Launch of “War of 1812” Database

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to announce the launch of a new online database, War of 1812.

This online database allows you to access more than 45,000 references to names of people who were involved in the War of 1812. Names of Canadian men and women who served were taken from LAC’s unique and vast collection of records, including:

  • muster rolls
  • pay lists
  • claims
  • certificates of service
  • land grants
  • medal registers

Start searching the War of 1812 now!

Your ancestors and the War of 1812

During the War of 1812, many French Canadians fought under the command of Charles-Michel d’Irumberry de Salaberry in the Canadian Voltigeurs, a light infantry unit. The Voltigeurs’ main battle exploit was the Battle of the Châteauguay, which was fought on October 26, 1813, when some 1,700 Canadians helped drive back more than 3,000 Americans, preventing a major attack on Montréal.

Here are a few avenues for research that will help you determine whether your ancestors were among the Voltigeurs:

Library and Archives Canada has many documents on military service, including documents related to the War of 1812. Drafted mainly in English, these include muster rolls and paylists, along with land claims and petitions scattered throughout the collection. However, there are no military service files for specific individuals, unlike what is available for the First World War.

The starting point for your research is to find a contract of service, which all Lower Canada militiamen had to sign before a notary. This was the case for Joseph Auclair (1794-1861), who took part in the Capture of Detroit and in the Battle of the Châteauguay. This document provides physical details and the name of the regiment and of the commanding officer. The Notarial Records blog article explains how to find this key document.

Certificate of enlistment of Joseph Auclair by Jean-Baptiste-René Hertel de Rouville, captain, Canadian Voltigeurs unit, drafted before the notary Charles Pratte, December 27, 1812, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

Certificate of enlistment of Joseph Auclair by Jean-Baptiste-René Hertel de Rouville, captain, Canadian Voltigeurs unit, drafted before the notary Charles Pratte, December 27, 1812, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

You can also find references to medals awarded to veterans of the War of 1812 in our Medals, Honours and Awards database. With a bit of patience, you will be able to locate the name of your ancestor on paylists, also called Nominal Rolls and Paylists. Many militiamen were also granted land. These grants, announced in The Quebec Gazette, were confirmed by land patents, which can be found in our Lower Canada Land Petitions database.

Lastly, to save you time, it is very important to read the search help pages carefully to find out how documents are organized.

Library and Archives Canada’s Travelling Exhibitions

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is on the road! With four travelling exhibitions on display in different venues across Canada, including one in the
National Capital Region, LAC is showcasing the richness and diversity of its collections. This is an excellent example of LAC’s commitment to making the
country’s heritage and history accessible to all Canadians—regardless of where they live.

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, in British Columbia, is hosting the exhibition Beyond Likeness: Contemporary Works from Library and Archives Canada until January 6, 2013. Through the works of 23 contemporary artists, the exhibition explores the evolving concept of portraiture from more traditional representations of likeness to works that challenge the conventions of the genre.

The New Brunswick Museum in Saint John is presenting the exhibition I Know You by Heart: Portrait Miniatures until December 31, 2012. Showcasing 35 recently restored portraits, the exhibition highlights the intimate, personal nature of portrait miniatures, and the reasons that such images are commissioned, created and carried. In March 2013, the exhibition will make its way to the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon.
Find out more about the conservation of these portraits in LAC’s YouTube video.

The McMichael Art Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario, is showcasing LAC’s most recent exhibition Double Take: Portraits of Intriguing Canadians until January 20, 2013.Double Take presents 50 Canadians who have left—and are leaving—their mark on our country and our culture. Tune in to LAC’s podcast for an overview of the featured works and the stories behind them.

Finally, the exhibition Faces of 1812 is on display at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa until January 6, 2013. A commemorative exhibition, Faces of 1812 presents some of the men and women who experienced the War of 1812. LAC’s curatorial YouTube video and Faces of 1812 podcast will introduce you to the selected
works that document this significant historical event.

Keep following this blog to find out where these exhibitions will travel next. It could be your hometown!

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

Faces of 1812

The Canadian War Museum is proud to present Faces of 1812, an exhibition created by Library and Archives Canada in conjunction with the opening of its major exhibition 1812.

Faces of 1812 presents some of the men and women, both combatants and civilians, who experienced the War of 1812. It likewise highlights the conflict as a rich and continuing source of artistic inspiration, commemoration, and reflection.

The War of 1812 united French- and English-speaking Canadians, First Peoples, and the British against a common foe. The confidence gained through their successful joint defence helped lay the foundations for modern Canada.

Faces of 1812, a complementary exhibition to the Canadian War Museum’s 1812 will be on display at the War Museum in Ottawa from June 13, 2012 until January 6, 2013.

You can also discover thousands of portraits on LAC‘s new Portrait Portal.

For more information, visit the Canadian War Museum website.

For more information on recent announcements at LAC, visit “News.

New Digitized Reels: War of 1812 Records

We are pleased to announce that you can now access 73,000 new images of War of 1812 records on its website.

Discover these valuable resources and other miscellaneous records for the War of 1812 with the Microform Digitization research tool. This tool allows you to browse these records page by page.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds a unique and vast collection of records about the Canadian men and women who were involved in the War of 1812. Muster rolls, paylists, claims, certificates of service, medal registers, maps, paintings, and published sources are featured in LAC holdings that document this key event.

With these images now online, you have easy access to records for:

  • Board of Claims for War of 1812 losses, 1813–1848, Series RG19 E5A
  • Lower Canada militia nominal rolls and paylists, Series RG9 1A7
  • Upper Canada militia returns, nominal rolls, and paylists, Series RG9 1B7

For more information on recent announcements at LAC, visit “News“.