North West Mounted Police and RCMP
This page provides resources for researching people who served in the:
- North West Mounted Police (NWMP)
- Royal North West Mounted Police (RNWMP)
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
On this page
A brief timeline
- In 1873, the federal government created the North-West Mounted Police to assert and enforce Canadian sovereignty. Their jurisdiction was in the North-West Territories (present-day Alberta and Saskatchewan).
Its jurisdiction expanded in:
- 1895 to include Yukon
- 1903 to include the Arctic coast
- 1912 to include northern Manitoba
- In 1904, the name was changed to the Royal North-West Mounted Police
- In 1920, the Royal North-West Mounted Police absorbed the Dominion Police and became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Before you start
Gather information such as:
- approximate year and place of birth
- approximate years of service
Places to look
Here are the main sources for research.
1. Personnel files
Personnel files are also called service files. They contain information about enlistment, service and discharge. Where you find these records depends on when the person was discharged.
Files from 1873 to 1904
These files are at Library and Archives Canada (LAC). Microfiche copies of the files are digitized. You can search them by name in our North West Mounted Police (NWMP) - Personnel Records, 1873-1904 database.
In most cases, these are the files for members discharged in 1904 or earlier.
Files from 1904 to 1920
We hold a small number of files for members discharged between June 1904 and 1920. The force only kept officers’ files and files considered historically significant. For example, files for members who died while still in service or who enlisted in the military in the World Wars. These records are not digitized.
For some files, only a summary of service was kept, not the complete file.
Files from 1920 and later
The RCMP holds service files for members discharged from early 1920 and later. Find out how to submit a request on the RCMP’s Genealogy and archival research page.
If you're a retired member and need copies of your own records, you can submit a Privacy request to the RCMP Access to Information and Privacy Branch.
2. Royal Canadian Mounted Police fonds
You can search some records in RG18 by name.
These four series contain files on individual members:
- Prince Albert Discharge Board, 1882-1902
- Sample medical examinations of applicants, 1904-1905
- Applications for employment, 1873-1874, 1903-1921
- Investigations into charges against members of the force, 1892-1921
Within other series, there are also some files relating to:
applications for engagement for civilian positions, such as:
- Indigenous guides, interpreters and scouts
- applications to volunteer for military service in South Africa
- reports about a member’s dismissal from the Force
If you want to see other series of records that are not indexed by name, go to Personnel records and click on View lower level descriptions. On those pages, explore the sections under Scope and content and Finding aid.
To understand which RG18 records might be relevant, it's helpful to know details like:
- when and where the Force operated
- the names and locations of Divisions and Detachments
- duties and responsibilities and how those changed over time
There is a detailed outline of those facts in the Biography/Administrative history section of the RG18 fonds description.
3. Orders-in-Council, 1867 to 1924
An Order-in-Council (OIC) granted some government employees appointments. These include the NWMP, RNWMP and RCMP. There are also some OICs related to:
- compensation for illness or injury
- promotions and pensions
For information on how to search OIC records, see our Orders-in-Councils help page. We recommend you use the keyword Mounted Police, and also try the abbreviations NWMP, RNWMP or RCMP.
4. Dominion Lands Branch
In Western Canada, some Force members were granted land warrants (scrip certificates). They could use these to get Crown land for free or to buy other land. A member might choose to sell his warrant instead, which was then “assigned” to the person who bought it.
- If the member used the warrant to obtain a homestead, you can search for their name in our Land Grants of Western Canada, 1870-1930 database.
- If the member sold their warrant, there might be correspondence about that transaction in RG15 records.
5. Search the records
Search for references to the 1904-1920 personnel files, other RG18 files and records in RG15:
Go to Collection Search.
- Select Advanced search
- In Database, select Collections and fonds
- In All these words, enter a surname
- In Any of these words, enter a keyword such as NWMP or Mounted Police
To limit your search to RG18 records:
- In Specific terms, select Archival reference and enter "RG18".
To limit your search to RG15 records relating to land warrants:
- In Specific terms, select Archival reference and enter "RG15".
- In Any of these words, enter a keyword such as land, warrant, bounty or certificate of service.
Many records do not include a person’s full name. Instead of a given name, there may be only:
- an initial or an abbreviation, such as R. or Robt.
- a title or rank, such as Constable, Const., Inspector, Dr., Surgeon, Superintendent, Sgt., Sergeant
- If you don’t find any records by name, you can try a search with keywords such as the name of a Division or Detachment and a word such as journal, report or patrol. Those types of records often mention individuals.
6. Published sources
These books include information about individuals:
These NWMP and RNWMP annual reports often mention members by name, for example in the case of accident or death. Reports for 1875 to 1920 are digitized on the RCMP Veterans’ Association website under Association – History – Commissioner’s Reports 1875 – 1920
Search for other books in our Aurora catalogue or your local library’s catalogue.
Access the records
For records that are not digitized, you will need to see them in person. If you can't visit us in person, you can order copies or hire a researcher.
References in Collection Search show if a record is open (access code 90) or restricted (access code 32). To find the access code in an item description, click on Ordering and Viewing Options, then Conditions of access.
If the item is restricted, use the ATIP tool to request a copy.
Many members volunteered to serve in the South African War and the First World War. Those military service files are digitized in these databases:
Other police forces
If your ancestor was an officer with the Dominion Police, see what records are available on our page about Police. The page can also help you find suggestions for researching people who served with provincial or municipal police forces.
A Force member guilty of an offense such as absence from roll call or being under the influence of alcohol. Punishment was usually confinement to barracks or a reprimand.
Enlistment in the Force.
A paid or volunteer member who performed specific duties to assist regular Constables. Some examples are carpenters, cooks and Indigenous guides and interpreters.