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North West Mounted Police

(Royal North West Mounted Police/Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

Officers of the B Division, July 1900. Photographer: Goetzman. Library and Archives Canada, PA-202188


Officers of the "B" Division, July 1900.
Photographer: Goetzman.
Library and Archives Canada,

The North West Mounted Police was established in 1873 to bring Canadian authority to the North West Territories (present-day Alberta and Saskatchewan). Its jurisdiction grew to include the Yukon in 1895, the Arctic Coast in 1903 and northern Manitoba in 1912.

The general duties of the Force were to:

  • establish law and order;
  • collect customs dues;
  • enforce prohibition;
  • supervise the treaties between First Nations and the federal government;
  • assist in the settlement process;
  • ensure the welfare of immigrants; and
  • fight prairie fires, disease and destitution.

In 1904, the name changed to the Royal North West Mounted Police (RNWMP). In 1920, the RNWMP absorbed the Dominion Police and became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and was responsible for federal law enforcement in all provinces and territories.

Members of the Force served in the:

  • Northwest Rebellion, 1885;
  • South African War, 1899-1902;
  • First World War, 1914-1918; and
  • Second World War, 1939-1945.

Visit the virtual exhibition ARCHIVED - "Without Fear, Favour or Affection:" The Men of the North West Mounted Police

More Historical Highlights [] about the NWMP/RCMP are provided on the RCMP Web site.

Research at Library and Archives Canada

Application for engagement, T. H. Dunne. Library and Archives Canada, RG 18, vol. 3318, file 9, reel T-18201


Application for engagement,
T. H. Dunne.
Library and Archives Canada,
RG 18, vol. 3318, file 9,
reel T-18201.

Records of the North West Mounted Police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police are in the custody of Library and Archives Canada, Record Group 18 (RG 18). The records include the surviving personnel records for NWMP members who served between 1873 and 1904.

After 1904, only a sample of historically significant personnel records was retained, some of which are held by Library and Archives Canada. There are also files for members of the Dominion Police.

The personnel records vary in size from only a few pages to several hundred. A file can include:

  • enrollment papers;
  • contract and terms;
  • oath of allegiance;
  • medical reports;
  • discharge certificate;
  • claims for pay and clothing;
  • compensation or pension details;
  • short biographies; and
  • newspaper clippings.

The personnel files for those who served in the NWMP between 1873 and 1904 have been digitized and can be searched online in the following database.

In June 1904, the name of the force was changed to the Royal Northwest Mounted Police (RNWMP). Only a sample of historically significant files were retained. Those files are not included in the database.

References to the surviving personnel files for the RNWMP (1904 - 1920) can be searched using the Archives Advanced Search database using the following search strategy.

Archival ref. number: 18
Any Keyword: surname

Note that some references indicate an initial rather than a full given name. The references for personnel records are identified as Series G. If the reference includes a microfilm reel number, it indicates that the file is available on microfilm and may be borrowed. If no reel number is included, the file can only be consulted onsite.

References to other documents relating to some NWMP members can be found in records of the Department of the Interior (RG 15). In the above database, enter RG15 in the Archival Ref. Number box and the name in the Any Keyword box.

Record Group 18 includes other records relating to the Force, such as daily journals for the different Divisions and Detachments. There are also records relating to recruitment, enlistment, medical examinations, nominal rolls, discharges and investigations into charges against members. These records are described in the ARCHIVED - General Inventory database.

  • Title: "Royal Canadian Mounted Police fonds"

Members who saw active military service can be researched in Military Records.

Research in Other Institutions

Surviving records of members of the RCMP who joined the force after 1920 are still in the custody of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. You can send an inquiry to the following address to ask if they have a file for that individual. If no file exists, that office may be able to provide the individual's dates of service.

Public Affairs and Information Directorate
Historical Branch
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
1200 Vanier Parkway
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0R2

The Glenbow Archives [] in Calgary holds many collections relating to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Research in Published Sources

A comprehensive bibliography is available on the RCMP Web site [].

The Saskatchewan Genealogical Society's R.C.M.P. Obituary Index 1933-1989 was compiled by Norman G. Wilson from obituaries published in the RCMP Quarterly (AMICUS catalogue number 1019920). The index provides name, regimental number and rank, and indicates in which volume and issue number an obituary can be found in the RCMP Quarterly. Contact your local library to inquire about borrowing copies of those publications.

Research Online

RCMP Obituary Index, 1933-1989

RCMP Graves

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