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Source Information

Ancestry.com. Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data:

War Graves Registry: Circumstances of Death Records; (RG150, 1992-1993/314, Boxes 39-144); Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

About Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919

This database contains records from the War Grave Registers for service personnel of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) who died during the First World War in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. The registers, also known as the ‘Black Binders’, were created at the end of the war by the Department of Militia and Defence, the forerunner of the Canadian Department of National Defense. These registers were used to record the final resting place of the soldier, nurse or other individual, and to record the notification of the next of kin. If the body was never recovered, these records contain the official memorial on which the individual’s name would be found.

After the war, many graves were consolidated in the cemeteries of the Imperial War Graves Commission, later renamed as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. To find the initial burial location of a soldier and details about the circumstances of death, you may consult the Canada, Canadian Expeditionary Force Burial Registers, 1914-1919 database, which contains records for many of the same soldiers.

When Canada was called to fight alongside Britain in the First World War (all Dominions of the British Empire were required to support the Empire during times of war), it was the first time Canadian forces fought as a distinct unit under a Canadian-born commander. Of the quarter million men sent into battle, 60,000 never returned. Many of their records are included in this database, although Canadian soldiers who died in Canada or the United States are not included.

The records contain:

  • Name
  • Unit number
  • Service number
  • Date of death
  • Cause and place of death
  • Date and place of burial
  • Name of nearest relative

It is important to note that each record contains two images (the front and back sides of the original register).

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