Monday, August 23, 2010

Have you visited lately? is one of those web sites that has taken me some time to get used to. But the more I use it, the more I value it as a site than can aid my genealogy research.

Footnote is working diligently to scan and make available millions of documents from the National Archives. These are all public records. The membership fee charged by goes toward the cost of scanning the documents and making them available in digital format. At this writing, the site hosts nearly 68 million images.

Already, Footnote is providing one of the most extensive collections of records from the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

Here are just a few of the collections available on

  • The entire collection of Matthew Brady's Civil War photographs (more than 6,000 images)
  • Civil War pension index
  • FBI case files
  • Passport applications
  • City directories
  • Newspapers
  • Texas death certificates
  • US Census records - 1860 and 1930 are complete, other years are being added
  • Civil War maps
  • Records of the Continental Congress
  • The court martial of George Custer
  • Homestead records from the Broken Bow, Nebraska land office
I can't even begin to list all of the different types of record collections available on the site - you need to take some time to browse around in your field of interest.

The site can be searched by using keywords or you can browse titles through a hierarchical structure. It is very simple to print or download documents to your computer.

An ever growing feature of Footnote is the ability of users to contribute their own content by uploading images and creating pages. If you find your ancestor in a census record, it's simple to upload a photograph of that person that is then connected to the record. You can also create Footnote pages for a person, place, event, organization or topic. I've started creating Footnote pages on my grandparents and great-grandparents. This allows me to add photographs, facts such as birth, death, marriage, military service, etc. When you find other documents on Footnote that are about your ancestor, you can connect them to your Footnote page. You also have the option of allowing other users to contribute information to the page or not.

You can also annotate documents, whether they are provided by Footnote, another user or yourself. I recently uploaded a copy of the marriage certificate of my great-grandparents. I annotated all of the names and locations that appeared on the document. This makes those annotations available immediately in the search results.

Learn more about is a subscription web site, although many of its collections available at no charge. The annual loyalty pricing fee is $59.95 (regular price is $79.95). When you figure that is less than $5/month, it's quite a bargain in the field of subscription sites. You can try it out with a seven-day free trial.

My "member card" below shows a summary of the items I've contributed to Footnote.

Disclaimer: I am not a member of the affiliate network and I did not receive any compensation for this review. Opinions expressed are my own.

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