Canada Census, 1851 - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Access the records: Canada Census, 1851 .

Canada, Census
Canada flag.png
Country Canada
Record Description
Record Type Census Records
Collection Year 1851
Languages English French
Coverage Table
Canada Census
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites

Record Description[edit | edit source]

The records in this collection include the 1851 census for Québec and Ontario (united as the "Province of Canada") and the independent provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Colonial, provincial, and local governments all conducted censuses in 1851. The official census day was in January 1852. Detailed family information is in the surviving personal schedules of the censuses of Quebec and Ontario. Less detailed censuses were taken of the Maritime Provinces in the same years, 1851 and 1861. The completed forms were sent to the Board of Registration and Statistics and later to the Department of Agriculture.

Returns for many counties are incomplete. The counties missing census returns are:

  • 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.

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.

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 sub districts. Census districts were voting districts, not counties, although most have the same names as counties. For the most part, census districts were named the same as cities and counties, and sub-districts were named the same as towns, townships, and city wards. Villages, small towns, and parishes were generally enumerated as part of the township in which they were located.

Sample of Record Content[edit | edit source]

Census records may contain the following information:

  • Full name
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Approximate year of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Province and district of residence

Search the Collection[edit | edit source]

To search this collection by name:
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.

  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.
  • Continue to search the index and records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have lived in the same unit or a nearby unit.
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

Using the Information[edit | edit source]

When you have found the information that you are looking for, the following may help you further your research:

Known Issues with This Collection[edit | edit source]

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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 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.

Citations for this Collection[edit | edit source]

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Canada Census, 1851.

How You Can Contribute[edit | edit source]

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 Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.

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