Posted by Ancestry Team on November 11, 2013 in Ask Ancestry Anne, Collections

If you want to find historical events from 1877 or a quick biography of George Washington or the history of the Ming Dynasty, you very well might end up on Wikipedia.   It’s free and collects a lot of information from a lot of people, many who know what they are talking about.  And because it’s based on community knowledge, you can add what you know.

image02But what if you wanted to find something on a Veteran who served in a U.S. conflict?  Or better yet, what if you have a Veteran’s story to tell?  Our friends at Fold3 created the Honor Wall, which is a pretty nifty way to collect and share information about all of America’s veterans from the Revolutionary War to the Iraq War. And like Wikipedia, everyone pools their knowledge and it is all shared for free.

You’ll find links to the Honor Wall all over Fold3, and you should start by looking to see if anyone has already started a memorial for your veteran. Pick a conflict and type in the name.


Turns out, I’m the first to sign up for James Calvin Donald, my great great grandfather, so it’s up to me to get this memorial page built!


Once you click Add Now, you’ll need to know a few basics: Name, Birth Date (to the best of your knowledge), and what conflict they served in. I add that in and now I have a page for James.


I have a picture of his gravestone, so I’ll add that.  I also have lots of records, so I put that on my mental to-do list to go back and add them.


Next I update his personal information.  Adding in birth and death dates and a wife help distinguish him from other possible James Donald’s that served.


image10And if you scroll down a little on the Personal Details, you’ll notice you can search and add external links. The search allows you to jump to, Fold3 or  to look for new documents that help add to the story.

Also, at the bottom, you can add external links.  Do you have your own blog or know other websites that help tell the story? Here is where you add them.

If you have a story to tell, and I’m guessing you do, the story tab allows you to add text.  I put in a short biographical sketch, but you may have a different idea on how to use this space.


image09You can also keep track of all of the views your page has had (I think all 11 are from me! Ha.) and you can decide if you want to be the sole owner or if you want to collaborate with others. I think collaboration works best for me, so I’m going that route.

You can take a look at my page for James Calvin Donald, Johnny Cash, Ezra Carpenter, Jimmy Stewart, Courtney Brewer, Larry Oakley or Anne Dunwoody.  Oh, and George Washington is there of course. If you find or create one, add it in the comments.


Go look through your tree.  You know you have a lot of veterans. And on Veteran’s Day it is a perfect time to commemorate them. Even if you don’t know a lot, you can get started today with what you know. And it’s free.

If you don’t honor them who will?

Happy Veteran’s Day!




  1. Pat

    Can Ancestry set up a Photo wall.?
    My father in law passed away and cleaning out the home found loads of pictures of people with there names written on the back. I have been going on Ancestry looking for there family members to give them to them. These pictures are of no value to me , but could fill a gap for some one else. I have spent hours sending messages to ancestry members with some luck.
    If there was a Photo wall, with the area, or names, other members could check out this section and find more history.

  2. Kristie Wells

    Pat, we love this idea. We have been discussing doing something similar following a stack of photos I picked up at a thrift store recently (didn’t want them thrown away) in the hopes of connecting people to their past via photos.

    I have it on the WISH LIST here. Will work on making this a reality. Thank you.

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