Using the Internet for Canadian Census Research (National Institute)

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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian Census Part 1 and Part 2  by Doris Bourrie, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Using the Internet for Research[edit | edit source]

Using the Internet for genealogical research is similar to using published compilations and indexes which have been provided as an aid to researchers. There is always the possibility of human error occurring in any compiled record or compiled index or database provided on the Internet.

The researcher should use these materials only as a guide to the original record. Until you have checked the information in the original source, you can never be sure of accuracy in your research.

There are three types of Internet sites that will be helpful to those researching census records. The first type is of a general nature, providing research information for a specific location.

The Canadian Genweb Project is a good example of this type of site. Volunteers have set up sites for the Canadian provinces which will provide general research information, and possibly a contact for specific queries. Some of these sites are just getting started, while some, such as the Ontario site, are well developed with links to various volunteers in many of the counties of Ontario whose sites provide information on their specific county.

Most provincial archives now have websites available, and for some it is possible to send a general enquiry for information via email. Sites maintained by the various genealogical societies are also included in this category.

A more specific type of site is one which provides a searchable database for a specific record. As these sites change constantly, it is impossible to provide a complete list of current addresses.

The third type of site offers actual digitalized images of census pages for viewing on your computer screen. Some of these sites are free, such as Library and Archives Canada website which provides images of the 1901 and 1911 Canadian census and the 1906 census of the Northwest Provinces. Other sites, usually offered by commercial companies, will provide digital images of various census records, with fee schedules for the service. Keep in mind that more information is constantly being made available, and site addresses may be changed frequently. Local genealogical publications often include listings for specific sites as they become known.

Internet Addresses[edit | edit source]

The list of addresses on the next pages is simply a few examples. It is certainly not intended as a complete list.

Archives: National and Provincial[edit | edit source]

The various provincial archives across Canada, and the provincial genealogical societies all maintain websites to assist researchers. These sites addresses may change from time to time, and websites are constantly being upgraded to provide additional information.

Library and Archives Canada has detailed information on Canadian census records.  You will find informatin on abbreviations used in census returens, how to locate the appropriate microfilm real number, and access to some digitalized census records for Canada.  There is a list of census years provided for each province which is the main series of holdings at Library and Archives Canada.  It does not include, for instance, the census records for Newfoundland which are available at Gosling Memorial Library, St. John's, Newfindland.

On the LAC’s Genealogy and Family History website you will find current addresses and links to all provincial and territorial archives, as well as genealogical societies across Canada. This is a site sponsored by Library and Archives Canada, together with the Department of Canadian Heritage and other partners. It is intended to provide access to all genealogical resources in Canada.

Once you have accessed the website for the provincial or territorial archives of your choice you will probably find links to other websites of interest for that province or territory.

Specialized Websites[edit | edit source]
Living Landscapes - Royal BC Museum[edit | edit source]

Living landscapes is a partnership project between the Royal British Columbia Museum and Okanagan University College, providing access to information and database searches for portions of the 1881 census; portions of the 1891 census; the 1877 IRC (Indian Reserve Commission) Census and the 1877 OMI (Oblates of Mary Immaculate) Census.

Canada GenWeb[edit | edit source]

Canada GenWeb is a cooperative project that was started in the US with the US Genweb Project, and involves websites across Canada devoted to genealogical subjects. The goal of this project is to have an established website for each province, with information and links to sites of genealogical interest for that province. Some websites are more developed than others, but the project is still growing. Many of the provincial sites have census records or census information for their local areas. The Ontario GenWeb has an ongoing program of census transcriptions, and is periodically updated with new data.

Census Links[edit | edit source]
Granny’s Genealogical Gardens[edit | edit source]

Granny's Genealogical Gardens No.1  and Granny's Genealogical Gardens No. 2  includes a number of Canadian census records online. 

Automated Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Automated Genealogy source has census indices for 1901, 1906, 1911, 1852 (Canada East and Canada West) and 1851 (New Brunswick). Actual census images are linked to the Library and Archives Canada website.

Census Online[edit | edit source]

Census Online site advertises more than 54,000 links to online census records.

Census Tools[edit | edit source]

Census Tools site offers a number of blank electronic spreadsheets that will help you organize the census information you have collected. The forms may be ordered, or downloaded from the website. There is no charge, but if you find the forms helpful you are requested to make a small donation to the author.

FamilySearch[edit | edit source]

Family Search is a free website that offers the fully searchable 1881 census of Canada. The index for the 1851, 1871, 1891 and the 1871 Mortality Schedule are also available in the Historical Records section of the website,


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Canadian Census Part 1 and Part 2 offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.