Canada Census, 1881 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Canada Census, 1881 .
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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 1881-1881
Languages English
Title in the Language
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
  • Library and Archives Canada Free online images are available at this site. Use the information found in this FamilySearch index collection to search for the image online.
Archive
Public Archives, Ontario


What is in This Collection?

The second national Canadian census was conducted on April 4, 1881. Census schedules were taken on large sheets of paper with pre-printed rows and columns. The census contains the following nine schedules arranged within sub-districts:

  • Nominal return of the living
  • Nominal return of the deaths within last twelve months
  • Return of public institutions, real estate, vehicles, and implements *Return of cultivated land, field products, plants and fruits
  • Livestock, animal products, home-made fabrics, and furs
  • Return of industrial establishments
  • Return of products of the forest
  • Return of shipping and fisheries
  • Return of mineral products


The national government of Canada has taken censuses every ten years since 1871 and every five years since 1971. The 1871 census covers the four original provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario. The first coast-to-coast census was taken in 1881. Newfoundland was not part of Canada until 1949. For Newfoundland few 19th-century censuses that list names have been found. They mostly contain statistical summaries.

Since the boundaries varied from census to census, it is not easy to tell which census district an eastern Canadian township or western Canadian village was in. Contemporary maps of the census districts have been lost or destroyed.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Census records generally contain the following information:

  • Full name
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Approximate birth year and birth place
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Head of Household
  • Religion
  • Ethnic origin
  • Town, village, township, or sub-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 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 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, 1881." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, 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.