Have you ever wondered why most of the entries in Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Soldiers of the First World War – CEF database have attestation papers, but roughly 8% do not? I know that I have, and I’ve also wondering if LAC would ever get around to adding them. I knew that they existed; I had ordered complete copies of some records from LAC for soldiers with no on-line papers, and the attestation papers were included in the packet. So why weren’t they on-line?
The answer comes from Arnie Kay, a former LAC employee who now does freelance record searches.
According to Arnie, some years ago the Military “vetted the CEF files and removed various non historical docs from these files. They also removed all the surplus Attestation copies and put then into large binders. You guessed it. When they did the Attestation project they used the binders and of course there were many of the CEF files that only had one copy and this is the reason why so many gaps in the Attestation data base. They have no intention of trying to resolve this oversight.
At least we now know why they are missing, and that LAC will not be attempting to fix this at any point in the future.
Note: if you are want to track down more information on any Canadian who served in the Great War, check with Arnie kay. He has very reasonable rates and a sterling reputation as a researcher.