Researching CEF personnel



Library and Archives Canada is the refuge of the records of all, or most, of CEF personnel.  If you access the LAC website at https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/personnel-records.aspx you can begin your search by clicking on the “Search: Database” button.  On the search page, you will be asked for Name and Regimental Number.  You are also asked if you want to refine your search by including or excluding any category of service.

Let’s look at how the system works.  We will search for the records of a man called Dennis Kane from Chipman, NB.  When I first looked for Kane’s records, as part of a story I was researching, I did not know his Regimental number.  My search revealed three records based on his name only.

I then clicked on each link to find which one was the Kane for which I was looking,  Turned out to be the second record.

Near the bottom of the page was a link which took me to Kane’s records:

Digitized service file – PDF format: B4998-S040

I now had 53 pages of records for Dennis Kane of Chipman, NB.

But don’t just stop when you get the records.  Many of the soldiers, naval crews and aviators have stories told about them and/or their service.  Recently I was researching a CEF soldier who was MIA (and presumed dead) on 15 September 1916.  My research showed he was part of the 28th Battalion.  By digging a little deeper, I found that he died during the battle for Courcellette, France near a town called Ginchy.  I then looked up the war diaries of the 28th Battalion and found a description of the battle.

Reference: Bruce Ricketts