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Military Records: Databases

What are databases?

Databases are organized collections of information. There are many databases containing records of military history.

The online databases highlighted in the boxes on the right will be useful for those researching:

Many of these databases also contain digitized scans of the original records!

General Military Databases

Military Heritage - Databases

These freely accessible databases of items from Library and Archives Canada's collection are a great starting point for conducting military research.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission was established to commemorate those who died during WWI and WWII from commonwealth countries. The Commission cares for cemeteries and memorials in over 150 countries. Use their database (under "Find War Dead") to find the cemetery where a soldier was buried.

Canadian Virtual War Memorial

This database from Veterans Affairs Canada serves as a memorial for all those who died in service since confederation. Records contain information on military service (service number, age, date of death, unit, and division) and personal information (date and place of birth, date and place of enlistment, parents' names, and burial information.)

Some entries also contain photos and memorabilia and Veterans Affairs encourages sending in digital images to be added to the records.

The Memory Project

This initiative from Historica Canada aims to collect oral history interviews and digitize photos and documents from Canadian soldiers. See photos and read stories from soldiers from WWI, WWII, Korea, and peacekeeping missions.

Gathering our Heroes

The King Regiment Chapter of the IODE created this website and database of WWI and WWII enlistments in Chatham-Kent. As Lambton residents living near the border of Lambton and Kent may have enlisted in Kent rather than Lambton, consult this database as a possible source of information on the soldier you are researching.

First World War Databases

Soldiers of the First World War: 1914-1918

This database from Library and Archives Canada is an index to those who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. LAC is currently digitizing the service files for each individual and this database is expected to be completed in 2015.

Service files contain forms on enlistment (attestation papers), training, medical, discipline, pay, and discharge or notification of death. Click "Search: Database" to search the records.

*NOTE* Since this project is still being completed, not every soldier's digitized service file is yet available, but each record does contain their enlistment form (attestation paper.)

Canada, Soldiers of the First Word War, 1914-1918

[This Ancestry database is only accessible from the Lambton County Archives or from a branch of the Lambton County Library without a paid personal subscription to Ancestry.]

This database from Ancestry is an index to the attestation papers of men enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during WWI. (It contains the same information as the database above, Soldiers of the First World War: 1914-1918.)

War Diaries of the First World War

This database contains digitized war diaries of CEF units and are essentially a log of each unit's "action in the field." They do not contain personal reflections, but rather, are an historical record of each units operations and activities during WWI.

*Research tip: you must know the unit name to search the database. Ex) 70th Battalion.

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

[This Ancestry database is only accessible from the Lambton County Archives or from a branch of the Lambton County Library without a paid personal subscription to Ancestry.]

This database contains records of the circumstances of casualty (how a soldier died) and where the death occurred. Records also contain information on next of kin and where the soldier was buried.

Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919

[This Ancestry database is only accessible from the Lambton County Archives or from a branch of the Lambton County Library without a paid personal subscription to Ancestry.]

This database contains records from the War Graves Registers: information on next of kin, date of death, cause and place of death, and burial information.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission

This database contains information on the cemetery where a soldier was buried.

See an expanded description of this database under "General" above.

Second World War Databases

Service Files of the Second World War - War Dead, 1939-1947

This database from Library and Archives Canada contains service files for those who died during WWII. (Service files for other WWII soldiers are still closed due to privacy legislation.)

Files contain information on enlistment, service details, medical records, evaluation reports, medal entitlements, cause of death, and burial details. Click "Search: Database" to access these records.

Canadian Army Overseas Honours and Awards

This database of the Directorate of History and Heritage of the Department of National Defence, contains digitized files of those given honours and award citations for the Second World War.