Thursday, February 28, 2013

Canadian Census Records on FamilySearch

Since I don't have a World subscription on, I have to use other websites to find online records for my Canadian families.  There are several websites with Canadian census record images and indexes, but I also want to attach records to the families in the FamilySearch Family Tree.

Therefore, I want to understand what Canadian census records are available on, and use them, if possible.

1)  Here is a screen shot of the Canada record collections available on FamilySearch (, put "Canada" in search field):

There are Canada Census records for 1851, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1906, and 1916, plus Lower Canada Census for 1825, 1831 and 1842, and Upper Canada Census for 1842.

I want to find my Kemp relatives in each of the census years that they may be in.

2)  Starting with 1851, here is the record for Abram Kemp, born in about 1830, residing in Ameliasburgh, Prince Edward County, Canada West:

This census has limited information (name, gender, age, birthplace, province, county, district, district number, sub-district, page number, line number) indexed.  As you can see, the only way to relate this information to a family is to use the place name to narrow the search for the surname, and then to use the page number and line number to find all of the family.  That doesn't work for family members with another surname (in-laws, married siblings,  aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.).

3)  There is no 1861 Census available yet on FamilySearch.

4)  In the 1871 census, I found my Kemp family in Windham township, Norfolk County, Ontario.  Here is the place search I made that found six family members:

And clicking on the name, James Kemp, revealed this record summary for him:

This census has name, gender, age, birthplace, marital status, nationality, religion, place, page number, line number, household number, family number indexed. There are three family members listed, but they are on lines 15, 19 and 20.  The other family members, on lines 16, 17 and 18, are not shown on the family list shown above for some unknown reason.  They have record summary pages, but don't have a family listing.  I have the census page image, and it is a family of 6 all on one page.  I found very few family groups when I looked on other records.

4)  In the 1881 census, the James Kemp family resided in Middleton, Norfolk County, Ontario (I had to search for "Norfolk County" and not for "Middleton" or just "Norfolk"):

This Canada census has more information indexed (name, gender, age, birthplace, origin, religion, place, district number, sub-district number, page number, house number, family number), and includes a family list that appears complete.

5)  In the 1891 Census, the James Kemp family resided in Middleton, Norfolk North District, Ontario (I had to search for "Norfolk North" and not for "Middleton"):

The items indexed in the 1891 census are few (name, gender, age, birthplace, marital status, religion, and location). There is no family group listed - the user will have to search for a specific place, but there are no page numbers, family numbers or line numbers available to help define family members in this census.

6)  In the 1901 census, I couldn't find my James Kemp.  Here is the record summary for another James Kemp:

This census has more indexed items, and does have the family members and more columns were indexed.

7)  As you probably noted, there are NO images of these 1851-1901 census records on FamilySearch, and the only years that have full family member lists are 1881 and 1901. To find the information for each family member in the family groups, the user has to click on each family member.

It's unfortunate that the volunteer indexing of these records were not as complete as they could be, and make searching so difficult, especially when you are trying to find all of the family members.  The ideal of course, is to have the images available (they're on FHL microfilm - why aren't they available?) and if that can't be done, then to have the family members listed on a person's record, similar to the 1881 and 1901 census records.

The URL for this page is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


paperquilter said...

There are images for Canadian census records on the Library and Archives Canada website, for 1851, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 and the Prairie Province extra censuses for 1906 and 1916. An index for 1911 was added this week, in partnership with Ancestry. There are many other very useful Canadian databases available from this same page:

Another site with connection to the original images is, with indexes to 1901, 1906, 1911 and 1851.

I know these won't link directly to your tree on FamilySearch, but you can save and upload them, can't you?

Good luck with your Canadian ancestors!

Celia Lewis said...

I wondered why on earth you were using FamilySearch instead of either Library & Archives Canada or Automated Genealogy for Canadian Census images... Lovely images to dig around in.

Elizabeth Lapointe said...

Hi, Randy,

I use, then Library and Archives Canada, and then FamilySearch - in that order!

In Canada Census Recordsm you have to use all three to make sure that you have done a complete searching process. And you can add in AutomatedGenealogy as a fourth source.

On average, it does take longer to do Canadian genealogy, than it does in other countries. There is so much to check, although you can usually find what you are looking for, if you have patience.


Jackie Corrigan said...

Hi Randy,
You have probably found this info now with all the good hints your received. Ancestry and Family Search have the family incorrectly indexed as KEMF. I can send you the image from if you'd like. said...

they're on FHL microfilm - why aren't they available?

The research firm Rootsonomy provides lookups of all film, fiche, books, and magazines at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Plus, our lookup specialists are all professional researchers, so they will do research if needed to find the records. Simple 2-step process:

1. Locate the desired collection in the FamilySearch Catalog: OR

2. Facebook users can send the request by going to: and clicking the button "Request Research or a Lookup".

All others can submit requests at: Records will be digitally downloaded and sent via email within a couple days.