Posted by Ancestry Team on October 9, 2013 in Ask Ancestry Anne, Family History Month

Wars have created genealogy gold mines about our ancestors.  Registration records. Service records. Pensions. Photos. And More. There is no end to what you might find about your ancestors.

Not only are there the usual family history facts such as who was related to who, when they were born and died, and where they lived, but you can also learn how their lives were impacted by the wars.

If you are an subscriber, you can subscribe to Fold3 for a discount. It will cost you $49.95 and  you can download as many pension records as you like.  If you order one pension record the cost can be $75.

This list just begins to scratch the surface:

  1. Revolutionary War Pension Records.image07  You just never know what you might find.  Whoever wrote this probably failed penmanship, but where else are you going to find more definitive information on who Thomas Martin’s children were including the fact that he had two sons named John? (It was not uncommon that if a child died young to give the next child the same name.)
  2. War of 1812 Pension Records.  Eleven percent are complete and uploaded.  And more are coming all the time.  Your ancestor’s secrets may be uncovered there.
  3. Mexican War Records.  While not yet complete, these records paint the picture of many soldiers who went on to serve critical rolls in the Civil War.image08
  4. Civil War Service Records. Not only do you find records of your ancestors in muster rolls, but you will find Unit Information that help you construct what different units did and what life was like.
  5. World War I Records. Many WWI records have been destroyed.  Fold3 has gathered a much of what is left from Navy Cruise Books  to Naturalization Index – WWI Soldiers. to Naturalizataion Index for WWI Soldiers.
  6. World War II Records.  Even if your ancestor isn’t in the Missing Air Crew Reports, WWII reading these files will help you create the story of a pilot’s life at its most harrowing time.
  7. Interactive Vietnam Veterans Memorialimage13.  This exhibit has every name on the wall and allows you to leave your thoughts and memories for others to see. This rather poignant one for Milo S Homstad touched me.
  8. Save to You can now add links to images directly to   Learn more in this Five Minute Find: Save to Your Tree from Fold3 
  9. Fold3 Spotlights Check out Fold3 Spotlights which highlight some new fact or person written by the Fold3 staff.   Members can also add spotlights to highlight family members or other documents of interest.image11
  10. Cousin Bait.  You can annotate any page with a comment and when some distant cousin finds it, a connection can be made. I left a comment about my 3rd great grandfather’s murder on this one.  That’s bound to get someone’s attention!


Need help getting started? Check out How to Find Your Civil War Roots   and Fold3 Center.

So remember, f you are an subscriber, you can subscribe to Fold3 for 50% off

Who knows what you might be missing!

Happy Searching!



  1. Ron Warness

    I belong to your world subscription and think you should make a deal with Fold3 to include your good customers to access them. I’m retired and don’t even know if our darn congress will continue with my SOC SEC!

  2. Valerie Neal

    I have the World Subscription and agree with Ron, this would be a good idea to include Fold 3 with our membership.

  3. BEE

    I agree. While I’m paying for Fold3, I don’t use it all that much, but I hate to give it up – just in case.
    Better yet, how about being able to access my trees? They keep coming and going this evening. Mostly going!

  4. KenMaag

    I found Fold3 to be pretty much useless. I can’t see paying for something that offers so little info. Thumbs down for Fold3

  5. bmz

    I pay separately for Fold3 (just in case) but agree with the others that Fold3 & all’s affiliates should be included in the World subscription without rate increase. Before Fold3 came along, I spent $100 ($25 for the Widow’s Pension records & $75 for the service records) to get my great grandfather’s Civil War records from the National Archives. Through these records, I found that he was only my step-great grandfather. I gleaned a treasure trove of information about my great grandmother’s situation at the time of his death. When I subscribed to Fold3 hoping to save the $100 & get the same sort of information on another Civil War relative, I found that only very limited information was available on my step-great grandfather & no information was available on my other relative that I am 100% sure served. The only help Fold3 has been – so far – is that it makes it a little easier to fill out the order form with the info needed to order from the National Archive.

  6. Debbie


    When you save a record from Fold3 to your ancestry online tree, it does not attach it to any fact or event. It only saves it to that person’s page. It won’t even show up at all on your FTM until you go back and attach it to a fact or event.

    I have downloaded several pf the Civil War widow’s pension files. It has been well worth the $40.

  7. Yvonne Estrade

    I have found many documents on Fold3 but find it very labor intense to use the website and download them. There can be many related pages in one “file” but it is necessary to download one page at a time. I know documents can be linked but that doesn’t help with downloading. Therefore to save related documents to one pdf they must be downloaded individually then combined using Adobe Acrobat. I’ve been downloading to google drive to work with the documents then attaching to FTM.

    If anyone has suggestions please let me know.

    The tutorials are limited and customer service is virtually nonexistent.
    I probably won’t renew until the website is more user friendly.

  8. FHC Librarian

    I used Fold3 one time for a CW veteran. Benjamin had been in the navy and got his pension ok. However when his widow Rosanna tried to get the widow’s pension, she had all kinds of problems. Both she and her husband Benjamin (her second husband) were illiterate so that didn’t help.

    The government wanted her to prove Benjamin had never had a first wife and that she was legally Benjamin’s only wife. They wanted her to prove she was legally divorced from her first husband. (He had run out on her to another state leaving her with 4 children, two of them very young.)

    Rosanna enlisted the help of an attorney, her son-in-law, and a congressman. After 15 years of trying to get her pension and not being able to provide documents the government kept asking for, she finally died.

    Even her first husband had written he had gotten a divorce but couldn’t remember when or where, or so he said. He had remarried also and had a second family.

    You would think they could have gotten the documents that we now can get so easily. The Fold3 file included copies of all the affidavits, correspondence, letters, and appeals, and was 239 pages. I printed every one. What a story! It seems the government still requires much red tape, or should I say it has always required much red tape.

    Check with your local Family History Center. They may have Fold3 for free use. If so, you can copy files to a flash drive or CD. I agree the site is cumbersome and takes a long time to download anything. Paper copies are 10 cents a page so it’s worth getting a flash drive.

  9. Robin Bittner

    I watched your tutorial on linking Fold3 Records to a person’s profile page in your Ancestry family tree. I have a question. Let’s say I pay for Fold 3 and link something to John Doe in my tree. Two years from now, when I am no longer paying for Fold3, am I going to be able to click on the link on John Doe’s profile page and see the document, or will the link only work if I am a paying customer of Fold3? I would imagine that the link would not work, as if you stop paying for ancestry, a source that was saved to your tree, is no longer viewable unless you pay for ancestry again. Hope to be pleasantly surprised by your answer. Thank you.

  10. Linda Jean Gillespie-Allen Grimes

    Dear Anne,
    Very excited to know that you are a Gillespie as well. My birth name was Gillespie and then my step-father adopted me. It is a long story. My family is from Southwest VA and I would love to see if you have any connection to us. I have had limited success in getting much on the Gillespie side of my heritage. Please keep in touch.
    Linda My Ancestry login is MotherGooseMd.

  11. Robbie

    My husband & I are both retired & on a very tight fixed income. I have been a member of for a long time. I really am disappointed that Ancestry seems to be finding more & more ways to jack up the membership fees. Looks like you are going to start charging for every little thing on here & that the membership is only going to give very limited access. If this continues, I will probably stop my membership.

  12. Roger Buttermore

    Up until about a month ago there was an option for an annual World Explorer Membership Plus for about $375.00.

    I can only find a semi-annual option for Plus now, for $199.00.

    I want to re-enroll annually. Do I have to sign up for Fold3 and Newspaper Archive separately?

    Finally, will there be no further special sale days or seasons for the annual subs? Thanks for any info.

  13. Dee

    I have been loyal to for FIFTEEN (15) years. I have cursed under my breath and even aloud at times at the changes made by that was not an improvement, only a change to justify someone’s employment. Minutes ago, I attempted to view a record, was redirected to another window, only to find out it is something called Fold3, another website by I admit I am “behind the times,” as I had no idea what “Fold3” was until I searched online for information just minutes ago.

    I have paid for a USA subscription, meaning any document related to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. For a few years, I had considered the WORLD membership, however, I, too, am on Social Security, as are countless others. I simply cannot afford more costs and fees.

    Needless to say, now wants more subscription fees for “more historical documents” relating to the USA. If I cannot have access to all United States historical documents, I do not intend to renew my subscription.

    Enough is simply enough.

  14. Dee

    My comments were as respectful as I could muster. While you ask me to be respectful in my comments, I would ask that respect its clientele and not find more ways to increase fees and costs. My yearly subscription for 15 years was to include everything related to within the confines of the United States. Now you feel that historical documents relating to the USA is covered under a separate subscription? REALLY?

Comments are closed.