British Columbia Census

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British Columbia - Canadian National Census

The national Canadian census is taken every 10 years. This did not always include First Nations people.

1881 British Columbia did not join Canada until 1871 so the first Canadian census to include British Columbia was in 1881.

1891 Victoria, BC politicians were unhappy with the city's low census count and another count was done. This census is available on microfilm at the British Columbia Archives and at Library and Archives Canada. Online Index

1901 The original 1901 census returns for Atlin in northern BC was lost in the sinking of the steamer, Islander. These were taken over again but it was reported in December, 1901, that "They will be fully 600 short so many having left for the winter." (The British Columbia Genealogist, Vol. 41 #3, September 2012, page 100.)

1881 - 1911 Canadian nominal censuses of British Columbia are available to the public.
The Family History Library holds microfilms of the Canadian censuses to 1911 as do some other larger libraries.

Library and Archives Canada holds microfilm copies and offers digital images and indexes on its website.

Automated Genealogy offers a 1901 and 1911 census index linked to Library and Archives page images.

1921 Images of the 1921 Canadian census pages are on-line free at Ancestry. As yet, there is no name index; search by geographical area. For links to additional search help, go to the British Columbia Genealogical Society website article, Canada's 1921 Census.

Additional British Columbia Census Resources Online

  • British Columbia - a searchable database of the 1901 British Columbia census is online at the British Columbia Genealogical Society (BCGS) website. A fuller index is available at the BCGS Library.
  • Vancouver Island - a searchable database of nominal census records for Vancouver Island and parts of mainland British Columbia from 1871, 1881, 1891 & 1901 is online at viHistory:- Census)
  • Yale District - an index of 1881/1891 census for the Thompson-Okanagan area (southern interior) of BC is online at Living Landscapes, which includes:
    1881 Canada Census, Yale District, BC
    1891 Canada Census, Yale District, BC
    1877 Indian Reserve Commission Census (IRC), southern interior of BC

Additional Canadian Census Resources

Counting Canada, A Genealogical Guide to the Canadian Census by Dave Obee (Victoria BC, 2012).

Researching Canadian census records by Doris B. Bourrie (Heritage Productions, 2003).

Records of the Department of Indian Affairs at Library and Archives Canada : a source for genealogical research 2nd ed., by Bill Russell ( Toronto :Ontario Genealogical Society, 2004.)

For more information on Canadian censuses,

See Canada - Census

See Canadian Censuses Online