Historic Canadian Census information is made available 90 years after it was first reported. The process is regulated under the Privacy Act.
National on-line census information for Canada is available for the following years, from various sources:
- Library and Archives Canada 1881
- Library and Archives Canada 1891
- Automated Genealogy 1901
- Automated Genealogy 1911
For the LAC data in 1881 and 1891 the data can be searched. That data has not been transcribed, as has the 1901 and 1911 census data, therefore it is more difficult to use. The use of the 1881 and 1891 census data is not discussed here in detail at this time.
The most popular census data used is 1911 as it is the last published census, all of which has been transcribed by volunteers as part of the Automated Genealogy project. The 1901 data has also been transcribed and links are being made by the volunteers between the data sets for 1901 and 1911. The 1911 data is also being linked to Attestation Papers for WWI Soldiers, which are available on-line from Library and Archives Canada.
The following is a step-by-step approach to using the 1911 Census information from the Automated Genealogy Project for the Town of Milton. If anyone wants a “hands-on demonstration” of the process, let me know and we will arrange for a get together during one of the morning events at the MHS.
- Log on to the main site here:
- Select 1911 from the top right corner or in the main body of the text:
- From the provincial list select Ontario:
Once you are at this point you can enter a name you are searching for in Ontario and that will start the process, but this outline concentrates on taking you right to the MILTON data so you can search only for those residents in 1911 (if they were home when the census was taken). If you want to start searching from this point go to item 8 on this page for the example of David Robertson. If you know you only want to search Halton County, go to the next step.
- Scroll down to District 76 Halton:
If you are only interested in searching for a person at this point, enter the last name in the SEARCH BOX at the top of the list. That will take you to a list of all possible persons with that last name. From there you can refine the list by First Names, Sex, Age, District, Town, etc. If you want to go to the actual pages for MILTON follow on to the next step in the process. To start a search right away for “David Robertson” from Milton, bypass items 5 to 7 in the following list and meet back up at item 8.
- On the HALTON page you will see there are three (3) Enumeration Districts for MILTON, shown as numbers 22 (9 pages), 23 (13 pages), and 24 (12 pages). These are not in alphabetic order but are house-by-house as per the Census recorders. An alphabetic list has been made from this data for Milton (see details that follow). For this example select Enumeration District 22:
- At MILTON page ED 22 you will now see there are 9 pages of records. Each page, except the last page, has 50 lines. From this page you can select whether you want to see the original hand-written census document from 1911 at Library and Archives Canada, or you can view the transcribed data from Automated Genealogy. Once you are on the page for the transcribed data you can also switch to “Split View” which will show the original and the transcribed data. You need to have the free ADOBE READER installed on your computer to see any of the LAC pages. For the example, pick the first page of ED 22 by selecting VIEW under the title INDEXING:
- You will now see that David Robertson was the first person recorded in the 1911 Census of Milton and so he was assigned HOUSEHOLD #1 (unfortunately no address). There were 10 people living at that home – apparently 2 separate families. If you want to see the SPLIT VIEW with the original document, click on that option at the top of the page. Depending on how you have the ADOBE program installed, the PDF version of the original document will either open at the top of the page or as a separate page. If you are not familiar with the use of ADOBE you will need to read the instructions on how to move through the page and how to enlarge the section you want to read. The LINE number on the original document is the same as the LINE number on the transcribed list.
- To search for David Robertson from the main starting point for the County of Halton census data (or even Ontario or Canada if you were not sure it was Halton), which is items 3 or 4 in these instructions, just enter the name ROBERTSON in one of the search pages. For simplicity we are going to do it here from the HALTON page. You can go back to the start or if you are following from Line 7, click on the “Halton” name at the top of the page. You will go here:
- Enter the last name ROBERTSON in the search box and that will take you to everyone in Halton that had that last name in the 1911 census. If you did that, you will come to this link (it is shortened to fit in here):
Robertson Link Halton 1911
- In this particular case, you can look at the list and see that there is only one David Robertson and that he is in Milton, so that was easy. Before we leave this however, scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see the words “Sort by geographic location“. Click on that and the page refreshes and now all the names are in the township, town or village in which they appear. You will see David Robertson as one of two Robertson people in Milton.
- Now for the purpose of the example, go back to the top of the list of the names and you will see “Filters“. Try this out by sorting them by males or by only Robertson’s with the first name David. If you entered both MALE and DAVID you would end up with only one name in your list:
David Robertson Link, Male, Milton, Halton
If you look across that page to the right you will see that the Page “1” is highlighted, so if you click on that you will go directly to the page where David Robertson is listed. You are now at the same point as in step 7 in this list of actions.
- On any of the final pages you arrive at watch out for messages in the Line # column on the left side of the screen. If you see a blue or red icon, that means there is additional information or a suggested correction to that name on the page. You will see there is a blue icon on line 12 and that takes you to the bottom of the page to tell you the “information” that those people in lines 12 to 36 were registered from a Milton hotel. On another page you might see a suggested correction. If you know the information is wrong and you want to make a correction, let me know and I will take you through the process – as that is another lesson!
You are now an expert on the use of the 1911 Census. Just in case you want to see all of the people that were registered in the Milton Census of 1911, you can see that in alphabetic order. I took all the information in the Enumerations Districts for Milton 22, 23 and 24 and put them in a spreadsheet. I then sorted that information using Excel tools (again another lesson – but if interested let me know!) and now you can see the alphabetic listing here:
That is in Microsoft EXCEL so you can use the data as you wish, but if you do not have that program and just want to see the PDF in your FREE ADOBE READER (you downloaded that already), go here:
There were an number of errors in the transcription of the names – including even the Waldie family. I have been sending in these corrections and also linking the 1911 Census data to the WWI Soldiers. That is a separate process that is conducted on the Automated Genealogy Forum. My correction and linking page is here:
That wraps up this tutorial – any questions?