An introduction to on-line resources relating to Canadian military service records Provide an outline of some on-line resources for pre- First World War military records, First and Second World Records and other websites. Knowing even a little about the individual you are researching helps and a good starting point is family documents. The next step is The Library and Archives Canada’s Genealogy Centre (LAC). Prior to the First World War the service records were not detailed and often consisted of muster or pay lists or medal rolls. LAC holds copies of these if the individual served in Canada and this website explains what is available: www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/military-peace/index- e.html?PHPSESSID=m0nf9jd6bci6jgek3paj1ba0t1 LAC has also scanned all the service files for those who served in the South African War www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/south-african- war/001002-100.01-e.php If the person served in the British Military outside of Canada then The National Archives (TNA) near London, England, is a great source of records www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/ Captain George Piers was born on 7 February 1830 in Nova Scotia an died of influenza in Halifax on 29 October 1910 at the age of 80. His father was born in Nova Scotia and his mother in England. A Wesleyan Methodist, and a merchant by trade, he was married to Emily Ann (who passed away in Halifax on 15 May 1919 at the age of 82 of pneumonia) and the father of six children: Edith, Ada, Annie, Temple Foster, William and Emily Alberta. He was a company commander in the Halifax Volunteer Battalion, and in 1866 was called out on active service to protect the border against Fenian invasion. Both George and Emily were buried in the Camp Hill Cemetery, Halifax. Military service files are available from LAC and are searchable from their on-line database called “Soldiers of the First World War database”, www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/cef/00104 2-100.01-e.php The navy and air force are not on-line but are available upon request. Also available on-line are battalion war diaries www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/archivianet/0201520 2_e.html The Canadian War Museum’s Military History Research Centre holds dozens of unit histories, published memoirs, nominal rolls and general histories. Their catalogue can be searched from home at catalogue.warmuseum.ca. The Centre is open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4:30 pm and while they don’t lend directly to individuals, many of the books are available through an inter-library loan with your local library. Unfortunately most of the Second World personnel records are closed for the life of the individual plus 20 years, BUT if you can prove that someone has been gone for 20 years or more you can order a copy of their file: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/022- 909.007-e.html The files for casualties are available: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/war- dead/001056-100.01-e.php Casualties of War Information on casualties is easier to find because their files are open and they are commemorated on websites such as: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission http://www.cwgc.org/debt_of_honour.asp?menuid=14 The Canadian Virtual War Memorial http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/collections/virtualmem The Maple Leaf Legacy Project http://www.mapleleaflegacy.ca/wp The following slides illustrate online documents Consultingthe Soldiersof the First World Wardatabaseand lookingattheattestationpaperfor mygrandfatherwecan tell thatWilliamThomas Kendallwas born in Enfield, Middlesex, Englandon 19 December1887, his nextof kin is his motherMrs. L. Kendallwhowas living in Mount , Dennis, Ontarioatthetime heenlisted. Hewassingle, 26 yearsold, 5’3” (my motheralwaysclaims hewasa tall man!)anelectricianand had servedwith the Royal CanadianHorseArtillery forthreeyearspriortoenlisting in the CanadianExpeditionaryForceon 25 September1915at Valcartier, Quebecand his service numberwas 5704. If we thengotosomethinglike Ancestryand thecensusrecordswecan tell thathewasoneof fourchildrenof Frederick and Louis Kendall, living in All SaintsParishof London,Englandand thatWilliamwasworkingas arailroad messengerin 1901and hecame to Canadain 1909. ForsomeonelikeRichard Rowland Thompson,about whom much has beenwritten, youcan still start from the beginningand look at his SouthAfrican War servicefile, withoutleavinghome,thanks to LAC. Lookingat his on-linefileyoufind out that Thompsonwas 22, single, had light brown hair and blueeyes,was 5’6’,a medical student and born in Cork,Ireland and that his nextof kin was his mother back in Cork, he enlistedin Ottawa on 18 October1899. His filealso tells us he was of good intelligence,of a nervoustemperamentand was generallyhealthy,that he served with the 2nd SpecialServiceBattalion of the RoyalCanadian Regimentin SouthAfrican, was entitledto theQueensSouthAfrica Medal withthe clasps: Paardeberg, Driefonteinand Cape Colony.Wealso learn that he was discharged on 16October 1900 and was then commissionedin the SouthAfrican Constabulary beforetaking up employmentwith the DeBeersCompanyin South Africa and that he had beenawarded one theQueens Scarves and that hehad been nominatedfor the Victoria Cross. Thompsoncontinued Honours awarded to the RCN during the Second World War rcnvr.com Royal Canadian Legion Last Post www.legionmagazine.com/lastpost RCAF Honours and Awards airforce.ca/honours-awards/search-awards-database The Canadian War Museum has a collection of 144,000 newspaper clippings from the Second World War called “Democracy at war”. This has been digitized and is fully searchable on-line www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/exhibitions/newspapers/intro_ e.shtml LAC has a selection of First World War records digitized and on-line. www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/cenotaph/index-e.html On-line resources continued The London Gazette, search on names to see when someone was promoted, mentioned in despatches or awarded medals and honours www.london-gazette.co.uk The National Archives in the US www.archives.gov/veterans/ Canadian Military Heritage Project www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~canmil/index.html For Newfoundland soldiers ngb.chebucto.org/NFREG/index1.shtml Ancestry is an excellent resource www.ancestry.ca as is Find My Past www.findmypast.co.uk/home.jsp with links to various census Provincial vital statistics websites such as www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/access/vitalstats.asp or archives.gnb.ca/Archives/Default.aspx?culture=en-CA On-line resources continued A list of recipients of the French Croix de Guerre www.ww2awards.com/award/42/abc The Canada Gazette www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/canada- gazette/001060-100.03-e.php A British military genealogy website www.military-genealogy.com/ The LAC’s Genealogy Centre www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/index-e.html A British genealogy website www.freebmd.org.uk/ An American Genealogy website usgenweb.org/ On-line resources continued The Red Cross in Great Britain www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/Museum- and-archives/Resources-for-researchers/Volunteers-and- personnel-records Holocaust survivors www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/focus/its/ The National Archives in the UK has excellent on-line resources www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline Not all military records are on-line but hopefully these links will point you in the right direction to start your research into someone’s military history.
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