Monday, June 15, 2009

Finding 1851 Canada Census Images - Post 3

I wanted to find, and save to my hard drive, the images of my Canadian ancestral families from the 1851 Canadian Census.

I learned in Canada Census Indexes at FamilySearch Record Search that the FamilySearch Record Search index is pretty useless (it has all the people with the indexed information, provides reference numbers, but doesn't provide the parents, spouse or children in a family) and that there are no images available yet. I learned in Canadian Census Records that there is a transcription of the 1851 census at the Automated Genealogy site and that the images are available at the Canadian Genealogy Centre.

In the first post in this series, I went through the 1851 Canada census index on the Automated Genealogy web site to find the Alexander Sovereen family in Norfolk County, Ontario. In the second post, I used the "Split View" feature on the Automated Genealogy site to see the census page image on the Canadian Genealogy Centre site.

Kathryn Lake, who lives in Ontario then commented that there were four pages of information on each person, not just one page linked to by the "Split View" on the Automated Genealogy page. So I need to add the "how to get to the other pages" in this post. Here is the process to see all of the pages associated with a family in the 1851 Canadian census:

1. Go to the Canadian Genealogy Centre website at and choose a language - I chose English and saw the home page of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in English:

To search Census records, I clicked on the "Census" link in the list in the "Most Requested Searches" box. That opened the "What to Search: Topic" page (not shown here) and I scrolled down (a long way!) to the link for the "Census of 1851" and clicked on it. A page with information about the 1851 Census opened, and there was a link for "Basic Search" in the left side bar, which I clicked and finally found a Search box:

On this page, the user can select the "Province/Colony" (I chose Canada West) and input the Township and county name in the "Geographic Location" field (I recalled that my Sovereen family was in Windham township in Norfolk County). I clicked on the "Submit query" button. This page opened:

There were two matches for my query - both for Windham in Norfolk County. I didn't know which one to pick, so I chose the first one. A long list of page numbers appears (see two screens below):

Now, what were the page numbers I found in the Automated Genealogy search? Oh yes, "p. 17d, 18a (35)." The list above shows "p. 17d, 18a (35)," "p. 18b, 18c (36)," and "p. 18d, 19a (37)." When I clicked on "p. 17d, 18a (35)," I saw the same page I saw on the "Split view" screen in Post 2:

What's important here is to note the line number for your persons of interest. Alexander Sovereen is Person #32, and the family goes down to #39, Mary Jane Sovereen (Alexander's mother).

There appears to be no way to go to the "Next Page" in this system. Back to the list of page numbers, I chose "p. 18b, 18c (36)" and saw:

Almost a blank page. Wait, there are tick marks and a few words. I zoomed in by choosing 75% from the magnification dropdown list:

Now I can read the headings. For Page (b):

Column 9 = Married or Single
Column 10 = Coloured persons - Negroes
Column 11 = Indians if any
Columns 12-13 = Residents - Members, M or F
Columns 14-15 = Residents - Not Members, M or F
Columns 16-17 = Members Absent, M or F
Columns 18-19 = Deaf or Dumb, M or F
Columns 20-21 = Blind, M or F
Columns 22-23 = Lunatics, M or F
Columns 24-25 = Attending School, M or F
Columns 26-27 = Births during the Year 1851, M or F
Columns 28-29 = Deaths during Year 1851, No., M or F
Column 30 = Deaths during Year 1851, Age and Cause of Deaths

For Page (c):
Column 31 = Houses, Brick, Stone, Frame, Log, Shanty, or other kind of residence
Column 32 = Houses, Number of Stories
Column 33 = Houses, No. of families occupying
Column 34 = Houses, Vacant
Column 35 = Houses, Building
Column 36 = Shops, Stores, Inns, Taverns, &c.
Column 37 = Public Buildings
Column 38 = Places of worship

For Page (d):
Column 39 = Information as to Mills, Factories, &c, &c, their cost, power, produce, &c.
Column 40 = Number of persons usually employed therein
Column 41 = General Remarks of the Enumerator

Here is a view of Pages (b) and (c):

And a View of Page (d):

The entries for the Alexander Sovereen family are confusing. Alexander (Line 32) is noted as Single (I think), Male, with no occupation and no House. However, on Line 31, which is the last person of the previous family, that person is listed as a Farmer with a Frame House (Column 31) with one Story (Column 32) and 1 Family (Column 33).

In Line 34, my Mary J. Sovereen, age 12, is listed as Married.

In Line 38, Frederick Sovereen is listed as Married, Male, a Farmer, with a Frame house (Column 31), with 1-1/2 Stories (Column 32) and 1 Family (Column 33).

Obviously, the Enumerator was easily confused by all of the lines and columns!

As you can see, there is quite a bit more to the 1851 Canadian Census than just name, age, birthplace and religion. While there wasn't a lot of additional information for my families here, there is the possibility that a researcher could find significant information about family members by reading all four pages of the 1851 Canadian Census.

This process to see all of the census pages is fairly complex but most experienced Internet searchers can handle it. The alternative is, of ocurse, to obtain the microfilms for these census records through LAC or the Family History Library. I'll take the complex online process!

My thanks to Kathryn for helping me out with this!

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