Many published and unpublished military records serve to document the lives of those who served in Canada's armed forces, either as full-time professional soldiers, sailors or airmen, or in part-time militia or reserve service, or for periods of their lives in times of national emergency, as during the two World Wars.
The concept of "personnel files," collections of official correspondence and reports, as well as information taken at the time of recruitment, medical data, and even material concerning an individual's life after leaving military service, all arranged around an individual name, did not come into widespread use in Canada until the South African War and again at the outbreak of the First World War. Most existing personnel files have been preserved in the Library and Archives Canada and are invaluable sources for biographical and genealogical research. However, even without personnel files, military records can be used to build up a picture of an individual's life and service career. These five articles demonstrate how published and unpublished documents can be interwoven to build up a sophisticated and complete account.
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