How to Send an Inquiry Concerning Your Own or Another Individual's Records
We try to answer inquiries within 30 days; however, due to the large number of inquiries being received, we are currently experiencing delays in our response times. Clients who submit a written request should expect to wait six months for a response. Priority service is given to people who require documentation to prove that they qualify for pensions, allowances, claims and other benefits, therefore, these types of requests should be clearly identified.
For projects involving research in a large number of files, the request will be assessed by our staff to determine if current resources can accommodate such an extensive commitment.
Your request must be signed.
To identify a file, we require surname, full given name(s), date of birth, and service number or social insurance number.
If you do not know the date of birth, service number or S.I.N. (social insurance number), secondary information (e.g., the names of next of kin, postings, dates of service, place of enlistment) can assist in identifying the correct individual.
Consult the section below on Access Restrictions.
Please specify what document(s) you require. If you are doing family history research, we recommend that you request a "genealogy package," which will include copies of selected documents from the file that highlight/summarize the individual's service.
We do not accept email inquiries for these records. Inquiries must be sent by mail or fax.
Your request can be written as a letter or you can print off a blank copy of the Application for Military Service Information form available in [PDF 663 KB] or [RTF 44,516 KB] format, which should be filled in, signed and sent by mail or fax. (Download Freeware)
Inquiries should be sent by mail or fax to:
ATIP and Personnel Records Division
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N4
I've done a fair amount of this kind of research and it is possible to find a Coy, though not easy and by no means guaranteed. You will probably need to get into the Archives if you want to do a thorough search. Men did get posted between Coys, often with spotty record keeping, so often you can only make a best guess based on dates.
1. Personnel file from LAC. The standard genealogical package will rarely reveal Coy. Ask for a copy of his complete file. You will get a lot of chaff and it will cost extra, but you can look for:
- Key dates for joining and leaving the unit, dates wounded, promotions, courses or the like. These will set the boundaries for additional research.
- Medical and dental records sometimes indicate Coy. More common before the unit was in combat, so you have to be aware that the info might be stale.
- Service and Paybooks sometimes include his officer's signature, though you need to use the key dates to filter the appropriate ones. Qualifications, Appointments/Promotoins, Courses, Awards, etc. are the most useful. Officers can be easier to associate with a Coy via published histories and other archival documents. I've only seen these books for fatal casualties, so not sure if they are available for all files.
2. Published histories. These vary greatly in detail, but checking around key dates is worthwhile.
2. Personal letters. Letters from or to him overseas often include his Coy as part of his address.
3. Part I Orders. Part of the unit War Diary, held at the Archives in Ottawa and possibly with the Regimental Museum or similar.
- Check key dates. Part I Orders may note his Coy. Some units were good at this, others terrible. Details often not published until many days after the event, so need to expand the search around those dates.
- Check for Postings and other events. Effectively need to look at all Pt I Orders for the time he was with them, things like Postings between Coys are not noted in the personnel file.
4. War Diaries in general.
- Daily narrative of events and Intel Summaries. Very occasionally will mention a man by name/Coy if wounded or similar. Might be able to infer a Coy if it mentions casualties to a particular Coy on the appropriate date. Highly unlikely to help if he was never wounded.
- Nominal Rolls. Sometimes included in Pt I Orders, sometimes as appendices to the War Diary. Might list men by Coy. Unit move from Canada to UK if he went over as a member of the unit (not a reinforcement). Unit move from the UK to France. Other unit moves for major training schemes, etc., though these tend to be rare.
5. Other suggestions
- Look at Michael O'Leary's link above for researching First World War soldiers. Things worked in a broadly similar fashion in the Second World War, so that might generate other ideas.