The Friday Archival Dig is a new feature that highlights the unique and useful finds in many of the world’s online archives and databases. This week’s archival dig focuses on Library and Archives Canada. LAC hosts a wealth of resources on the First World War, but finding exactly what you want can often be an onerous and frustrating task Fortunately, LAC has compiled useful finding aids on the Canadian Expeditionary Force and made them available via downloadable PDFs.


The long list of guides each contain the exact reference numbers for every battalion, company, battery etc… The guides are clean and well-organized. They are typically arranged by unit with features such as “training” and “orders” being attached with the file’s corresponding unit (similar to the boxes found in the LAC).  Here is an example of the guide breakdown from the 1st Battalion.


The .pdf format makes them great to not only download and use at home, but also to take with you if have a tablet or laptop. These guides remove a lot of stress when doing research and make navigating the archives a lot more efficient. They are also nice to keep track of primary sources when doing citations, giving you almost all of the citation information you would need. So if you are starting any new research on the First World War, be sure to include these guides in your tool kit.

If you know of any interesting finds you have come across in an online archive or database and want to share, please feel free to comment.