Alberta Census

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History[edit | edit source]

A census is a count and description of the population. Censuses have been taken by the colonial, provincial, and national governments of Canada for a variety of reasons, including taxation and levying for militia service.

Census records can provide family relationships, age, year of birth, description of property, religion, and place of birth. Microfilm copies are available at many repositories and through interlibrary loan. Generally, more recent censuses are more complete. They can provide information missing in other records. Use census information with caution because information (which may have been given by any family member) may be incorrect or deliberately falsified.

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.

Contents[edit | edit source]

These censuses list a large proportion of the population. Unfortunately, portions of some have been lost, and some geographical areas within the provinces were missed by the census takers.

The 1871 and later censuses list for each member of the household:

  • Name.
  • Age.
  • Occupation.
  • Religious affiliation.
  • Birthplace (country or province).

The 1871 and 1881 censuses list for each person:

  • Father’s origin or ethnic background.
  • The 1891 census, in addition, asks:
  • If persons are French Canadian.
  • For parents’ birthplaces.

The 1891 and later censuses ask for a person’s:

  • Relationship to head of household.

The 1901 census asks for:

  • A complete birth date, not just the year.
  • The year the person immigrated to Canada.
  • The year of naturalization.

The father’s racial or tribal origin, not whether the person was of French Canadian descent.

The 1901 and 1911 census also contains a buildings and lands schedule for each locality. This schedule gives a city street address or a farm land description—such as township and range, or township, concession, and lot number—for most families.

The 1921 Canadian Census was released to the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) on June 1st, 2013 from Statistics Canada. According to the legislation, 92 calendar years must have elapsed before the census is released to the LAC.