While page one of the attestation document looks like it is complete. It’s not. These documents for volunteers for the Canadian Expeditionary Force in WWI were signed to show they were willing to serve overseas. The first page includes the name, address, next-of kin, occupation, vaccination, previous military experience, where born and birth date, plus it includes the Battalion number and the registration number assigned to the soldier.
The second page includes height, complexion, distinguishing marks (like tattoos, moles), girth, complexion, eye colour, hair colour, plus the recruit’s religion and if they are medically fit to serve. There is even a place for Doctors to write if they were unfit to serve.
If you’re lost for where to begin, you can enter your last name into the “Family Facts” search box on Ancestry.ca and find out where your last name comes from and where some of your ancestors could have come from. Plus, if you scroll to the bottom of the page you can find other people researching your ancestral name and quite possibly connect with a relative.
Census Records are considered the backbone of genealogical research. They may include different information from each year, each Country and each area. Looking at all Canadian Census records for a particular ancestor is important. If you only look at one or two you may miss out on some great details. Here are some neat tidbits you may find – they can vary depending on area (and here’s a link to look at Census form examples by year/language/area).
• Prior to 1851: Info about head of household & number of family members. Family members’ names were not included.
• 1851 & 1861: Cause of death of anyone in the household who had died during that year. If the home was brick, stone, frame, log or shanty. Included everyone in the household, plus info on crops, livestock, who the property was owned by. Only had limited areas of census recorded, predominantly Canada East (Quebec), Canada West (Ontario), New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
• 1871: Nine schedules accompanied the first Nationwide Census.
• 1881: Includes ethnic origin.
• 1891: Place of birth of Father & Mother.
• 1901: Most comprehensive census including exact street address and year of immigration to Canada.
• 1906: Manitoba, Saskatchewan & Alberta. Includes ages of livestock.
• 1911: Columns for blind, deaf and dumb, idiotic or silly, crazy or lunatic. Plus the cost of education (for 1910) and insurance costs and how much they were insured for.
Find out if your relatives belonged to a society.City & Area Directories are great places to start looking. They generally contain an alphabetical listing of its citizens, giving the names of the heads of households, their addresses, and occupations. In addition to the alphabetical portion, a city directory may also contain a business directory, street directory, governmental directory, and listings of town officers, schools, societies, churches, post offices, as well as other miscellaneous matters of general and local interest. You could find out what societies are listed for the area and then contact that society to see if they have records of your ancestor.
Did you inherit illegible handwriting? When Ancestry.ca indexes (transcribes) records, some of our ancestors don’t help at all. While every caution is made to ensure the details are correct, we’re going to blame the handwriting of either the person entering the information, or indeed your own ancestor. Tip: A way to get around this is to search by trying misspellings and un-checking the “exact match” box in the search boxes.