Many Canadians unaware of ancestors who fought in First or Second World
TORONTO, Nov. 6, 2013 /CNW/ - In honour of Remembrance Day, Ancestry.ca,
Canada's leading family history website, is giving Canadians the chance
to discover the military hero in their family by providing free access
from November 7 to 12 to more than 4.4 million online military records
from some of its most popular collections, some of which are available
free for the first time.
Each Remembrance Day, many Canadians remember the sacrifices and bravery
of those who served their country in times of battle, especially those
with ancestors and family who fought in wars past and present.
Surprisingly, a large number of Canadians don't know if they have
anyone in their family to remember at this time. According to a recent
national online survey, almost one-third of Canadians do not know if
any of their ancestors fought in either the First or Second World Wars.
"For Canadians, Remembrance Day marks a time of reflection about the
soldiers who fought, and in many cases died, for their country.
Unfortunately too many of us don't even know who these people are,"
says Lesley Anderson, a genealogist and Content Specialist at
Ancestry.ca. "We are thus happy and proud to be able to provide
Canadians the chance to look into their past to discover whether their
ancestors were among the many that fought in the great wars that
defined our nation. It is our pleasure to share these collections in
the hope that Canadians will discover more details about their
ancestors and the lives they lived."
The military records free to view cover the First and Second World War,
the Rebellion of 1837 and the War of 1812. They highlight the everyday
lives of soldiers who served their country, some even before they had a
country to fight for. The records include military awards, service
records and information on pay, which will provide Canadians with a
greater understanding of the men and women who fought in the conflicts.
Men like Frank Brown.
The story of Frank Brown
Frank Brown was born on December 18, 1893 in Waterford, Ontario. A
prolific writer of poetry, he had two wishes near the start of the
First World War; first, to join his comrades in battle and second, to
have his poems published. Both of his wishes were granted, but sadly he
only lived to see one fulfilled.
After enlisting and joining his fellow troops in England, the well-liked
Brown soon won an early promotion to Sergeant thanks to his
sharpshooting skills. Shortly after, his first wish was granted when on
February 3, 1915 he joined Captain Talbot M. Papineau and the Third
Company of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in the trenches
During his first day, the soldier-poet fired approximately 80 rounds,
estimated to be as much as the rest of his company put together. Now
being known to the Germans as a great shot, it is suspected that he
drew the attention of German sharpshooters, and at about 3:30 p.m. that
afternoon Sergeant Frank Brown was struck in the head. He died
instantly and with no pain.
His second wish was granted soon after his death. Brown's sincere,
strong and musical poems were published in a book titled Contingent Ditties and Other Soldier Songs of the Great War, by Frank Brown.
The story of Sergeant Frank Brown is an example of some of the stories
that are waiting to be discovered on Ancestry.ca, and for the 54 per
cent of Canadians that claim to have an ancestor that fought in the
First or Second World War, these records can provide vivid details into
their lives as soldiers. For the 30 per cent of Canadians that do not
know if they have an ancestor in the military, these records can bring
that history to light.
The collections that will be offered for free from November 7th to 12th include the following:
Canada, Military Honours and Award Citation Cards, 1900-1961, containing almost 70,000 records documenting awards and honours received by Canadian service personnel,
both men and women. Some records include valuable and rare information
on the soldiers' next of kin, a physical description, their home
address and an account of the meritorious action.
Canada, Nominal Rolls and Paylists for the Volunteer Militia, 1857-1922, contains more than 1.6 million records that provide detailed information about a soldier's everyday life,
including payroll. The records also include travelling expenses,
battalion or regiment, rank, pay for the use of a horse and signature
of the member for received pay. These small details can help paint a
richer picture of the day-to-day routine of Canada's servicemen and
Canada, War Graves Registers: Circumstances of Casualty, 1914-1948, contains almost 30,000 records of military burial documents from Canada, as well as casualty records
from the U.S., prisoners of war and members of the Australian Air
Force, Polish Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force.
Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919, contains over 56,000 records from the War Grave Registers for service personnel of the Canadian
Expeditionary Force (CEF) who died during the First World War in
Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. These registers were used to
record the final resting place of the soldier, nurse or other
individual, and to record the notification of the next of kin.
Canadians looking for information about their ancestors, or for those
who want to start their family tree for free can visit www.ancestry.ca. Those who want to explore the military heroes in their family tree can
do so by visiting www.ancestry.ca/honouryourheroes.
Ancestry.ca was launched in January 2006 and is part of Ancestry.com,
the world's largest online family history resource with approximately
2.7 million paying subscribers across many of its websites. More than
12 billion records have been added to the Ancestry.com sites and users
have created more than 55 million family trees containing more than 5
billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site www.ancestry.com, the company operates several Ancestry international websites along
with a suite of online family history brands including Archives.com,
Fold3.com and Newspapers.com, all designed to empower people to
discover, preserve and share their family history.
For further information:
Ginger Shewell / Sarah Folk
416-342-1802 / 416-342-1825
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com