Researching a Family Military History with Carol Reid

PPT presentation 4.9 MB

Presented by Carol Reid from the Canadian War Museum on October 17 to an interested group of GVHS members and friends about military genealogy.

Original Power Point file available for download.

Slide 1

Military Genealogy

An introduction to online resources relating to Canadian Military service records.

Slide 2

  • 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).

Slide 3

Pre-First World Was on-line sources

Slide 4

What can you actually find when you have just a name and a date? Such as the case with this photos, where all we had was "Captain George Piers, Halifax, 1857".

Slide 5

With Piers' information and using Army Lists, Ancestry, published histories of the Nova Scotia Vital Statistics website we were able to determine the following information:

  • 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.

Slide 6

First World War on-line resources

Slide 7

First World War published resources

  • 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.

Slide 8

Second World War published resources

Slide 9

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 www.cwgc.org/debt_of_honour.asp?menuid=14
  • The Canadian Virtual War Memorial www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/collections/virtualmem
  • The Maple Leaf Legacy Project www.mapleleaflegacy.ca/wp

  • Slide 10

    The following slides illustrate online documents

    Slide 11

    Consulting the Soldiers of the First World War database and looking at the attestation paper for my grandfather we can tell that William Thomas Kendall was born in Enfield, Middlesex, England on 19 December 1887, his next of kin is his mother Mrs. L. Kendall who was living in Mount Dennis, Ontario at the time he enlisted. He was single, 26 years old, 5'3”, (my mother always claims he was a tall man!) an electrician and had served with the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery for three years prior to enlisting in the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 25 September 1915 at Valcartier, Quebec and his service number was 5704. If we then go to something like Ancestry and the census records we can tell that he was one of four children of Frederick and Louis Kendall, living in All Saints Parish of London, England and that William was working as a railroad messenger in 1901 and he came to Canada in 1909.

    Slide 12

    For someone like Richard Rowland Thompson, about whom much has been written, you can still start from the beginning and look at his South African War service file, without leaving home, thanks to LAC. Looking at his on-line file you find out that Thompson was 22, single, had light brown hair and blue eyes, was 5'6', a medical student and born in Cork, Ireland and that his next of kin was his mother back in Cork, he enlisted in Ottawa on 18 October 1899. His file also tells us he was of good intelligence, of a nervous temperament and was generally healthy, that he served with the 2nd Special Service Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment in South African, was entitled to the Queens South Africa Medal with the clasps: Paardeberg, Driefontein and Cape Colony. We also learn that he was discharged on 16 October 1900 and was then commissioned in the South African Constabulary before taking up employment with the DeBeers Company in South Africa and that he had been awarded one the Queens Scarves and that he had been nominated for the Victoria Cross.

    Slide 13

    Thompson continued

    Slide 14

    Slide 15

    On-line resources continued

    Slide 16

    On-line resources continued

    Slide 17

    On-line resources continued

    Slide 18

    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.