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Manitoba never really had a militia, nor did it have the need for contingents of the British army to remain on a regular basis. For these reasons, not many military records exist. A few muster rolls, pay lists, and enlistment records for the period 1815–1877 are located at the National Archives of Canada.
Indexes to military records of major conflicts, rebellions and wars can be accessed through the Genealogy Unit of the National Archives (see the “Archives and Libraries” section for the address and telephone number). Copies of specific documentation may be obtained by written request to the Personnel Records Unit, Researcher Services Division of the National Archives of Canada.
Men and women who served in the military may have created extensive records about their time in the service. The records for those who served prior to World War I have little personal detail beyond muster rolls, pay lists and medal registers. The information about those who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force is available from the Library and Archives Canada. The records after this time are only available to the person themselves or members of their immediate family providing the military person is deceased.
Red River Rebellion (1870)
Information about the men who served in the Red River Rebellion can be found in the Red River Register of Service (RG 9 ll B 4), volume 16 which is available on microfilm reel T-6955 through interlibrary loan from the Library and Archives Canada.
North West Rebellion 1885 (Riel's Second Rebellion)
Many men from Manitoba served in the North West Rebellion. No official list of the men who served survives but there was an Honour Roll of the officers, non-commissioned officers and men composing the North West Field Force that served in 1885 published in A History of Riel’s Second Rebellion and How it Was Quelled. The book is available on microfiche in both the Canadian Institute of Historical Microreproductions and Peel’s Bibliography of the Prairie Province series. An image of the book is found on the Peel’s Prairie Province website.
A copy of the list was also reproduced in Generations: The Journal of the Manitoba Genealogical Society.
- Haultain, Arnold, Souvenir Number of the Illustrated War News: Being a History of Riel’s Second Rebellion. Toronto: Grip Print and Publishing Co., 1885. CIHM/ICHM FC 18.C5 Fiche No. 30722; Peel Fiche No. 1460.
- Haultain, Dr. Theodore Arnold, The Souvenir Number and Illustrated War News: A History of Riel’s Second Rebellion and How it was Quelled. Toronto: Grip Print and Publishing Co., 1885. Peel No. 1461-there are images of the book on the web page.
- "1885 North West (Riel Rebellion) Honour Roll of the Officer, Non-Commissioned Officers and Men Composing the North-West Field Force Which Suppressed the Rebellion of 1885." Generations: The Journal of the Manitoba Genealogical Society 15 (June 1990).
- "Manitoba’s Militia Officers 1883-1914." Generations: The Journal of the Manitoba Genealogical Society 29 (March, June 2004).
Indexes to Medal Registers North West Rebellion 1885
The Library and Archives Canada has an index to the medal registers for the North West Rebellion 1885 available on microfilm. If you find a name you are searching for you can then order a microfilm with more information.
C-15729 A Grealis, Michael
C-15730 E. - Z
- North West Rebellion Teamsters
- North West Rebellion Transport Officers, A - Sykes
C-16731 North West Rebellion Transport Officers, Streets, John-Z
|| Volume 1
|| Volume 5, page 42 |
|| Volume 9, page 42
|| Volume 15 |
|| Volume 6, page 43
|| Volume 9, page 41 |
The veterans who served in the North West Rebellion were eligible to receive a land grant of 360 acres. The records for these grants are found in the Library and Archives Canada as Dominion Lands Branch, 1870-1946 RG 15 Series D Section II. These records have not been microfilmed.
Military Bounty Land Warrants
Riel Rebellion, 1885-1888
Warrants to officers and soldiers engaged in the suppression of the 1885 Rebellion who were entitled to a free land grant of 320 acres issued by the Minister of Militia and Defense. Volumes 1629-1633.
Receipts for Military Bounty Land Warrants or Military Scrip, 1885-1899
Aperture card books nos. 47-49 (Series D-II-g) serve as a finding aid for the above receipts. Notes for the 1885 Rebellion, 1885-1899. Volumes 1639-1638.
Military Bounty Land Warrant Stubs, 1885-1913
Homestead Permit number 001 - 1372. Each stub provides the file number, militia warrant number, military bounty land warrant number, name, battalion and date. Blank warrants are attached to stubs 1373 to 1500. Index in aperture cards book no. 46. (Series D-IIl9-g) serve as a finding aid. Volumes 1639-1644
Alphabetical List of Claimants and Registers, 1886-1887
Alphabetical List of Claimants and Registers of Military Bounty Land Warrants of 1885 Rebellion, 1886-1887. (Aperture cards books nos. 45- 49)
Warrants 1- 6846. List of content of books available from the Library and Archives Canada.
Veterans of the South African (Boer War) 1898-1913
RG 38, volumes 1-116 are the service records for those who served in the Boer War. The records have been microfilmed and are available at Library and Archives Canada.
The digitized images of the attestation papers are found online as Soldiers of the South African War (1899-1902). An index to the records is also found in the Family History Library. It is listed in the catalog as South African War Land Grant Index, 1899-1902 with microfilm number 1819520.
The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa have published a book An Index to Canadian Service Records of the South African War (1899-1902). Held at the National Archives of Canada. The book contains the names of 6,000 Canadian servicemen whose records are found in the Library and Archives Canada. The index provides the surname, given name, regimental number, regiment name, volume number and microfilm number for those records in the Library and Archives Canada. A separate index lists the names of another 1,000 servicemen whose records are found in South Africa.
Medal Registers Index
C-15731 SouthAfrica A - Z
C-1861 Volume 1 Volume 5, page 42
C-1862 Volume 6, page 43 Volume 9, page 41
C-1863 Volume 9, page 42 Volume 15.
The men and the women who served in the Boer War were eligible to receive a land grant of 360 acres in western Canada. There were no fees but they had to comply with the homestead regulations. Those who received the patent to the land are found on the Western Canada Land Grants database at Library and Archives Canada. The actual records would be part of the homestead records in the provincial archives where the land is located. Those who applied for the grants are part of the homestead index. They would also be listed in the Township Register.
- An Index to Canadian Service Records of the South African War (1899- 1902) Held at the National Archives of Canada. Ottawa: British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, 1999.
World War 1
The Library and Archives Canada has the records for those who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in World War I. These records include the attestation papers, training, medical and dental records, hospitalization, discipline, pay and discharge or notification of death. The attestation papers include the recruit’s name and address, next-of-kin, date and place of birth, distinguishing physical characteristics, occupations, and previous military service. There are no details about actual battle records. You can learn about these in the war diaries. Digitised images of the attestation papers for many of the soldiers are found on the Library and Archives website. Attestation papers that were missed in the original digitisation project will be added.
The records are available to the general public without restrictions. Most files contain an average of 25 to 75 pages. Copies can be obtained for a per page fee (plus applicable taxes). Orders must be prepaid. They can be charged to a VISA or Master Card.
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N3
Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) service records are available through the Personnel Records Unit of the National Archives of Canada (see Manitoba Archives and Libraries for the address). These service records contain detailed information from enlistment to demobilization (discharge). Information may include each person's date and place of birth, address at time of enlistment, name and address of next of kin, marital status, occupation, personal description (eye and hair color, height, weight, distinctive marks or scars), and religion. When requesting information from the Personnel Records Unit, please include the person's name, rank, and regiment (where known).
Post-WWI Military Records
The war diaries are a daily account of each unit’s “Actions in the Field.” The Library and Archives Canada contains the digitised diaries of the CEF infantry, artillery and Cavalry units, Brigade, Division and Corps commands and support units such as Railway and Forestry troops. The site also includes the War Diaries of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and several British units that served under Canadian Command. The diaries are arranged by regiment. If you do not know the regiment number first find your soldier’s regimental number then check the “Regimental Number List of the Canadian Expeditionary Force” site found in the Online Help section of “War Diaries of the First World War” site. Not all diaries have been digitised yet but all are available on microfilm through interlibrary loan.
- Nicholson, G.W.L. Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1962.
Post World War 1 Records
The Library and Archives Canada has records for those who served in World War II and the Korean War. These records include documentation about enlistment, discharge, military units served with, and may also include other documents concerning medical history, medals awarded, personal evaluation reports and dental charts. There is an index to those who served in World War II but it is restricted to specific archive personnel who can check it for you. Requests for information are subject to the federal Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. A copy of the application form is found online.
There are war diaries for World War II and the Korean Conflict found in RG 24 C 3. Find the name and time period online at Library and Archives Canada by consulting “Government of Canada Files” then under Detailed Search Screen enter 24-60 in the Finding Aid field and then the unit name. If a microfilm number is shown the reel can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. Those records not microfilmed must be consulted at the archives.
Histories about army, navy and air force units provide excellent background material for researchers. These books can be found at local libraries or can be ordered through interlibrary loan. Local veteran organizations will have copies of the histories for regiments in their area. Stores that specialize in military memorabilia are also a good source of information about military history books.
Military Cemeteries and Memorials
Community cemeteries often have special sections to honour veterans who have served in the Canadian military. These sections use standard markers that show the name, military number, rank, unit name, date of death and the age of the veteran. The badge of the unit is found above the name.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Information about those who died while in active service and are buried in Commonwealth War Cemeteries can be obtained by consulting the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The information provided may include: name, rank, unit and regiment, regimental service number, age, date of death, cemetery name and location of the grave within the cemetery. Some additional information about the family will be given if this information was provided.
You can also write to the Commission for the information. It is free to family members but there is a small charge to others.
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
2 Marlow Road
Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 7DX
Books of Remembrance
Those who were killed during any of the wars are listed in the Books of Remembrance which are found in the Peace Tower in the Parliament Building in Ottawa. Each day a different page is displayed. Copies of these books can also be seen online.
Community War Memorials
Most communities have a war memorial to honour the war dead from their community. Many local histories will also have a section that lists the names of those who served in addition to the names of those who died. Communities that have local newspapers provided extensive information about those who enlisted, where they served, and when they returned after the war. If the person was injured, reported missing or was killed in action more information would be printed in the newspaper. Remembrance Day issues also contain information about local service men and women.
Manitoba has created geo-memorial sites to honour those Manitoba citizens who lost their lives while serving in the military during World War II. Bays, inlets, peninsulas and lakes now commemorate these men and women. The Manitoba Geographical Names Program is responsible for selecting the sites and registering the names. To see if there has been a geo-memorial site named for your ancestor contact:
- Manitoba Department of Natural Resources
Land Information Division
1007 Century Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3H 0W4
Telephone: (204) 945-6666
Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA)
The Department of Veterans Affairs has the records of those veterans that are still living or those who have been dead for less than 20 years. The information about how to apply for these records is found on the web page under the heading “Post WW 1 Records.”
- Veterans Affairs Canada
66 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P4
- Winnipeg Veterans Affairs Canada
610 - 234 Donald Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 4G5
Telephone: (204) 983-7040
- Allison, L. and H. Hayward. They Shall Grow Not Old. Brandon, Manitoba: Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum Inc., 1992. Has a short biography for over 18,000 men and women in the RCAF who were killed between 03 September 1943-12 August 1945
- Brodie, B.S.. “The Military Service of the Crucified Canadian.” Saskatchewan Genealogical Society Bulletin 30 March 1999.
- Brodie, Brian. “Military Records.” Tracing Your Saskatchewan Ancestors: A Guide to the Records and How to Find Them, 2nd edition. Laura M. Hanowski, editor. Regina, Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, 2003.
- Journal of the Military History Society of Manitoba. Winnipeg, Manitoba: The Society, 1992 +
- Naylor, Major Morley Gordon. Sapper’s of the North: a history of the militia in Flin Flon, Manitoba on the 40th anniversary of 21 Field Engineer Squadron (formerly 21 Field Squadron Royal Canadian Engineers, 1949-1989. Flin Flon, Manitoba: The Squadron, 1989.
- Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron 402. City of Winnipeg 402 Squadron 1932-1994. Winnipeg: The Squadron, 1974.
- Tascona, Bruce. XII Manitoba Dragoons: A Tribute Twelfth Manitoba Dragoons. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Manitoba Dragoons History Book Committee, 1991.
- The War Dead of the Commonwealth. The Register of the Names of Those Who Fell in the 1939-1945 War and Are Buried in Cemeteries in Canada. Cemeteries in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Maidenhead, England: Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 1963.
Military Service Organizations
Royal Canadian Legion
The Royal Canadian Legion halls can be a valuable source of information for the genealogist. Most have histories for the services represented by their membership as well as information that was supplied by their members when they joined. Check the Manitoba telephone book for the locations in each community or:
- Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Command
The Royal Canadian Legion
563 St. Mary’s Road
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2M 3L6
Telephone: (204) 233-3405
The Royal Canadian Legion, publisher of The Legion Magazine, has printed obituaries of their members for many years. Currently there some 60,000 entries going back to January of 1995 found in their database. These are updated twice a year.
Air Force Association of Canada
The Royal Canadian Air Force Association was formed in 1948. The title was changed to the Air Force Association of Canada in 1994 but continued to serve as an advocacy group to support Air Force veterans from the Second World War.
Their website has the following databases that are particularly valuable to genealogists. You will find them under the heading “Honours and Awards".
- Canadians serving with British Flying Services during WW 1
- RCAF personnel - Honors and Awards - 1939-1949
- Canadians Serving in RAF during WW 2
- Commonwealth Air Forces serving in RCAF during WW 2
- CF Personnel postwar services related to aviation
- Air Force Association of Canada
P.O. Box 2460, Station “D”
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5W6
Telephone: (613) 232-2303
Military History Society of Manitoba
- Military History Society of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 2G1
Telephone: (204) 255-3907
- ↑ Hanowski, Laura. "Manitoba Military Records Through WWI (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012), https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Manitoba_Military_Records_Through_WWI_%28National_Institute%29.
- ↑ Hanowski, Laura. "Manitoba Post-WWI Military Records (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012), https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Manitoba_Post-WWI_Military_Records_%28National_Institute%29.
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