LAC Completes CEF Service Files Digitization

Congratulations and Thank You to Library and Archives Canada – Digitization of 620,000 First World War personnel files

The Ontario Genealogical Society

On Wednesday, August 8th, Library and Archives Canada announced the completion of a major digitization project – the digitization of all Canadian military personnel records from the Great War.  The initial goal of the project was for completion prior to the 100th anniversary the end of “The Ward to End All Wars”, but the project was completed earlier than planned! The announcement was made to coincide with another important centenary marker!  August 8, 1918 is commonly known as the beginning of “Canada’s 100 Days” — when the Canadian Corps spearheaded attacks that became known as the Battle of Amiens, a major turning point that led to victory in the Great War and the Armistice of November 11th.

It took five years of work, encompassing over 30 million digitized images and 540 terabytes of data, but LAC now has a complete list of more than 620,000 files accessible online!  Explore the personnel records of the First World War Database—you’ll be amazed at what you discover.

On behalf of family historians across Ontario, throughout Canada, and around the world, OGS salutes Library and Archives Canada for this ambitious and vital project, and says thank you to the teams of workers who have made the dream a reality!

Check out the “100 Stories” section of their website to learn more about some of the many brave men and women who sacrificed so much for freedom and peace.

The First World War Database was the first time LAC had undertaken a digitization project of such magnitude, requiring so many resources, both technological and human, their largest digitization project to date!

Beginning in 2013, a team painstakingly reviewed hundreds of thousands of military files, page by page, removing pins, clips and staples of all sorts. Conservators then carefully removed the adhesive from thousands of pages, separating each one to make it easier to digitize.

LAC acknowledges the participation of the Provincial Archives Division of The Rooms Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador for access to its digitized personnel files.