Military Records

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Collection Information

Military records are one of the most valuable resources for family history and genealogy and often contain unique information about the men and women who have served Canada in uniform. Service information may include rank and regiment, date of enlistment and discharge, honours and awards, and for those who died, circumstances of death and burial. The same records may also include personal information such as date and place of birth, name and address of next of kin, occupation, marital status and often a full physical description.

Records in the Canadian military collections relate to British Army service in Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries, First World War attestation papers as well as casualty, burial and commemoration information, honours and awards from the South African War, 1899-1902 to the 1960s, Militia pay lists and nominal rolls, 1857 to 1922 and much more.

Some records, such as those for the Militia, were created in times of peace, while others document active service. For instance, the “Soldiers of the First World War” collection includes the attestation (or enlistment) papers of more than 600,000 men and women who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force between 1914 and 1919.

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Search Tips

  • Rich and detailed information is often found in military records. For this reason, you will want to search for all family members who served, direct ancestors and collateral ancestors as well. Look through your family tree for men and, in the case of the First World War, women, who may have been of age to serve. Search for all of them in records relating to a particular conflict or time period.
  • To see what collections are available, go to the Card Catalogue and filter by MILITARY collections.
  • To see what collections are available for a particular conflict or time period, select the filter for Military Records and then filter by dates and choose the decade of the conflict or possible service from the date filters in the Card Catalogue.
  • Canadian census records generally do not include information on military service with the exception of the 1916 census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Men and women who were “Overseas” when the census was taken are listed at their usual place of residence and marked with an “O”; those at training camps elsewhere in “Canada” are also enumerated with their families and the entry is marked with a “C”.
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