WWI draftee, Almer L. Fockler

We still have a few more years of centenary anniversaries related to the First World War and it reminded me that in late 2004, during my genealogy research, I came across family members with WWI personnel files.

Back in 2004 when I was looking to see if we had any family involved in WW1, you could search the online database, housed at the Library and Archives Canada (LAC), and if there was a record hit, you could view the cover page of the soldier’s attestation file.  You could then make a request to get a paper copy of the record. I made such a request for two ancestors and their files arrived in Januray 2005. 

There is currently a really amazing project underway at the LAC to digitize massive amount of records from the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The project is meant to be completed by the end of 2018 with new files being added every two weeks.

Much to my delight, the file for one of my ancestors has beenal_fockler completed and is available for viewing: Almer Leslie Fockler.  I haven’t quite determined exactly how, but this gentleman is a relative of my Grandma Betty (my maternal grandmother)! Almer was drafted later into WWI (May 1918) and never left Toronto, but it is really something looking at this file that is nearly 100 years old.

The file that is available online is identical to the papers I received in the mail in January 2005.  What is different though is that the file online, obviously, is scanned – so it feels so much more authentic. It shows the discolouration of the paper, the colour of the ink used, some coloured stamps.  Amazing.

Take a look at the database… maybe you have a piece of family history just waiting to be discovered!

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