Sunday, 6 November 2016

Is NEW stretching the truth in Ancestry's CEF Personnel Files, 1914-1918 collection?

Ancestry.ca shows 259.718 entries in a collection Canada, WWI CEF Personnel Files, 1914-1918 marked as NEW. It was added on 3 November. This CEF collection, exceptionally, has no pop-up giving brief details including date added and updated so I'm guessing the date from those of the previous and subsequent databases.

Here's what Ancestry provides on the collection:

This database consists of service files for men who enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) of the First World War. The database currently contains records for surnames beginning with A through G, and for most surnames beginning with H. As more service files are digitized and indexed, additional records will be added to this database.
Details available in a service file vary depending on the soldier, but typically include:

Name of enlisteeAddressBirthplaceBirth dateAgeName of next of kinRelationship to next of kinRegimental number
Additional information about the enlistee, such as their occupation, marital status, religion, and/or physical description is often included as well.


This is the information returned for a well-known Canadian. He was an officer so no regimental number.
That same page gives a link to Ancestry.com's Fold3 military database where, for an additional subscription, you can read the whole service file as digitized by Library and Archives Canada.
Naturally Ancestry hopes you will purchase a subscription and don't inform you that you can view exactly the same information at the LAC site for free. See Diefenbaker's file at https://goo.gl/2Y2nXd/.
Previously Ancestry.ca had a large collection of CEF attestation papers, which included images and all the information above and more, as part of the regular Ancestry.ca subscription. It covered the entire A-Z range of surnames. I couldn't find that attestation paper collection now so your Ancestry.ca subscription is degraded. I suppose that's NEW too!
It appears the attestation paper collection I couldn't find at Ancestry others can! I'd searched the Ancestry catalogue using military and Canada as search terms. Maybe I should have taken that extra hour in bed instead of in front of the computer!

2 comments:

Craig Milne said...

John - the Attestaion papers are still available on my (paid) subscription.

Jackie Corrigan said...

The Attestation papers Canada, Soldiers of the First World War, 1914-1918 are still there at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1086