Ancestry.ca

Ancestry.ca

November 07, 2014 09:36 ET

More Than a Third of Canadians Unaware If They Had Ancestors Who Participated in Either of the World Wars: Survey

Ancestry.ca to Offer Free Online Access to Historic Military Records of Canadian Soldiers of the First World War in Time for Remembrance Day

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 7, 2014) - Remembrance Day is right around the corner and while many Canadians will remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, a recent survey from Ancestry, the world's largest online family history resourcei, reveals that 36% of Canadians don't know if they had ancestors who fought in either the First or Second World War.

In an effort to help rectify this, from November 8 to 11 Ancestry is giving Canadians the chance to discover the military heroes in their family by providing free access to more than 3.6 million online military records.

This year, Remembrance Day is especially poignant for those with ancestors who fought during the First World War, as 2014 marks the 100th Anniversary of the start of the conflict.

"Remembrance Day is a time when Canadians can reflect on the sacrifices of the soldiers who fought and died for their country. With this year marking the centenary of the start of the First World War, it is even more meaningful to pay homage to the heroes in our family trees," says Lesley Anderson, a genealogist and Content Specialist from Ancestry. "While it's surprising that so many Canadians don't even know whether their ancestors fought in either of the World Wars, Ancestry is proud to be able to give Canadians the chance to look into their past in the hope that they will discover more about their ancestors and pay tribute to them on November 11 in a more personal and meaningful way."

The First World War military collections being offered for free contain vivid records that highlight the everyday lives of soldiers who served during this time. The records include the attestation papers of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces enlistees during the war, which will provide Canadians with a greater understanding of the men and women who risked their lives for their country a century ago. One of the soldiers included in the collections is Frank Brown.

One soldier's journey

Frank Brown was born on December 18, 1893 in Waterford, Ontario. Near the start of the First World War, Brown had two dreams he hoped to fulfil. The first was to join his comrades in battle. Being a poet, his second was to have his poems published. Both of his dreams would ultimately come true, but sadly he only lived to see one fulfilled.

Brown was immediately well liked by his fellow soldiers upon joining the forces and soon won an early promotion to Sergeant thanks to his sharpshooting skills. On February 3, 1915 he joined Captain Talbot M. Papineau and the Third Company of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in the trenches in France.

During his first day, Brown fired approximately 80 rounds, estimated to be as much as the rest of his company put together. It is assumed his skills drew the attention of German sharpshooters, as at about 3:30 p.m. that afternoon Sergeant Frank Brown was struck in the head. He was killed instantly.

His second dream came to life 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.

"The story of Sergeant Frank Brown is an example of some of the amazing stories of soldiers who fought in the First World War that can be found on Ancestry.ca," says Anderson. "Combining these military records with other historical documents can help Canadians discover the vibrant details of their ancestors' lives."

The full collections that will be offered for free include military records not just from the First World War, but many periods of military activity in Canada's history, including:

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 women.

Canada, British Army and Canadian Militia Muster Rolls and Paylists, 1795-1850, contains more than 700,000 records that provide the enlistment dates, movements and discharge dates of all soldiers in the British Army. This collection also contains a number of Upper and Lower Canada militia units, specifically for the years immediately following the rebellions in 1837-1838.

Canada, Soldiers of the First World War, 1914-1918, contains almost 600,000 records from the First World War. The database contains an index to the Attestations papers of men enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during WWI. The records in this database include information such as name of enlistees, address, birthplace and date, occupation, marital status and religion. The collection also includes corresponding photos, allowing the records to truly come to life.

Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900, contains more than 450,000 records providing detail on soldiers and officers in British military united that served Canada. The records document things such as enlistment, commissions and appointments, dates of service and service history, casualties, pay and pensions, and discharges. This collection contains records that give a detailed and comprehensive description of the actual time.

Canada, British Navy Ships Muster Rolls and Paylists, 1757-1836, contains almost 200,000 records made up of pay lists and muster rolls for both ships and naval yards in Canada and elsewhere during an era when Great Britain was establishing itself as the dominant naval power in the world. The collection includes records relating to the War of 1812 and ships in the Great Lakes.

Canadians looking to discover the war heroes in their family tree can search more than 3.6 million military records this Remembrance weekend at www.ancestry.ca/world-war-1. ii

About Ancestry.ca

Ancestry.ca is part of Ancestry.com, the world's largest online family history resource with approximately 2.7 million paying subscribers across all its websites. More than 15 billion records have been added, and users have created more than 60 million family trees to the core Ancestry websites, including its flagship site www.ancestry.com and its affiliated international websites. Additionally, Ancestry.com offers a suite of online family history brands, including Archives.com, Fold3.com, Newspapers.com, as well as the AncestryDNA product, sold by Ancestry.com DNA, LLC, which, along with its core Ancestry websites, are all designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.

i Ancestry.ca is part of Ancestry.com, the world's largest online family history resource with approximately 2.7 million paying subscribers across all its websites.

ii Access to the records in the featured collections will be free until 11 November 23:59 EST. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using an Ancestry.ca paid membership.

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