Quebec Census, 1861 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Access the records: Quebec Census, 1861 .

Collection Time Period

This census was taken in 1861 but reflects the population in the year 1860.

Record History

The Census contains the 1861 census for the independent province of Québec. At this time Québec was referred to as “Canada East.” The census taker took the information on the census day starting March 30, 1861. Census takers were asked to record information about all those who were in each household on the census day. A census taker might have visited a house on a later date, but the information he collected was supposed to be about the people who were in the house on the census day. 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 sub districts 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 and there were many variations from location to location.

Why this Record Was Created

Canadian census records were taken to enumerate the population for representation, taxation, and other purposes.

Record Reliability

The accuracy of the census depended on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the enumerator. Realize that the information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or even by a neighbor. Some information may have been incorrect or deliberately falsified.

Record Description

Census schedules are on large sheets of paper with preprinted rows and columns. The schedules were organized by province and then by census districts and sub districts.

Record Content

  • Key genealogical facts found in the 1861 Québec Census are:
  • Names of people living in the household
  • Profession, trade, occupation
  • Marital Status
  • Race and Birthplace
  • Size and type of residence
  • Deaths in the household during the census year (1860)
  • Education level of children in the household

How to Use the Record

Use the census to obtain the names and ages of family members, which can be used to calculate birth or marriage dates; the town and county where they lived; those currently living with the family, and any relatives that may have lived nearby. The census may identify persons for whom other records do not exist.

Related Websites

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Related Articles

Canada Censuses

Canada Census 1851 Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Sources of This Collection

"Census of Canada, 1961," database, FamilySearch; from Canada. Board of Registration and Statistics. "Census of Canada, 1861," Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. FHL microfilm, 296 reels. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. 

How to Cite Your Sources

An example of citing these records is: Canada. Board of Registration and Statistics. Quebec Census, 1861. From FamilySearch Internet (, April 23, 2010.  'Instructions for citing this source can be found at: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections