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Canadian census records

Canadian family history starts with census records

The Findmypast team
6 February 2020

Are you researching your Canadian ancestors? These records are essential.

Perhaps you're looking for ancestors who you know travelled to Canada but have found no trace of since? If so, there is a collection of family records that may well make your family history exploration on Findmypast a lot easier - Canadian censuses.

Search Canadian census records

Canadian census records are a rich resource for family history. Our collection dates from 1851 to 1911 and is similar to our UK census records. But what can they tell you?

The Canadian Census

The earliest Canadian census available on Findmypast was enumerated in 1851. At the time, Canada consisted of Canada West (Ontario) and Canada East (Quebec) but the census also collected population details for New Brunswick, Nova Scotia. By 1891, this had expanded to 201 census districts and 2,475 sub-districts.

The 1901 Census of Canada covered 206 census districts and 3,204 sub-districts. 9,000 enumerators took the details of 5,371,315 individuals (compared to 4.5m in 1891). By 1911, the population had grown again to over 7 million.

What Canadian census records tell you

Remember, it's always worth checking the original image of census records, as the information that is transcribed doesn't always tell the full story. Also worth bearing in mind is that, depending on which part of Canada a person hailed from, the results can be in English or French.

The transcript page of each census will tell you slightly different things. As the years moved on, more information was added. See what's included in each census transcript below.

1851 Census of Canada

  • Names
  • Genders
  • Ages
  • Birthplaces and years
  • Religions
  • Relationships to the head of household
  • Locations: sub-districts, districts and provinces
  • A link out to an image of the original record

1861 Census of Canada

All of the above plus;

  • Marital statuses

1871 Census of Canada

All of the above plus;

  • Origins
  • Family numbers

1881 Census of Canada

All of the above plus;

  • Other household members
1881 Canadian Census

1881 Canadian Census

1891 Census of Canada

The 1891 census transcripts includes the same information shown in the 1881 census.

1891 Canadian Census

1891 Canadian Census

1901 Census of Canada

All of the above plus;

  • Birthdates
  • Race or tribe
  • Immigration year
  • Naturalization year
1901 Canadian Census

1901 Canadian Census

1911 Census of Canada

In 1911, you'll find the same information that's recorded in 1901.


For more information on the fields found in the 1911 Canada Census, visit the record page.