Canadian Genealogy Centre – Military Records, Part 1

The Canadian Genealogy Centre has so much information on the military. The first page provides a list of different topics as well as other websites to help you with your research. The first item on the list is a website that helps you understand Canadian Military History.

If your family history has men who fought for the French Regime in Canada then there is a lot of information available. You will find militia rolls created in 1663 and 1755. Lists of microfilms that relate to the regiments at the Plains of Abraham on 13 September 1759, as well as a general list of regiments dating from 1759 to 1830.

The Compagnies Franches de la Marine refers primarily to officers. These microfilms include details about promotions, pay and pensions, land grants and notarial records.

In the summer of 1665 1,200 soldiers of the Carignan-Salières Regiment landed in Quebec. You can download a PDF file that lists manuscript sources and an extensive bibliography.

You will have to be able to read the French language to be to search these records.

The next topic is British Forces. If you are researching a regiment that was stationed in Canada then you can find records relating to them at Library and Archives Canada.

Some of these records are: Royal Hospital Chelsea Soldiers’ Documents 1760-1872; Royal Hospital Chelsea Regimental Registers 1713-1868; Registers of Various Regiments 1756-1878; Depot Description Books 1803-1892; Pension claims by widows of officers of the King’s German Legion and British American Regiments 1775-1908; and Muster Books and Pay Lists for various Regiments serving in British North America 1759-1767.

British Military and Naval Records covers the time period from the American Revolution until the mid-1800s. Documents can be found that relate to the British Army in Canada, Loyalist Regiments, War of 1812, the Canadian militia and others.

You will find the Canada General Service Medal Registers, Research in Other Institutions, Research Online and Research in Published Sources. They have a bibliography to help you find more on the subject.

The Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the King during the American Revolution (1775-1783). The same record series we found under British Forces are found under Loyalist. Land Petitions can help you find out more about your Loyalist ancestor. There are two lists of Loyalists. The first is a United Empire List from the Executive Council Office and it contains annotations. The second is the Crown Lands Department Loyalist List which was published in 1885.

The Sir Frederick Haldimand series includes provisions lists and muster rolls that have information relating to Loyalists, disbanded soldiers and their families in the province of Quebec. There is a nominal index to these records.

The Audit Office 12 and 13 has information on Loyalists particularly if they settled in the Maritimes. British Headquarters Papers contain lists of refugees from New York and Rhode Island and have numerous references to Port Roseway and Shelburne, Nova Scotia.

The Book of Negros is indexed and contains the names of Black Loyalists.

Ward Chipman, Muster Master’s Office (1777-1785) has names of Loyalists who were disbanded and with their families settled in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

War Office 42 contains pension claims relating to officers in the German Legion and British American Regiments that were submitted by their widows.

Port Roseway Associates, Muster Book of Free Blacks, Settlement of Birchtown, 1784. In 1783 Loyalists and British troops evacuated New York. The Loyalists, their families, servants and slaves, founded Port Roseway which became Shelburne Nova Scotia. The free Blacks in this group formed a new community called Birchtown. This record has been digitized and can be found online.

German Troops is another topic under military. When the American Revolution started the British did not have enough troops to go into battle, so they made an agreement with the German principalities to employ groups of soldiers.

Between 1776 and 1783 about 30,000 Germans fought in North America. 10,000 of them served in Canada and after the war approximately 2,400 settled in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

You can find listings of microfilms relating to the War Office, Colonial Office, Sir Frederick Haldimand papers and other series of documents.

As you can see this is a large topic at the Canadian Genealogy Centre so I am going to finish it up in the next post.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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Have you checked out the Canadian Genealogy Centre lately?

The Canadian Genealogy Centre has a lot of free databases to help you with your research. Some include images and some indexes only.

Let’s start with the census records found at the Canadian Genealogy Centre.

The 1911 Canada census is searchable by geographic location only and images are available.

So this is like using a microfilm at home on your computer. Of course, it helps if you have a place name to start the search. If you are searching a large city it can take you a while to get through the census images.

The 1906 Census of the Northwest Provinces is another one that is searchable by geographic location only and has images available.

The 1901 Census of Canada is searchable by geographic location and has images.

The 1891 and the 1881 Censuses of Canada can be searched by name and the images are available.

Unfortunately the 1871 Census of Canada is only searchable by head of household and there are no images. If someone in the household has a different last name sometimes you can find them in the index as well.

There is nothing for the 1861 Census of Canada.

The 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, Nova Scotia & New Brunswick has a geographic search and the images.

Under the topic census they also have a listing of available microfilms for census records in Canada from 1666-1901. The earlier records are mostly for Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

There are explanations of column headings, what censuses are available, enumeration dates and census abbreviations. They give advice if you are searching after 1916 or in Newfoundland and Labrador.

To help you with your census search there are Electoral Maps: The Electoral Atlas of the Dominion of Canada (1895) and a Map of Ontario (1874).

The website discusses voters lists. These are modern records and the federal lists start in 1935. There is a list of microfilms available. You will need to know the riding in which your ancestor lived. Remember the boundaries have changed over the years. Some provinces and municipalities also have voters lists that you may be able to search.

One item that gets overlooked is the 1940 National Register. You can order this record for a person who has been dead for 20 years and can read more about it in an earlier posting of The Passionate Genealogist.

We have gotten so used to having indexes for the most popular records. Be adventurous, go in and search the census online as you might have done a microfilm. You do not have to leave your home; it will just take you a little longer. Besides you never know what you may find out about the place you are researching and who else you might find in the process.

And remember these are all offered free of charge.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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1939 National Register England, Scotland and Northern Ireland vs 1940 National Register Canada

Recently in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, through a Freedom of Information request, the 1939 National Register has become available to researchers. You can only get it for people who are deceased and you need a name and address to request the information.

The information gathered was to provide everyone with their National Identity Card and with the evacuations and mobilization it needed to be done quickly. The date was 29 September 1939.

The questions asked were name, address, gender, birth date, marital status, occupation and whether you had any membership in any kind of military forces which included Civil Defense Services and a like.

In England the fee to get this information is 43 GBP. In Scotland you would pay 13 GBP.

Since the register entries became available in England and Scotland, Northern Ireland has also started to release their information. It is not as easy to get the information yet, mainly because of the large amount of files and the fact that the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland is getting ready for a big move and will be closed from September 2010 to May 2011. You can read a description of how to order the registration from Northern Ireland at the Scottish Genealogy News and Events blog. I would recommend reading this blog regularly if you have Scottish ancestors.

Remember one thing – this is only for Northern Ireland. The war was after Home Rule and the South of Ireland was not officially involved in the Second World War.

What I find very interesting is that this information is only coming to light now in the United Kingdom. In Canada we had a similar national registration but ours is called the 1940 National Registration. The public have been able to order copies of this registration for a long time. You need to prove the person is deceased twenty years and a newspaper death notice is accepted. You also need to provide as much identifying information as possible. The fee is $47.25, which includes the GST, and will not be refunded if the search is negative. You can find details for ordering a copy at the Canadian Genealogy Centre.

I have ordered this information several times and it provides much more information than the 1939 National Registration. The information includes: name, address, age, date of birth, marital status, number of dependents, place and country of birth of individual and his or her parents, nationality, year of entry into Canada (if an immigrant), racial origin, languages, education, general health, occupation, employment status, farming or mechanical skills and previous military service.

There are two forms one for men and one for women. Copies of these can be found on the website. Every man and women 16 years of age and over had to complete these forms except for members of the armed forces, religious orders or those confined to an institution. If they died between 1940 and 1946 then it is possible that the form was destroyed. Try anyway because I know of some instances when this was not the case. It can also take upwards of three months to get the registration.

The information I received when I got the 1940 National Registration form was an abstract of basic information like name, place, age, etc, then a copy of the form that had been transcribed and a copy of the original form. I was very glad they sent the original because where the transcriber was not able to decipher the writing I could decipher it. The copy of the original is not very good but careful study can provide more accurate information.

If you are researching someone who was alive during this time period in Canada I would recommend getting a copy of their 1940 National Registration. It could prove to be very enlightening.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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The Maple Leaf Forever

The last few weeks while Vancouver has been hosting the Olympics the Maple Leaf has been flying strong and proud all over the country. No more so than in the closing ceremonies when every Canadian stereotype was marched into the stadium.

Did you ever wonder how the Maple Leaf became such a symbol for Canada or how the song “Maple Leaf Forever” came into being? You can find out at the Toronto Public Library website where they have a bit of the history of the Maple Leaf and the song.

http://ve.torontopubliclibrary.ca/Canada_Day/

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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