Canada Census, 1851 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Canada Census, 1851 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Canada
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Record Description
Record Type Census
Collection years 1851-1851
Languages English
Title in the Language
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Public Archives, Ontario


What is in This Collection?

The records in this collection include the 1851 census for Québec and Ontario (united as the "Province of Canada") and the independent provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Colonial, provincial, and local governments all conducted censuses in 1851. The official census day was in January 1852. Detailed family information is in the surviving personal schedules of the censuses of Quebec and Ontario. Less detailed censuses were taken of the Maritime Provinces in the same years, 1851 and 1861. The completed forms were sent to the Board of Registration and Statistics and later to the Department of Agriculture.

Returns for many counties are incomplete. The counties missing census returns are:

  • Shefford and Stanstead counties (Québec);
  • Russell and Simcoe counties (Ontario);
  • Gloucester, Kent, and Queens Counties (New Brunswick) as well as the City of Saint John (New Brunswick)
  • All counties of Nova Scotia except Halifax and Kings.

Canadian census records are the best source to use for quickly identifying a family group and residence. The census lists other persons living in the same household and may identify individuals for whom other records do not exist. Census returns are recorded on large sheets of paper that are divided into rows and columns. The schedules were arranged by province and then further divided into census districts and sub districts. Census districts were voting districts, not counties, although most have the same names as counties. For the most part, census districts were named the same as cities and counties, and sub-districts were named the same as towns, townships, and city wards. Villages, small towns, and parishes were generally enumerated as part of the township in which they were located.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Census records usually include:

  • Full name
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Approximate year of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Province and district of residence

How Do I Search This Collection?

You can search the index or view the images or both. To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The name of a relative or date of the event

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.

  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the information to find your ancestor in additional censuses.
  • Use the information to find other records such as birth, christening, marriage, land and death records.
  • Use the information to find additional family members.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name, especially French versions.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of Canada Genealogy.
  • Search in the Canada Archives and Libraries.
  • Search in the FamilySearch Library Catalog

Known Issues With This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation

"Canada Census, 1851." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing Board of Registration and Statistics. Public Archives, Ontario.

Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.

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How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.