Commissary General of Musters Office and successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists. WO12/11960–11967, 11972, 12018–12033, 13295. Records of other administrative departments of the War Office. Records created or inherited by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies. The National Archives, Kew, Surrey, England.
War Office and predecessors: Militia and Volunteers Muster Books and Pay Lists. WO13/3673–3717. Records of other administrative departments of the War Office. Records created or inherited by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies. The National Archives, Kew, Surrey, England.
War and Colonial Department and Colonial Office: Confidential Print North America CO880/1–2. Records of the Colonial Office, Commonwealth and Foreign and Commonwealth Offices, Empire Marketing Board, and related bodies. The National Archives, Kew, Surrey, England.
This database contains muster rolls and pay lists relating to troops who served in the British Army in British North America.
Muster rolls were troop lists taken on a monthly or quarterly basis. The National Archives provides the following description:
Regimental musters, from the early 18th century onwards, were taken every month or quarter (frequency varied over the years) for pay and accounting purposes. They, along with pay lists, were effectively the main everyday service records kept by the army of men in active service….
Muster rolls and pay lists give the enlistment date, movements and discharge date of all soldiers in the British Army. From 1868 to 1883 musters may also contain lists of 'men becoming non-effective,', found at the end of each quarter … which give a man's birthplace, along with his trade and date of death or discharge…. From about 1868 musters may also include Marriage Rolls giving details of children and wives occupying married quarters.
This database also contains records of the "de Meuron" and "de Watteville" regiments, which were comprised of Swiss mercenaries who contracted to serve with the British Army in the 1790s. Both regiments were transferred to British North America at the time of the War of 1812 and were disbanded in 1816. Soldiers of these two regiments were offered transportation home, or, if they decided to remain, were offered a land grant.
In addition, records for a number of Upper and Lower Canada militia units are included, specifically for the years during the immediately following the rebellions in 1837-1838. Note that some pay lists include additional details on individual militiamen such as duties, specials tasks and so on.
What You May Find in These Records
Details vary by record type, but may include the following:
- list date
- list place
- birth year
- enlistment dates and/or period of service