“Lest We Forget”
Updated: Nov 13, 2018
How you can use military records to locate other family members
Military records can be a great help in locating other members of your family. Most military records give the soldier's rank, reference number, the date of birth, address and next of kin. A good resource for my family research has been the Attestation Papers of Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) of the First World War.
What is an Attestation Paper? An attestation paper is an agreement to be in the army and to be loyal to it. It is an agreement to serve and to be attached to any arm of the service for a certain amount of time.
I found Frank, a brother to my great-grandfather, Thomas Cramer by looking at Thomas’ attestation papers. Thomas had been born in 1878 in England. His mother Mrs. F. Cramer is listed as his next of kin and the address is 94 Shaw Street North, Toronto. Frank Cramer’s attestation papers showed that while he was born in Toronto in 1895 his mother, Mrs. F. Cramer is listed as his next of kin and the address is also 94 Shaw Street North, Toronto.
There are a few sites online that have military records. Ancestry.com (a subscription site) has good selection of military records. Library and Archives Canada (LAC) (a free site) also has good records. Go to http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/military-peace/index-e.html. Library and Archives Canada holds an extensive collection of records of the Canadian men and women who have served their country in the military and in the early years of the North West Mounted Police. There are records relating to Loyalists, the War of 1812, the Rebellions, the South African War, the First World War and the Second World War, many of which are featured in databases, research guides and virtual exhibitions. The records include muster rolls, military service files, unit war diaries, medal registers, photographic collections, documentary art and posters, as well as published sources.
Some other good sites for military records are:
Cyndi’s List, https://www.cyndislist.com/canada/military/
National Archives (USA), https://www.archives.gov/research