Online databases make it easier than ever for Canadians to discover the stories of their family members who served in the First World War a century ago. The place to begin your search is the Library and Archives Canada, a free online service. Their Soldiers of the First World War database has attestation papers of most of the 640,000 soldiers, chaplains and nursing sisters who served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Type a name into the search page and see what turns up. The more information you have about an individual you are researching, the better.
From these attestation papers and service records, you can determine which unit your relative served in, where they were stationed and the dates they were overseas. Armed with that information, you can browse the official war diaries of the appropriate unit for mentions of your relative, also available from the Library and Archives website. These war diaries are official records of a regiment’s daily activities in the field and contain information about casualties, patrols and other incidents deemed noteworthy at the time. The diaries are scans of individual pages from the diary so they are not easily searched, but you can flip through the pages fairly easily.
For more information about the First World War:
The Loyal Edmonton Regiment Military Museum
The Great War
The Vimy Foundation
The Wirth Institute at the University of Alberta, together with University of Alberta Museums, is presenting an exhibition of objects from the First World War in their joint exhibition "Forgotten Fronts: The Austro-Hungarian Army and the Great War." It will be on display through Remembrance Day in Convocation Hall on the University's north campus.