When researching your ancestors, you may find ancestors who were part of the Northwest Mounted Police, some of the provincial police forces or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Familysearch.org has a collection of Royal Canadian Mounted Police obituary card index and Notices you may want to search for clues to your ancestor’s working history with the RCMP. It is an invaluable resource, providing invaluable information.
These records include Royal Canadian Mounted Police death records found in Royal Canadian Mounted Police publications, including an index to some of the obituaries from 1867 to 2007.
This collection is a memorial to those Royal Canadian Mounted Police who died while in service. Secondly, it is a collection of publications sent to living officers to inform them of the deaths of fellow officers. The index was created by a retired officer, Norman G. Wilson, who wished to make the obituaries more accessible to family members and researchers.
Please note that these publications and the accompanying index only include the records of those officers whose deaths were reported to the publications.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police force we know today was born out of a need for a national police force to implement the law in Canada’s newly acquired western territories. In May 1873, the Parliament of Canada established a central police force, and sent 150 recruits west to Manitoba. The new police force gradually acquired the name “North-West Mounted Police” (NWMP).
In July 1874, the Mounted Police, now numbering 275 members, marched west, headed for southern Alberta, where American whisky traders were operating among the Aboriginal people.
The officers established a permanent post at Fort Macleod, Alberta, where approximately half of the Force was posted. The remaining members were either sent to Fort Edmonton or to Fort Pelly, Saskatchewan, which had been designated as headquarters.
The following summer, the Mounted Police established Fort Calgary, on the Bow River in Alberta, and Fort Walsh, in Saskatchewan’s Cypress Hills.
By 1885, the Force had grown to 1,000 men, but in 1896 its future was threatened by the newly elected Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who wanted to reduce and eventually disband the NWMP. However, support for the Force in the West prevailed, and it gained new prominence policing the Klondike Gold Rush.
In 1904, King Edward VII conferred the title of “Royal” upon the North-West Mounted Police.
From 1905 to 1916, the Force entered into contracts to police the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. These contracts ended due to the provinces’ desire to create their own police forces.
In 1919, Parliament voted to merge the Force with the Dominion Police, a federal police force with jurisdiction in eastern Canada. When the legislation took effect on February 1, 1920, the Force’s name became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and headquarters was moved to Ottawa from Regina.
The RCMP returned to provincial policing with a new contract with Saskatchewan in 1928.
From 1932 to 1938, the RCMP took over provincial policing in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, nearly doubling in size to 2,350 members.
The years following World War II saw a continued expansion of the RCMP’s role as a provincial force. In 1950, it assumed responsibility for provincial policing in Newfoundland and absorbed the British Columbia provincial police. Today the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has evolved into a world-renowned organization of more than 28,000 people.
Photo courtesy of Library & Archives Canada