Monday, 27 February 2017

Finding Your Military Ancestors in Canada

© Penny Allen
Pegasus - The Parachute Regiment
A memorial at Manchester Airport 

The optimum place to start searching for Canadian military records is on Library and Archives Canada's website. This page contains links particularly for WWI and WWII that may help with research into your military ancestors. During the First World War especially, men who signed up in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) were often born in Britain or the British Isles.

Please note: the National Archives in London hold copies of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) unit diaries for World War One. Below is a picture of a page from my grandfather's unit in WO95. There are few, if any, mention of individual soldiers.The originals are held at Library and Archives Canada.

Military related articles can be found on my article index page. For example: WWI Canadian Regiment in Aldershot, UKCanadian Forestry Corps WWI and WWII and Canadian Merchant Navy. There are many UK cemeteries where Canadian soldiers are buried. The best place to start searching for those men is on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

© Penny Allen
It is worth your while to have a gander through the research guides provided by various archives in Canada. For example, the 'Canadian military records' link mentioned above is a research guide provided by Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. Other research guides include: Archives of Ontario ; BC Archives ; Archives of Manitoba

Family Search - Canada Military Records

Canadian War Museum - Ottawa, Ontario

Canada's Military History - a magazine? on Twitter and Facebook

**Canadian Military Genealogy FAQs**

First World War

A City Goes to War - a project particularly aimed at high school students, this page follows the human stories of how the First World War impacted families. Three timelines look at the cities of Victoria, Winnipeg and Toronto from 1910-1925. They have provided a database emedded in the webpage of enlistments from each region, with a total of 6,155 records. Very clever search facility. Written and developed by University of Victoria students. Some content is available in French. 

I happened upon this fabulous page provided by BC Archives of interviews with men and women who served in the First World War.

Sources Relating to Units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force

First World War - Library and Archives Canada

@GreatWarForum  not very active on Twitter probably because there is too much activity on the forum!      GreatWarForum - "The Great War Forum is the premier internet forum for discussing the First World War"

An active First World War forum - Total Members: 63,204 / Total Topics: 200,333 / Total Posts: 1,959,819

A guide to the Attestation papers of the First World War quite a bit of investigative detail by a genealogist in New Zealand.

The Canadian Centre for the Great War

June Beach Centre - France

Partial index of Manitoba soldiers killed in the First World War
Lives of the First World War Join Imperial War Museums (UK) and help tell these Life Stories by adding your images, sharing their stories, find their records and adding known facts - this request certainly pertains to the Canadian Expeditionary Force!
© Penny Allen
CEF Diaries - National Archives
WO95 - This is a very good site for the publications of the First World War, digitized copies of The Illustrated War News, The Bystander, The Illustrated London News, The Graphic, The Tatler, The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, The Sphere, The Sketch. Although published in England, they contain lots of visual content about the events of the Great War. This includes pictures of men and units of the British, German, Polish, French, Russian, Italian army and navy amongst others.

British Army War Diaries 1914-1922

Second World War

Library and Archives Canada - Introduction to Second World War resources

Canadian Merchant Navy

Canadian Women's Army Corps (CWACs)  Don't call us WACs! - a personal history by Doris Gregory, Vancouver B.C. 

The 42nd Company, Canadian Women’s Army Corps, Canadian Army Overseas, 1940s. Saskatchewan Archives Board R-B12169 

A large photo gallery of Images of Women in various military roles in the Second World War (via The Memory Project, an initiative of Historica Canada).

Interviews with War Brides who came to Canada after the Second World War. This article includes links to sources for looking for War Brides.

National Archives UK: These war diaries contain the daily record of events, reports on operations, exercises, intelligence summaries, of units of dominion forces.

Canadian (Genealogy) Military Websites of Interest

In this article, the Times Colonist newspaper, Victoria BC, discusses the Great War Project and the database. These two websites are essentially the same project; the Canadian Great War Project is a website created in 2004 by Marc Leroux. The Canadian Great War Project Database is a partnership between Marc Leroux and the University of Victoria to compile the data on his webpages into a searchable database.

Good resources on Gail Dever's Military section under the Genealogy Toolbox

CanGenealogy's extensive list of Military Links pertaining to Canadian Military Genealogy

There is a plethora of information on the internet about the First and Second World Wars, with many enthusiasts, volunteers, as well as 'forums'. I encourage you to undertake some creative boolean searching to further your research. I'm happy to add your suggestions to this page, but as it is rather long already, it will only take a few more links to burst at the seams!

Finding Your Ancestors in Canada    Finding Your Ancestors in Canadian Directories     

UK to Canada Genealogy Index Page

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