North West Mounted Police (NWMP) - Personnel Records, 1873-1904

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  • Go to Collection Search and click on “Advanced search”
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  • In “Database,” select North-West Mounted Police (NWMP)—Personnel Records, 1873–1904
  • Try various spellings of the name or use the * wild card character (for example, Alex* for Alexander, Alexandre)
  • Enter a regimental number, if you know it (optional)
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About the records

The files were digitized from the microfiche in Record Group 18, series G:

  • RG18-G, volumes 10037 to 10047
  • RG18-G, 1997-98/386, box 33

The files range from a few pages to over 100 pages, depending on length of service and other factors.

The quantity and type of documents in the files vary. Most contain completed forms that are described below. Understanding the complex history of regimental numbers and the numbering system will also help you.

Regimental numbers

For officers

In the early years, officers were not assigned a number. In 1900, regimental numbers were assigned and included those who had served before. Files usually include more records than the files of those in the lower ranks (such as details about careers and family members). Officers included medical doctors and veterinarians.

For other ranks

Recruits were assigned a regimental number at the time of engagement:

  • The first contingent to arrive at Lower Fort Garry in the fall of 1873 were assigned numbers beginning with "1"
  • The numbering later included letters that signified a specific troop or division
    • For example, members of “A” Troop at Fort Edmonton were assigned numbers ending with an "A" (such as 345A)

There were problems with duplicate numbers being assigned, because of these issues:

  • Personnel records were not kept in one central location
  • In the early years, members leaving the service found a replacement who received the number of the original member (so one number may refer to several people)
  • In the late 1870s, some recruits were issued numbers formerly assigned to men who had left the service

To solve the numbering problem, in 1878 all serving members were re-numbered starting at "1." These numbers are still used today by the RCMP and now exceed 50,000.

Members who left the NWMP before 1878 were not included in the new numbering system. These numbers are often referred to as "Old Series" or "OS" numbers. Only some of these files were preserved.

Forms

The following forms are usually found in the files. If a member re-engaged for another term of service, all of the forms were completed again.

  • Application for Engagement (Form 72)
  • Medical Examination (Form 65)
  • NWMP Description Summary (Form 59)
    • this wide, horizontal form is usually split into two images
  • Discharge Board Report (Form 54)
  • Discharge Certificate (Form 84a)

The forms contain details such as:

  • physical description, age, former occupation, former residence, religion
  • name, address and relationship of next-of-kin
  • previous NWMP or military service
  • postings, promotions, conduct, reason for discharge
  • divisions, but not detachments (see Discharge Board forms)

Other information

The files often contain:

  • letters from the member asking for promotions, leave or discharge
  • correspondence about the member, especially about disciplinary matters
  • newspaper clippings, such as obituaries from local newspapers or the RCMP Quarterly

Some files may contain documents from after an individual’s discharge date. For example, in 1933, the federal government gave $300 to surviving NWMP members who took part in the 1885 Resistance. Dozens of men completed and submitted forms, which are now in their service files.

About the North-West Mounted Police

The North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) formed in 1873 to bring Canadian authority to the North-West Territories (now Alberta and Saskatchewan). Its authority grew to include the Yukon in 1895, the Arctic coast in 1903, and northern Manitoba in 1912.

In 1904, the name changed to the Royal North-West Mounted Police (RNWMP). In 1920, the RNWMP and the Dominion Police became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

This database contains the 4,483 surviving personnel files for:

  • NWMP members who served and were discharged between 1873 and 1904
  • some members of the Dominion Police who also served with the NWMP
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