are the public face of the Archives in St. Louis.” Click on the Illustration to view the video here or click here to view the video at YouTube. Announces New Focus on Historical U.S. Military Records & Changes Name to Fold3 has long been one of my favorite websites. I’ve had a personal subscription for years, and plan to keep it for a long time. The site is reasonably priced, and the data is etrememely valuable for any genealogist with American roots. The decision has now been made to change their name to Fold3. I kinda’ like it. The emphasis of the website will be on United States Military records. This makes sense, as the site is already the premier place to look for U.S. Military data online – and it will set the site apart somewhat from, it’s parent company.

The following news release was received from Heather Erickson at

New Brand will Honor and Remember those who have Served

LINDON, UTAH — (August 18, 2011), a premier destination for discovering family history records, today announced it will now focus primarily on offering the finest and most comprehensive collection of U.S. Military records available on the internet. The site gathers the most valuable U.S. military records, photos and stories to help family historians and others discover and share the memories of those who served.

As part of this new focus, the name of the site will change from Footnote to Fold3. The Fold3 name is derived from the third fold in a traditional military flag folding ceremony which “is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.”

Fold3 is the web’s premier collection and destination for original U.S. military records, helping people find and share more than 74 million images of historical documents and photos. These records include valuable collections from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, World Wars I and II and America’s more recent engagements in Vietnam and elsewhere. Specializing in digitization of paper, microfilm and microfiche collections, Fold3 brings many never-before-seen historic documents to the web through patented processes and unique partnerships with The National Archives and other institutions. This combination of innovative technology and access to strategic partners provides subscribers with an easy way to search original documents and discover stories about the people, places and events in the conflicts that shaped America and the world.

“We have already begun expanding Fold3’s robust military collection to include new pension application files and draft cards,” said Brian Hansen, General Manager of Fold3. “It’s truly gratifying to help researchers easily discover at home what they previously could find only by traveling to an archive.”

Fold3’s significant collections illuminate history that was once hidden. For example, Fold3’s World War II photos, Missing Air Crew Reports and JAG case files include detailed information about the ordeal of Louis Zamperini, subject of the New York Times Best Seller, Unbroken. Similar stories about millions of service men and women lie undiscovered within the records available on Fold3.

Fold3 will continue to operate as a subsidiary of, the world’s largest online family history resource, which acquired Fold3 as part of its purchase of iArchives in 2010. In addition to connecting more closely to its military collection, the rebranding helps distinguish Fold3’s value as a highly complementary brand to Many family historians and genealogists may use to find an ancestor who served in the military and then use Fold3 to discover the details of their service.

To begin searching for your family’s military history, go to

About Fold3
Fold3 offers the web’s premier collection of original military records, gathering the best U.S. military records, photos and stories to help customers discover and share the stories of those who served. With more than 74 million historical record images already online and more being added every day, brings the details of America’s military service to life.

I am proud to say that has an affiliate relationship with

Thieves Make Off With Priceless War Memorial Plaques

I’m afraid this is the kind of story that makes my blood boil. Memorial plaques with names of deceased veterans were stolen, probably with the object of selling them for scrap. The plaques held many names, and at this point it looks like it isn’t known what all those names were. I’m hoping that someone photographed the plaques at some point and can come forward with them, or better yet, that the thieves are caught and the plaques returned. Following is a teaser from the January 7, 2011 edition of the Mail Online.

Denuded War Memorial

Police are investigating the theft of eight bronze plaques from a foreign war memorial in Maryland that stood proudly for decades as a tribute to the bravery of its troops.

Thieves have not only stolen the memorial plaques but the only official list of all the veterans who died that belonged to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6919 in Morningside [Maryland].

‘It’s hearbreaking to have this happen to us’, Post Commander and Vietnam veteran James Holland said. ‘I’m angry because it happened. Not knowing if we’re going to get them back. So the anger just builds up. More and more and more.’

Five plaques weighing 120 pounds each were taken. They listed the names of the deceased veterans who belonged to the Post dating back to World War I.

Three other plaques had the faces and the names of soldiers from the Post etched on to them.
Remaining now are just empty concrete slabs which had previously held the plaques.

Read the full article.

West Virginia Officials Searching for Info on People Named on the West Virginia Veterans Memorial

State archives and history officials are attempting to come up with details about the veterans whose 11,427 names are West Virginia Veterans Memorial carved in the West Virginia Veterans Memorial at the State Capitol in Charleston, West Virginia.

For the last five years, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History has been gathering information for use in online biographies of all 11,427 veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War whose names are carved on the memorial. Thus far, they have only have completed 47 biographies, with three more on the way. That doesn’t sound like much, does it? I think they need our help!

It’s said that the work has been delayed because of an project to restore the memorial, as it was damaged in an automobile accident. Repairs include the re-carving of faded and missing veterans’ names.

For more information, see the AP article in

See the Database, and search for your West Virginia 20th-Century Veterans..

If you have additional information about the veterans listed on the Memorial or if you know of any West Virginia veterans killed or missing in action whose names do not appear on the wall, please contact Terry Lowry, Archives and History, (304) 558-0230.