The Canadian Military Heritage Project - Researching your Military ancestors. Find your military ancestors and learn their genealogy and history.
Canadian Military Heritage Project - Find your military ancestors!

Canadian Military Heritage Project
FIND YOUR MILITARY ANCESTORS!

Search free Canadian ancestors' letters Find Canadian ancestors in in free searchable military databases for each war and rebellion Canada has been involved in. Build your family tree, and rediscover history. Find your military roots and learn your military history.

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Guide to Finding a Loyalist Ancestor in Upper Canada (Ontario) will help genealogists find their Loyalist ancestor. Explanations are given for each of the set of records available for research. The reader will learn how to manoeuver through the more challenging obscure records.

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Find Your Canadian Military Ancestor

Many of the records listed below are those held by the National Archives of Canada. The NAC is not the only source when researching a military ancestor, and we will be adding information to this page as we acquire it. Please scroll down to the War of interest.
Pre-First World War Canadian Military Records
Except for the South African War, detailed personnel records for the Canadian military were not kept prior to the First World War. Earlier records consist mainly of muster rolls and paylists, which contain little or no personal information. As most are not indexed, the regiment must be known before you can attempt a search. If you know your ancestor's place of residence, you might find references to his service in the militia rolls for that county. Most of these lists are found within the NAC Department of Militia and Defence series (RG 9), parts of which are available on microfilm.

American Revolution - Loyalists 1775-1783
Type of Record Location of Record Ordering Information Comments
British Military and Naval Records Collection National Archives of Canada RG 8, "C" Series References located in the index provide a brief description of the document, date, "C" series volume number and a page number. To consult the actual document, locate the volume number on the separate list of microfilm reel numbers. The nominal/subject card index and the series itself are available through the inter-institutional loan arrangement. Includes references to the British army in Canada and the Canadian Militia Available on ILL
Land Petitions for Quebec and Lower Canada, 1764-1841 National Archives of Canada RG 1 L 3L Finding Aid 1801, a nominal card index, serves as a means of access to the Land Petitions in RG 1, L 3 L for Quebec and Lower Canada, c. 1764-1841, and the Gaspé Land Commission records in RG 1, L 7, volumes 79-80. For records of the Province of Canada, 1841-1867, see the Upper Canada Land Index (Finding Aid 1802).
Land Petitions for Upper Canada (Ontario) and the United Province of Canada 1791-1867 National Archives of Canada RG 1 L 3 Finding Aid 1802, a nominal card index known as the Upper Canada Land Index serves both the Land Books (Minutes of the Land Committee) in RG 1, L 1 and the Land Petitions in RG 1, L 3, for the provinces of Upper Canada, 1791-1841, and Canada, 1841-1867. The index was microfilmed in 1981 on reels C-10810 to C-10836; supplementary entries were microfilmed in 1991, on reels H-1976 to H-1978.
Land Petitions Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Provincial Archives NS and NB   The provincial archives in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick hold collections of land petitions for those provinces.
Petitions for land National Archives of Canada microfilm reels C-2222 & C-1476. Many Loyalists and their descendants submitted petitions for land, especially those who settled in Upper Canada (Ontario).
Claims for losses to the British government National Archives of Canada MG 14, Audit Office 12 and 13 The claims contain details about former place of residence, income, property, details of military service, etc.A nominal index is available on microfilm reel C-9821. Available on ILL
Provision lists and muster rolls National Archives of Canada MG 21 These Loyalist volumes, and the nominal index to them, are available on microfilm reel C-1475. papers of Sir Frederick Haldimand Available on ILL
Muster rolls of Loyalist regiments National Archives of Canada collection of British Military and Naval Records (RG 8, "C" Series) Available on ILL
Applications for Pensions for Widows and Children of Loyalist Officers, 1755-1908 Family History Library W.O. 42), arranged alphabetically on eight rolls of microfilm (FHL film nos. 857997—858000 and 866501—866504). Available at local FHC
Haldimand, Sir Frederick : The Haldimand Papers - his papers and correspondence from 1758-1784. Available as 115 reels of microfilm from the NAC or as selected records on 50 reels of diffusion microfilm from the Ontario Archives [NA MG 21, G2]
United Empire Loyalist Lists [NA RG 1, L7 Vol 52a] on C-2222 from the Ontario Archives
District Loyalist Rolls [NA RG 1, L7 Vol 52b] - transcript on MS803 at the Ontario Archives
First Heir & Devisee Commission 1797 - 1804 [NA RG 1, L5] Available at the Ontario Archives. The H & D Commission adjudicated disputed land claims and titles. Submitted documentation from heirs of original locatees can include location tickets, copies of wills, mortgages, affidavits, and testimonial letters.
Township Papers [RG Series C-IV] - These are arranged by concession and lot and deal mostly with the original locatees. They sometimes contain other Crown Land records and can include location tickets, assignments, certificate of settlement duties and correspondence. Available at the Ontario Archives
Orders in Council [RG 1, Series C-1-2] If the original Land Petition is missing, it may be found in this series which is arranged alphabetically by grantee or place

See Olive Tree Genealogy Loyalists for Military Muster Rolls

National Archives of Canada is online at http://www.archives.ca

War of 1812
Type of Record Location of Record Ordering Information Comments
British Military and Naval Records Collection NAC RG 8, "C" Series References located in the index provide a brief description of the document, date, "C" series volume number and a page number. To consult the actual document, locate the volume number on the separate list of microfilm reel numbers. The nominal/subject card index and the series itself are available through the inter-institutional loan arrangement. Includes references to the British army in Canada and the Canadian Militia

National Archives of Canada pre WW 1 Military Records

Fenian Raids 1866, 1870
Type of Record Location of Record Ordering Information Comments
Medal registers National Archives of Canada RG 9 II A 5 The medal registers are indexed. You can request a search by sending the NAC a written inquiry.

National Archives of Canada pre WW 1 Military Records

Red River Rebellion 1870
Type of Record Location of Record Ordering Information Comments
Medal registers National Archives of Canada RG 9 II A 5 The medal registers are indexed. You can request a search by sending the NAC a written inquiry.

National Archives of Canada pre WW 1 Military Records

North West Rebellion 1885
Type of Record Location of Record Ordering Information Comments
Medal registers National Archives of Canada RG 9 II A 5 The medal registers are indexed. You can request a search by sending the NAC a written inquiry.

National Archives of Canada pre WW 1 Military Records

South African War 1899-1902
Type of Record Location of Record Ordering Information Comments
Medal registers National Archives of Canada RG 9 II A 5 The medal registers nd the South African War records are indexed. You can request a search by sending the NAC a written inquiry.
Service files for members of the Canadian forces National Archives of Canada RG 38 volumes 1-116 These records, which are arranged in alphabetical order, are available on microfilm through the inter-institutional loan arrangement.

Search the South African Boer War Database for your Canadian Military Ancestor

You may also find your ancestor's name in the Books of Remembrance in the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa Ontario, and now online.

National Archives of Canada pre WW 1 Military Records

First World War Military Records

The First World Records can be found in RG 9, Records of Militia and Defence, Series III, and RG 150, Records of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada. In addition to the War Diaries the NAC has the following records:

  • RG 9, III-A-2, Canadian Sections at General Headquarters
  • RG 9, III-A-3, CEF, Siberian Force
  • RG 9, III-C-1 to 15, War Diaries for all units (infantry, artillery,
  • RAF, Forestry, Medical, Service) RG 9, III-D , Records of the Canadian War Records Office
  • RG 150, II-1, Daily Part II Orders, 29.7 metres
  • RG 150, II-2, Attestation Papers, 72.9 m
  • RG 150, II-3, CEF Personnel Files, 3,205.2 m
  • RG 150, II-6, Sailing Lists, 7.4m

The NAC holds a very large collection of First World War material. Only the War Diaries have been microfilmed and the rest must be viewed at the National Archives.

The Canadian Virtual War Memorial is an online searchable database of all soldiers killed in the First and Second World War. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission assisted in making these records available to Veteran's Affairs Canada.

You can also search the CEF database online at the National Archives of Canada for your ancestor, then send for his/her record of service. Do not send by email as that only gives you the Attestation Papers and not the full record. The full record is only available when ordering via FAX or snail. Addresses are provided by the NAC at their online site.

Application Form for Post World War 1 Military Service Information (at the NAC)

You may also find your ancestor's name in the Books of Remembrance, in the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa Ontario and available online.

Last Post on the Web Over 65,000 names of Canadian War Veterans

National Archives of Canada WW1 Records Searchable Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) database

Second World War Military Records

The Canadian Virtual War Memorial is an online searchable database of all soldiers killed in the First and Second World War. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission assisted in making these records available to Veteran's Affairs Canada.

You may also find your ancestor's name in the Books of Remembrance, held in the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa Ontario, and available online. Choose Records & Collections

Last Post on the Web Over 65,000 names of Canadian War Veterans

Consult National Archives of Canada to send for military records after 1918

Lost Faces Ancestor Photos from the 1800s

Wishing you had an ancestor photograph? Check out the 1800s photographs and antique photo albums on Lost Faces. There are over 2,500 photos in this growing genealogy collection

Got Canadian Ancestors? Check out Canadian Military Records Online
Got Canadian Military Ancestors?
For those seeking military ancestors in Canada, Ancestry has some really great (and obscure!) records that I bet not many genealogists are aware of. I recently found some great information on a few of my ancestors in thees databases. The one that thrilled me the most was a record for my 3rd great grandfather John Greenlees. I found him recorded as 

Name: John Greenless Age: 23
Birth Date: abt 1782 Birth Place: Fermanagh [Ireland]
Military Date: 7 May 1805 Unit: 54th Foot Soldiers
The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Class Number: WO 25; Class Title: 54 Foot; Piece Number: 420; Piece Title: 54 Foot.
Source Information: Ancestry.com. Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. 

This record gave his height, hair and eye colour and more! Here is the complete list of Canadian (and British) military records on Ancestry for those who may want to give them a quick look.


Canada, Soldiers of the First World War, 1914-1918Military598,682

Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900Military467,838

UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Registers of Soldiers Who Served in Canada, 1743-1882Military375,748

Canada, Military Honours and Awards Citation Cards, 1900-1961Military68,047

Canada, Nominal Rolls and Paylists for the Volunteer Militia, 1857-1922Military1,609,017

Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948Military71,052

Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919Military56,567

Canada, British Army and Canadian Militia Muster Rolls and Pay Lists, 1795-1850Military752,886

Canada, Loyalist Claims, 1776-1835Military24,789

Canada, Militia and Defence Forces Lists, 1832, 1863-1939Military79,630

Canada, Ledgers of CEF Officers Transferring to Royal Flying Corps, 1915-1919Military1,210

The Loyalists in OntarioStories, Memories & Histories418

Canada, South African War Land Grants, 1908-1910Military7,143

Canada, British Navy Ship Muster Rolls and Pay Lists, 1757-1836Military176,551

United Empire Loyalists, Parts I-IIStories, Memories & Histories22,456

Canada, British Army Regimental Rolls of Non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers, 1806-1892Military30,396

Canada, Registers of Prisoners of War, 1803-1815Military56,505

Old United Empire Loyalists ListImmigration & Travel6,353

Canada, Selected Service Records of Soldiers, 1914-1918Military102

Canada, Selected Service Records of War Dead, 1939-1945Military100

Canada, Pension Applications For Widows and Family of British Military Officers, 1776-1881Military843

Your ancestors' names may be waiting for you!

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Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for yourWar of 1812 ancestors The Poppy is a Trademark of Dominion Command, Royal Canadian Legion, and is used on The Canadian Military Heritage Project with permission