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

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

Historic Ordnance Survey Ireland Maps Online

Anyone who does research of any kind knows how important maps are to the process. Ordnance Survey Ireland has put historic maps online and they are searchable for free. The website says “Between 1829 and 1842 Ordnance Survey Ireland completed the first ever large-scale survey of an entire country”.

There are three series currently online:

6 inch mapping series (1:10,560) colour 1837-1842
6 inch mapping series (1:10,560) greyscale 1837-1842
25 inch mapping series (1:2,500) greyscale 1888-1913

On the first page you can choose to either browse the maps or look at Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary which is in PDF format. This gives you the location and a brief history of towns and townlands in Ireland.

When you first go into browse the maps you get a full image of Ireland. If you click on the province or area of interest it will get bigger.

On the right hand side there is a menu. If you click the mouse on pan you will have the ability to move the image around. Search will help you find a specific place. The easiest way is to click on search, chose by county, pick your county name and then enter a town, locality, townland or historic parish name. You have several to choose from in the drop down menus.

There is also choice of maps. A hybrid map which shows a satellite map with the buildings and roads filled in and then overlaid on top. Ortho 2005, 2000 and 1995 are satellite maps created in those years. A historic map which is in colour and a historic map in black and white are the last two options. You also have the ability to do a modern map overlay which places a historic map over the modern image.

Historic Layers allows you to choose different features and to apply them to the map. The features are: environmental such as brewery, gas works and quarry; or genealogical such as churches, burial grounds or a military barracks. These only apply to the historic 6 and 25 inch maps.

The historic layers can be difficult to see on the maps. The writing is in burgundy. This makes it tricky to see if the map is zoomed out or if looking at a city map. They are easier to read if you use the black and white historic map. Try turning on all the choices and see what can be found in your place of interest. This will give you a good idea of what the area was like.

If you click on reset view it takes you back to the full image of Ireland. You also have the option to purchase hardcopy maps.

So go in and have a look as you never know what you may find.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell (1887-1916)

My Great Grand Uncle was Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell. Gibson Leitch was the name of the doctor who helped bring Horace into the world. This is a Scottish naming practice that is not heard of very often. Horace was born in Glasgow Scotland and was the ninth child of the union of John Sheddens Campbell and Janet Waddell Ross. He was actually John’s seventeenth child.

In 1909 Horace and his brother Frank left Scotland for an adventure in the wilderness of British Columbia Canada. He is found on the 1911 Canadian census with the occupation “Surveyor in the woods” and was living in the Vancouver Power company camp in Nanaimo Renfrew District.

Not much is known of Horace’s adventures in Canada but when the First World War began he signed up almost immediately. Horace signed up with the 29th Vancouver Battalion in November 1914. The Battalion was part of the Second Canadian Contingent and this in turn was part of the 6th Brigade.

These soldiers did a lot of fighting in and around the French and Flemish borders. Horace went to Trench Warfare School and in the field was promoted to Corporal.

According to his attestation papers Horace was 6 ft 1 ½ in tall and weighed 173 lbs. He had a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair.

Horace never returned from the war. On June 8, 1916 he lost his life as a result of the Battle of Mount Sorrel in Belgium which was fought from 2-13 of June 1916. June 3rd must have been an active day because a lot of his comrades lost their lives on that day. Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

All that was left for his mother was a picture of his grave in Belgium. Horace is buried with the other soldiers who lost their lives in Belgium at the Reninghelst New Military Cemetery.

A search for Horace on the internet provides his information on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Canadian Great War Project Database.

As with so many men of that time period Horace’s life was cut short as a result of the First World War. They will not be forgotten.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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