Fold3 Review

Fold3 Review – Discover Your Military Ancestors!

Do you have military ancestors in your family tree? Do you want to find their records and uncover their story? Well, if you answered yes to both these questions then you need to check out this Fold3 Review.

Fold3 Review

* Affiliate Disclaimer *

This review will show you what you can expect from this site, what records are available and details about the membership packages.

Besides all that I will also discuss what help and support you can receive, the pros, and cons as well as what other people are saying about this site.

Fold3 Rating and Details

RatingRating Stars - 4(4/5)
PackagesAnnual Access$79.95 – one payment (equals $6.67 per month)
Records590 Million + (many exclusive to Fold3)
FeaturesImage Viewer Tool, Share, Comment, Annotate, and more
Help & Support
Training Center, Online Contact Form, Phone Support, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

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About Fold3!

Before I tell you what you can expect from Fold3 I must tell you about the name. You are probably wondering why the site was named Fold3?

There must be a reason, right?

The Fold3 name comes from a traditional flag folding ceremony in which the third fold is made in honor and remembrance of veterans who served in defense of their country and to maintain peace throughout the world.

What can you expect?

If you want to know more about your military ancestors then Fold3 is a site that you can check out. Whether your ancestor served in the American, British, Australian, or New Zealand forces then you have come to the right place.

The site comprises a collection of records, personal documents, photos, and other material that can help to tell their story.

All of this information comes in the form of digitized images and currently, there are over 590 million images in the collection. No, that is not a typo.

Also, there are about 2 million images added every month to the site.

So if you do have a photo of your ancestor in their uniform or have any kind of memorabilia why not uncover their story at Fold3.

You can find collections covering many wars and conflicts which I will discuss below. But apart from there also records about military organizations, the US Bureau of Investigation, and Project Blue Book (the study of UFOs).

Who is the site for?

The site suits anyone interested in history, but also:

  • Researchers.
  • Family Historians/Genealogists
  • Veterans and their family
  • Enthusiasts
  • Teachers
  • Institutions

About the company

The company behind Fold 3, iArchives, began in 1999 and started to digitize historical newspapers and other archive content. They soon realized the importance of collecting these records and making them available online.

But before Fold3 came to be there was which was launched in January 2007.

This site had over 5 million original documents and was the go-to site for historical documents, especially military-related.

Then in October 2010 Ancestry purchased the company archives. The following year in August 2011 the brand was renamed to Fold3 to signify what this site was about.

Credit: Ancestry (Fold3)

What Military Records Are Available To You

So, far I have discussed how Fold3 came to be and the meaning about the name, together with who the site is for and a little bit about what you can expect from the site.

But you are probably wondering what records does Fold3 and whether the site can help you with your genealogy research.

Before I do discuss that I first want to say how they display information.

Military information about your ancestors!

Unlike other genealogy search websites, there is no transcription of the record when you search for your ancestors. This can be a good thing and a bad thing as well.

Let me explain.

It’s bad because YOU have to read the record yourself. Ineligible or fancy writing will slow down your research.

However, you won’t have to deal with transcription errors. So without these then you don’t have to worry about misinformation. You just look at the source.

As with many genealogy search websites, you will probably find not only a transcript of a document but a scan of the original document as well.

Even though you don’t get a transcription of the record you do get some background information that can help you.

Once you find a relevant record you can learn more about it by clicking on the “About Image” button. From here you can learn the source of the record/image, as well as correct if need be.

Military Records to be found at Fold3

This site covers various kinds of documentation from many wars and conflicts. You are probably wondering what wars are covered on this site and whether it can help you with your research.

Well, the records that you will find start from as early as 1775 with the beginning of The Revolutionary War of America right up to recent times with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

War records at Fold3:

  • Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
  • War of 1812
  • Mexican, American, and Early Indian Wars
  • Civil War (1861-1865)
  • Spanish-American War (April-August 1898)
  • World War I (1914-1918)
  • World War II (1939-1945)
  • Korean War (1950-1953)
  • Vietnam War (1955-1975)
  • Recent Wars – Iraq and Afghanistan

I must point out one negative about this site at this stage. Unlike Forces War Records you won’t find details about the war or the conflicts that you are researching.

You will just find the records of your ancestors. And so you will have to piece together their story with facts that you can read about on Wikipedia.

When researching my military ancestors I would occasionally turn to Wikipedia to read about the war or conflict that they were in. By doing this gave me further insight into their military life.

Besides the wars

There are other kinds of records that you will find on this site. Some of them will not be war-related but can give you a glimpse into the life of your military ancestors, photographs for example.

Other kinds of records:

  • Non-military records – Various records including photos, Project Blue Book, Town Records, Vital Records, etc.
  • International – Includes records from Australian, British and Irish, Canadian, and New Zealand Forces

Finding Your Ancestors Records

There are 4 options available for you to find your ancestor’s military records. I will cover them each in turn.

When you find a record of relevance you can do several things.

  • Add to Gallery – Add the image to your collection of images
  • Share – Share what you have found with a friend via social media or email
  • Download – Save the record to your computer
  • Print – Print the image
  • Spotlight
  • Connect – Attach the image to other images or people
  • Comment or Annotate – Add your notes to the image
  • Attach – Link the image to your Ancestry tr

Search by name!

The first option is real easy. On the site’s homepage, there is a simple search box to fill in.

You just type in your ancestor’s first and last name and then click on the “SEARCH” button.

Fold3 - Search Ancestor

The following screen will then show you a list of possible records that include your ancestors. If you do not find what you are looking for you may want to try alternate spellings of their name.

When you first search for your ancestor by this method you may be confronted with many records, thousands even. So for that reason, it is a good idea to select the war that interests you. This will limit the number of records.

To further cut down the number of records that you have to deal with you may have to select which State.

From here you can then sift through the records until you find what you are looking for. Yes sometimes this process will take some time, but believe me when you do find your ancestor’s record you will feel the rush.

*Owain’s Tip! *

If you are unsure about a name then you can use a wildcard. What I mean by this is an asterisk *

For example, I could search for “Co*ch“. So by doing this records with the last name “Coach“, “Cooch” or “Couch” will show up.

Advanced Search!

You can though perform an advanced search where you can cut down on the records that you are presented with. From here you can enter keywords, places, a year range and when the record was added to the collection.

You may also wish to get the results based on whether they are indexed by Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. This means that the image is scanned similarly to newspapers and city directories.

Browse military records by war

A second option that is available to you is to search through military records by war. From the homepage, you can select the war that you want.

Fold3 Review - Browse Military Records By War

The following page will possibly give you a number of ‘Publications‘ that you can choose from. These publications are then broken down into ‘Sections‘.

And then finally when you have chosen a section you will have a list of ‘Pages‘ that you can search through.

This is just one scenario. The subcategories will obviously depend on how the collection is organized.

Yes, this option is trickier, but is an option available to you if you haven’t found what you were looking for by searching by your ancestor’s name.

Honor veterans from any U.S. conflict

The third option that is available to you is search for your ancestor from the Honor Wall. Here you enter your ancestor’s name as before together with the war that you are interested in.

Fold3 Review - Honor Wall

Then you will be presented with a list of people matching the name of your ancestor. Just search through them until you find your ancestor.

Search their stories

The final option is to search not the records of but the stories of your military ancestor. So, from here you can check out their stories, photos, and personal documents.

Most of what you will discover here will be from the U.S. National archives, The National Archives of the U.K., and other international records.

Fold3 Review - Search Their Story

You will get the same kind of search box that is presented on the homepage, but you do have the option of performing an Advanced Search.

What this means is that you can type in a keyword(s), a place of interest, a time frame of interest, as well as maybe when the record was added to the collection at Fold3.

Help & Support

Unlike other genealogy sites that you may be familiar with there is no community, or rather forum/message board. You can though check out what others have contributed to a record, or collection of records, so in a sense that is the community at Fold3.

Help and Support

There are many ways that you can get help, which you will find by clicking on the Help option at the base of the homepage. That’s not quite front-and-center, but anyways.

Help and support provided:

  • Fold3 basics – Learn how to get started, share research, manage your account, and more from the Fold3 Training Center. All of this help is provided in easy-to-follow tutorials.
  • Membership options – Check out what the differences are between the available membership packages – 7-day free trial, premium membership, and free membership.
  • Something’s not working – Get help with logging in, search or viewing problems, issues with the site, and more.
  • Contact us – Contact Fold3 for support using the online form. Or if this doesn’t suit you then you can leave a message on the phone number that is provided.
  • Blog/Facebook/Twitter – The blog and social media platforms may help you with your queries.
  • YouTube – Several how-to videos are available on the Fold3 YouTube channel. Some that’s worth checking out.

Membership and Free Access

Do you want free Fold3 Records?

Unfortunately, you cannot access everything on this site for free, but there are some collections that you can search through without costing you anything.

When I say some, I mean over 2 million, but anyways.

Free Membership!

To access the free stuff, you will first need to register. You can simply do this by registering with Facebook, or by entering your email address followed by a password of your choosing.

After you have completed this step you will get access to the millions of documents as I said. But also you can upload, store and share historical documents and pictures that you have.

And also you can create memorial pages for people, places and topics. Although there are limitations to this membership it is still can give you a taster of what the site has to offer.

Featured free titles:

  • US Milestone Documents
  • War of 1812 Pension Files
  • WWII US Air Force Photos
  • Project Blue Book
  • Pennsylvania Archives
  • Papers of the Continental Congress
  • Constitutional Convention Records
  • Copy Books of George Washington’s Correspondence

There are more besides these but these are the featured ones. Despite being free you will not be able to use the image viewer that is available on the site.

That means that you cannot zoom in to any area of the image.

7-Day Free Trial!

You can go one better than the Free Membership and opt for the 7-day free trial. This will give you unlimited access to everything within the collection at Fold3.

However, as the name of this package suggests there is a time frame and that’s seven days.

So, if you do want to check out every image and document, as well as all the tools and features then this is for you.

Please make sure that your calendar is free for the whole week. That way you can extensively explore the site for free, and if you like what you see then you can go for the Premium Membership.

Please note!

When you sign up for the free trial you will need to enter your card details. Now you may think that this is a sneaky tactic, but I have seen this on every genealogy search site that I have reviewed so far.

Basically it is a way for Fold3 to obtain your details and hopefully for you to continue using the site.

If you do not cancel before the trial ends then you will be charged per month. So make sure you do cancel before the trial expires if you do not wish to use Fold3.

Premium Membership!

When it comes to the Premium Membership this will give you access to everything at Fold3. There are though two durations that you can choose from.

  • Annual Access$79.95 per year (equals $6.67 per month)
  • Monthly$7.95

In my opinion, if you are not entirely sure whether the site is right for you or how long your research will take then go for the Monthly package.

That way if you are not entirely satisfied with the site or service then you can cancel it.

You can always upgrade to the Annual Access package if you choose to.

The Annual Access package though is value for money. As you can see from above that spending $79.95 each year equals $6.67 each month.

Compare this to the Monthly package that is $7.95. You do the math.

Pros & Cons


✔ 590 Billion images (2 million added every week)
✔ Free membership (limitations apply)
✔ Monthly and Yearly packages available
✔ Share research
✔ Help and support offered


❌ Auto-renewed subscription
❌ Can find records freely on other sites
❌ Need to check images thoroughly, not relying on transcriptions

Other People’s Fold3 Reviews

So far I have shown you what you can expect from Fold3 as well as given my opinion on some features and what is available to you.

Rather than give a one-sided view of this site it is only fair if I share with you other people’s opinions and also complaints as well.

Honest Reviews

I couldn’t find many complaints or issues about Fold3 apart from checking out the Honest Reviews website. On this reviews site I saw the usual complaints that I have seen for any other genealogy search site.

Slow website!

Before I do continue I just want to address one complaint which relates to the speed of the site. This complaint was dated March 2013.

Whether this is because of server issues where the site is hosted, or maybe it’s the user’s computer. Either way this complaint is rather outdated and I don’t think that we should worry about it.

Can’t find what I am looking for!

A few people complained that they couldn’t find what they were looking for. It is true to say that not everything is yet available online.

So with that said with time maybe the required records will be available.

On a closing note, I would advise you to either sign up for the Free Membership or the 7-Day Free Trial to see what is available.

Can’t cancel my account!

This complaint I have seen for many other sites. People will sign up for a free trial and then subsequently be charged a monthly fee.

This is down to two factors:

  1. Not read the terms, allowed the trial to expire and been charged,
  2. Have had difficulty canceling it before the trial has expired.

What I would suggest is to try to cancel the trial at least 2 days prior. Yes, this will cut your trial period by 2 days, but if you want to be cautious like me then you may want to do this.

Or you could try canceling on the seventh day. There weren’t many complaints about this so hopefully, this is not an issue.

Do I Recommend Fold3?

Firstly, I like how this site is predominately about digitized images of records, rather than featuring transcriptions as well.

Too many times have I seen errors in these transcriptions. So, this has spoilt my experience with other sites. However, it does mean that you will need to focus entirely on the image. Luckily you can zoom in on images.

But with that said this site does contain a quite impressive collection of images, 500 million. Like you, I was quite surprised by this number. And also that about 2 million are added every month.

The other good thing about this site is that there is not only a 7-Day Free Trial but also a Free Membership package as well.

I haven’t seen many free memberships on genealogy sites so that was good to see. But I have seen 14-day free trials so it would be nice if Fold3 extended this period.

What I don’t like is that some of what you find is available for free on other sites. So, you may want to check out FamilySearch first before checking out this site.

Overall though the site does offer a lot of records, so there is a high chance of finding what you are looking for. But if you don’t there is the possibility that they will become available online.

Do I recommend Fold3?

Yes, I do recommend Fold3. There is plenty on offer on this site that can tell you a lot about your military ancestors.

If you decide to subscribe to this genealogy site then please come back and let me know what you think of it. I would love to hear how it is working for you.

Discover Your Ancestors Military Legacy!

What will you uncover?

Fold3 Website

Check Out Fold3 Now

Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope you enjoyed this post giving my Fold3 review. If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below.

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14 thoughts on “Fold3 Review – Discover Your Military Ancestors!”

  1. I have a membership to this site, and have been unable to locate anything for 4 Family members, all in different wars. ?

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you haven’t had any luck finding your family members military records. May I ask if you have tried to use alternate spellings or wildcards? This may help with your search.

      Other than that maybe the records that you are looking for haven’t been uploaded yet.

      My first suggestion though would be to check at FamilySearch. It’s a long shot but it’s worth checking out.

      Or you could try contacting the archives for the respective state where your family members enlisted. Here’s State Archives Contact Details.

      I hope that this helps you. Please let me know how you get on.

    2. I’m having the same problem. I started searching for ancestors I knew fought in specific wars. Nothing came up. I checked different spellings…still nothing. I did this for 5 people. I’m not sure it is worth the money at this point and am in the process of cancelling my subscription.

    3. Records from 1912 to 1960 do not exist because:
      on July 12, 1973, a disastrous fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis destroyed approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF). No duplicate copies of these records were ever maintained, nor were microfilm copies produced. Neither were any indexes created prior to the fire. Records that were affected by this are:
      Army Personnel discharged November1, 1912 to January 1, 1960 80% loss

      Air Force Personnel discharged Sept. 25.1947 to January 1, 1964 75% loss
      (with names alphabetically after Hubbard, James E.)

      Some records do still exist and they can be requested at the following sites:

      To order existing military service records (1954 and after) from the National Archives:

      To order existing military service records (pre-1954) from the National Archives:

  2. I have been working on my family genealogy for years and am always looking for new sites. This site sounds interesting as I know that my great-great grandfather fought in the civil war. Thanks for the information I will have to check it out!

    1. Thanks Taianne for your comment. There are so many genealogy sites out there that can help with your research. The problem is finding the best one for you. Please check out my Genealogy Search Websites section where you can find more reviews on sites available to you.

      Also, my Find Civil War Ancestors post reviews a collection of resources that may help you with your Civil War ancestor research.

      All the best and I really hope you discover some exciting stories.

  3. Very interesting and through review! I quite enjoyed it so thank you very much.

    I didn’t know about this site and it actually made me a little curious to find out something about my military ancestors.

    There’s just so many records on here that I was blown away. I’m sure that this site can help me.

    Thanks again.

    1. Thank you David for your kind comment. I am glad that you liked your review. Hopefully you will join and discover your military ancestors and learn their story.

      All the best.

  4. What a great review that was on Fold3. In particular you very instructional video. It took a while to watch. However, I had nothing better to do and it was so interesting that I let myself get into it. As a matter of fact, this review contained every piece of information that I would ever need to become a paying member of Fold3. So, I thank you.


    1. I am glad that this review ticked all your boxes Archie. I tried to include everything relevant that could help you or anyone make an informed decision on whether to join or not.

      This is a really great site in my opinion. With 500 million available and 2 million added every week there is bound to be something on this site that can help you trace your military ancestors.

      I wish you all the best with your research.

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