The following announcement was written by Ancestry.ca, part of The Generations Network:
World first: 1891 Canadian national census launches online – Ancestry.ca
4.5 million names fully searchable in both English and French + original document images
(Toronto, ON – 22nd of July 2008) Canadian family history website Ancestry.ca today launched online for the first time the 1891 Census of Canada, which contains 4.5 million searchable names and 90,000 images of original census pages. Included is information from all then-existing Canadian provinces and territories.
Fully indexed and searchable in both English and French, the Census includes such famous names as Sir Sanford Fleming, William Hall, Thomas Ahearn, William Southam and Max Aitken. (original images available)
The Census was taken on the 6th of April 1891 in both English and French by 4,300 enumerators.
Family and social history enthusiasts can search the collection by name, province and district, age, gender, marital status, relation to head of family, country or province of birth, French-Canadian status, mother’s and father’s birth place, religion and occupation.
Also included is more general demographic information from this period such as the population’s ability to read and write, those with disabilities, the nature and construction of the home, and even the number of rooms contained in common dwellings.
In addition to recording basic population and demographic statistics, the Census recorded primary migrant communities, which originated from England, Ireland, Scotland, the U.S. and Germany.
A valuable source of historical information for those with an interest in family and social history, the original copy of the 1891 Census of Canada is held at the Library and Archives Canada.
Ancestry.ca Senior Vice President Josh Hanna comments: “The 1891 Census of Canada is a vital resource for casual and avid family history enthusiasts alike as it provides a detailed snapshot into a specific time in Canada’s history.”
“This Census successfully measured the majority of Canada’s population at this time and so is a rich source of important information about individuals, their families, and the society in which they lived.”
Not only can family history enthusiasts use the 1891 Census of Canada to trace their lineage back to ancestors who lived during this time, but they can also see if they are related to revered Canadians also included, such as:
- Sir Sanford Fleming – prolific engineer and inventor, known for the introduction of Universal Standard Time and Canada’s postage stamp. In 1891 he was 61 years old living in Ottawa, Ontario with his wife and four children.
- William Hall – the first seaman, and also the first man of colour to be the recipient of the prestigious Victoria Cross. At the time of the 1891 Census he was 61 years old and living in Avonport, Nova Scotia.
- Thomas Ahearn – inventor and electrician who invented the electric cooking range and was the first person to cook a meal on an electric stove. In 1891 he was living in Ottawa, Ontario with his two children.
- Max Aitken – famous business tycoon, politician and writer. In 1891 he was 11 years old, living with his parents and his seven siblings in New Castle, New Brunswick.
While many statistics from the end of the 19th Century are not surprising, such as the fact the most common surname in 1891 was Smith and the most popular first names Mary and William, some unexpected facts are also revealed. For example, the population of Prince Edward Island actually decreased by about 22 per cent from the 1891 Census to the 2006 Census.
The 1891 Census of Canada is available to Ancestry.ca subscribers and through a 14-day Free Trial.