Professor Jonathon Vance’s presentation “Who Was the Canadian Soldier of the First World War?” definitely opened my eyes as to the information that might not be trustworthy in the soldiers’ records found in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces database on the Library and Archives Canada website. Prior to this lecture I knew that ages given could be undependable because underage or overage men wished to enlist. I also knew that names could be problematic due to nicknames or given names that where not commonly used by a particular recruit. As well, soldiers who were discharged due to age or difficulties like drunk and disorderly conduct might well reenlist at another location using an alias.
I never considered that a recruit might lie about his previous military or militia experience. Noting bogus trades experience might get the prospective recruit “in the door”. Nor did I realize that having experience in one of the trades could result in additional pay- a good reason to lie!
Jonathon suggested that the medical records would likely be correct because the doctors had no reason to falsify the records. I wonder how much pressure doctors received in regards to getting men healthy and back to the front.
I came home with a number of sites to check for legal records after hearing Gwyneth Pearce’s lecture “Legal Research Tools for Family Historians.” There were a few squabbles in some of my families that might have led to legal action so any investigation might be worthwhile.
My lecture “You Found What? Where?” led to discussion about research sources for which I could not give urls on the spot. The Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario Digital Collections were mentioned. The Tweedsmuir Books created by various Women’s Institutes record the history of communities around them.
For researchers interested in Wellington County, see the online index to the Tweedsmuir Books of that county on the Wellington County Museum and Archives website.
What did you bring home with you?
Lambton County Branch of The Ontario Genealogical Society