Canada Census, 1851 (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Canada Census 1851 .
This Collection will include records for 1851.
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 subdistricts.
The census for 1851 was conducted in January 1852. The completed forms were sent to the Board of Registration and Statistics and later to the Department of Agriculture. Enumeration was by census district. Census districts were voting districts, not counties, although most have the same names as counties. For the most part, census districts were synonymous with cities and counties, and subdistricts were synonymous with towns, townships, and city wards. Villages, small towns, and parishes were generally enumerated as part of the township in which they were located. Census district and county boundaries were not always the same.
Colonial, provincial, and local governments conducted censuses in 1851.
Canadian census records were taken to enumerate the population for representation, taxation, and other purposes.
Censuses are generally reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant and the care taken by the census enumerator. Information may have been given to a census taker by any family member or by a neighbor, so some information may be incorrect or may have been deliberately falsified.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- Canada Board of Registration and Statistics. Canada Census, 1851. Public Archives of Canada, Ontario, Canada.
Important genealogical information in the 1851 census:
- Full name
- Age at next birthday (can be used to calculate approximate birth year)
- Whether married or single
- Whether born during
- Cause of death during year
- Town, village, or township of residence
How to Use the Records
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.
Missing Census Returns
Returns for many counties are incomplete. The census returns that are missing for the counties are as follows:
- 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.
Beginning Your Search
To begin your search, you should know the following information:
- Family member's birth years
- Birth places
- Name of the head of house
Searching The Index
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.
Using the Information
When you have found the information that you are looking for, the following may help you further your research:
- Use the place of residence and the birthplace for each individual, along with his or her age to search for other record types.
Known Issues with This Collection
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Related Wiki Articles
Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
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A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.