Footnote, "Not Your Father’s Buick."

This is a Review, and an Advertisement.

About a year ago I heard of a new company that was offering digital images of genealogical and historical interest on-line. So my first thought was something like “Oh brother, not another one.” Well after I looked into it and subscribed I started to get real excited! An old time car advertisement slogan came to mind, “This is NOT your Father’s Buick!” This company,, was building a gigantic collection of digitized copies of original historical documents that were like none we had ever seen before. They became early partners with the National Archives (NARA) and commenced digitizing many of the millions of rolls of microfilm that are at NARA, and that even though they might have been available before on film, they were difficult to search for, due to NARA’s extremely complicated cataloging system. Hey it’s the government, what do you expect?

Well I knew that Footnote was going to be a first rate company when after their marketing people had decided to lower the subscription rate to just about half of what it was when I subscribed, and Footnote sent me and other early subscribers a message saying that they were going to extend our memberships to double the time that we had signed up for. I had not asked for it, but it was a pleasant surprise.

Well now Footnote is growing leaps and bounds. The collection is becoming enormous and there are fabulous discoveries being made every day in so many categories that it is hard to describe. Let me give you one personal observation regarding the “Revolutionary War Pension Records” collection at NARA. For many years now we have had access to a collection of microfilm of pension files that was named the “Select Series.” What that meant was that staff people at NARA some years ago went through the millions of documents in the pension files and grouped what that staff person arbitrarily determined to be the most important records in each veteran’s file. That series was microfilmed and made available to libraries and the public in general. Chances are if you have ever used these films, say at your reference library or on-line through HeritageQuest, they were of this Select Series and I’m guessing, that probably you were missing more than you were finding!

Footnote’s presentation of this collection of pensions from NARA is the COMPLETE file of each pensioner’s application. In one of my own Patriot Ancestors I discovered a little scrap of paper that had been missed in the Select Series, and it was an affidavit from the pensioner’s widow’s application that was signed by two of her married sisters, and it also named the father of the three girls! I would have never known any of that without checking every single scrap in the file.

One thing that is unique is that Footnote staff and volunteers have been going through the images one by one and inserting text boxes around the hand written names, and then typing up a text name. All you have to do is hover your mouse over a name and you see it in typewritten form. This also allows for a master name index. Fantastic!

Footnote has recently partnered with FamilySearch to commence a program of digitization that will be out of this world! They are not stopping there. They have also partnered with other organizations, and there is even a method that allows subscribing members to upload documents, photos, diaries, old letters, genealogies, and on and on.

Footnote also has many historical documents and series of National importance that are presented to everyone totally free all the time. Just go to the website and check these free documents out, and while you are there take a look at their three minute video of just what Footnote is about.
Here are some of the collection titles taken off the website recently:
Admiralty Records,
American Colonization Society
American Milestone Documents FREE
Amistad – Federal court records
Amistad – Supreme Court records
Brady Civil War Photos
City Directories
Civil War Pensions Index
Confederate Amnesty Papers
Confederate Papers
Confederate Soldiers – AL
Confederate Soldiers – GA
Confederate Soldiers – NC
Confederate Soldiers – TX
Confederate Soldiers – VA
Constitutional Convention Records FREE
Continental Congress – Papers, FREE
Continental Congress – Misc FREE
Custer’s Court Martial
Domestic Letters of the Department of State
FBI Case Files
Foreign Letters of the Continental Congress
George Washington Correspondence FREE
Gorrell’s History – AEF Air Service
Hesse Crown Jewels Court-Martial
Japanese Air Target Analyses
Lincoln Assassination Papers FREE
London Times 1785-1820
Missing Air Crew Reports, WWII
Mormon Battalion Pension Files
Naturalizations – CA Southern
Naturalizations – LA Eastern
Naturalizations – MA
Naturalizations – MD
Naturalizations – PA Eastern
Naturalizations – PA Middle
Naturalizations – PA Western
Naturalization Index – CA San Diego
Naturalization Index – MA
Naturalization Index – MD
Naturalization Index – NY Eastern Jul 1865-Sep…
Naturalization Index – NY Eastern Oct 1906-Nov…
Naturalization Index – NY Eastern Nov 1925-Dec…
Naturalization Index – NY Southern Intentions
Naturalization Index – NY Southern Petitions
Naturalization Index – NY Western
Naturalization Index – NYC Courts
Naturalization Index – WWI Soldiers
Naval Press Clippings
News – Gazette Virginian
News – Halifax Gazette
Pennsylvania Archives FREE
Photos – Coolidge
Photos – Eisenhower
Photos – Fine Arts Commission, Series G
Photos – Roosevelt
Photos – Truman
Photos – WW II Japanese
Project Blue Book – UFO Investigations FREE
Ratified Amendments to the US Constitution
Ratified Indian Treaties
Revolutionary War Pensions
Revolutionary War Prize Cases – Captured Vessels
Revolutionary War Rolls
Revolutionary War Service Records
South Boston, VA – City Council Minutes
Southern Claims Commission
State Dept Records – France
State Dept Records – Russia
Supreme War Council, American records – WWI
Texas Birth Certificates
Texas Death Certificates
Town Records – Goffstown NH – FREE
Town Records – Hancock NH – FREE
US Expeditionary Force, North Russia
Utah Territorial Case Files
War of 1812 Prize Cases, Southern Dist Court, NY
WWI Military Cablegrams – AEF and War Dept
WWII Allied Military Conferences
WWII JAG Case Files, Pacific – Army
WWII JAG Case Files, Pacific – Navy
WWII Submarine Patrol Reports
WWII US Air Force Photos
Note: some of the above collections marked “FREE” might be for a limited period of time and some of them are permanently so, you will have to check to be sure.)

You will do yourself a favor, and this website too, if you take advantage of their excellent services and become a subscriber.
It is indeed a BARGAIN considering the fabulous finds you will make!

Try their “Get Acquainted Special Offer to UNYG readers,” by subscribing to the FREE TRIAL for full access, for three days!

I LOVE this company, and am proud to have them as an advertiser on Upstate New York Genealogy!


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One Response to “Footnote, "Not Your Father’s Buick."”

  • neko:

    I was pretty impressed, it’s much better than when it first came online, but as I searched more deeply, I found there were many limitations. incomplete record files, areas completely devoid of records…I realize that they are relatively new and have a long way to go, but my initial reaction to join them wained the more I searched.
    the interesting thing is that the one name that did show up fairly well is the finger lakes Harpending family I am researching-mostly in revolutionary war records, and mostly as witnesses, not their own personal records, though there are a few.
    that isn’t enough for me to give in and pay to have the records… yet. of my other rare names I’m researching, there were just two hits for Fenenga and Wyrough, none for Dunheiffer or Wyruck.
    another year and maybe there will be enough records of at least the rare names to convince me that there’s enough on the people I’m researching to pay the very reasonable dues that Footnotes requests…or I may find something important there in the mean time and decide it’s worth it, after all.
    I’m just not as impressed as I should be with this-it’s a great site, but not yet for my names.
    I did get two very good hits, Peter Harpending, Sr., and Aukje Fenenga. I just wish there were more.

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