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British and Canadian census information available

May 05, 2016 12:30PM
Canada has done a nationwide census every 10 years since 1881. Before that, censuses were taken at the provincial level. The 1871 census includes Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario and mortality schedules. 1921 is the latest census available as Canada only releases them every 92 years. Information included in each census consists of name, age, occupation, birth place and religion. 1871 and 1881 include fathers’ ethnic background. Added in 1891 were relationship to head of household, parent’s birthplaces and whether people were French Canadian. 1901 includes the complete date of birth of everyone in the household, the year of immigration and the year of naturalization. It also asked if they were of French Canadian descent and the ethnic or tribal background of the father. In 1911 and 1921, questions were asked about their earnings, their employment and occupation, literacy, language spoken, and whether blind, deaf or dumb, lunatic or idiotic. Early censuses include the 1825, 1831, and 1842 censuses of Lower Canada (Southern Quebec and Labrador regions). The 1851 Census is incomplete but contains information on Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The 1861 Census was provincial in nature and includes New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. There were two special censuses taken in 1906 and 1916 in only the prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Canada had instituted a land settlement program in these provinces and wanted to see how effective it was by taking these interim censuses. In England and Wales, censuses were taken every 10 years starting in 1801, though the 1841 census was the first one where all family names were recorded. In 1841, the only information recorded was name, gender, occupation, whether born in the county of enumeration, whether born in Ireland, Scotland or Foreign country, and age (rounded down to the closest five after age 15). The following was recorded between 1851 and 1901: full name, age, gender, relationship to head of house, marital status, occupation, county and parish of birth or country of birth if they were born outside the country, language spoken, address and medical disabilities. Prior to 1911, British censuses were taken by dropping off the census form a couple of days ahead of time for the householder to fill out. Then the forms were collected by the census takers. Once each form was entered into the census ledgers, the forms were destroyed. The 1911 forms still exist so you can see your ancestors’ handwriting.