Did you know there’s a Schedule II for the 1901 Canadian census?
How about the 1871 Census – did you know there were 9 schedules and nearly all of them are available?
Did you know the 1861 census has schedules for buildings, agriculture, manufacturers, minerals, and fisheries and they are located after the personal censuses?
If you asked, What’s a census schedule? you’ve come to the right place. In this post I’ll review all the Canadian censuses for schedules, provide info on which ones are available, and give you an example of how to find schedules in the 1871 and 1901 censuses.
What is a Canadian census schedule?
You are most likely aware of censuses for Schedule I: Population. Since the first Canadian census in 1825, enumerators have been knocking on doors to count people and households. But were you aware that enumerators have been collecting data on everything from agriculture to fisheries, and that some of these schedules are findable online? Library and Archives Canada is the place to start, but frankly, this information can be a little overwhelming the first few times you review it.
I spent some time today refamiliarizing myself on census schedules, and I am writing this post in the hopes you find it worthwhile.
Table of available Canadian census schedules
|1851||Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Province of Canada (Ontario and Quebec)||Yes||Agricultural returns|
|1861||Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec||Yes||Look for the Agricultural censuses at the end of each reel of Personal census data.|
|1871||Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia||Yes||Finding aids for Schedules 1-9 available at LAC and the files online at Collections Canada. See notes below.|
|1871||Ontario||No||Heads of household only|
|1881||British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Northwest Territories||No|
|1891||British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Northwest Territories (Alberta, Assiniboia, and Saskatchewan)||No|
|1901||British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Yukon, Northwest Territories (Alberta, Assiniboia, Athabasca, Franklin, Mackenzie, Saskatchewan, Ungava)||Yes||Schedule 2: Buildings and Lands, Churches and Schools|
|1906||Northwest Provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba)||No|
|1911||British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Yukon, Northwest Territories||No|
|1916||Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba||No|
|1921||British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Yukon, Northwest Territories||No|
|1926||Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba||No|
|OTHER CENSUS INFO AVAILABLE|
|1931||The next Canadian census to be released in ~2023||?|
|1640-1945||Acadia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia||?||There is census information for areas in Canada before they joined Confederation. See LAC: Other census and related documents.|
|Various||First Nations, formerly the Dept of Indian and Inuit Affairs||?||Find the Record Group #10 (RG10) at Collections Canada.|
|1871-1911||Vancouver Island||?||Vancouver Island censuses, independent of the national censuses for 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, and 1911 at viHistory.|
Finding 1871 Census Schedules No. 2-9
In addition to counting heads, the 1871 census schedules asked for information on:
- Schedule 2: Names of those who died in the past 12 months
- Schedule 3: Return of public institutions, real estate, vehicles and implements
- Schedule 4: Return of cultivated land, of field products and of plants and fruits
- Schedule 5: Live stock, animal products, home-made fabrics and furs
- Schedule 6: Return of industrial establishments
- Schedule 7: Return of products of the forest
- Schedule 8: Return of shipping and fisheries
- Schedule 9: Return of mineral products
In addition to the free links noted in the table above, find the digitized schedules in Ancestry.ca in each section immediately after the Nominal Rolls of the Living. It’s that easy.
Note that not every subdistrict will have all schedules. From a quick spin through the records, I am finding Schedules 2 & 3 in Ontario; Schedules 2, 5, 7, & 8 in New Brunswick; none in Quebec; Schedules 2, 3, & 9 in Nova Scotia.
Quick tip: First find your ancestor in the 1871 census, note which page, then consult the last page in that sub-district. Repeat for every sub-district in which you have an ancestor. Be careful. These are 2 page return – be sure to scroll down to see Page 2. See examples below. (Click on the images to see larger.)
Finding 1901 Census Schedule No. 2
Schedule No. 2 – Buildings and Lands, Churches and Schools does not list property by name, but rather by i) page number; ii) line number; and iii) address. To locate the right Schedule 2, you will first have to find the right Schedule 1 to pull the page number, line number, and address. To illustrate, I will use my great-grandfather Yip Sang.
Step 1: Find the Schedule No. 1: Population data
The 1901 census images may be found at Ancestry.ca and Library and Archives Canada. Find the index at FamilySearch.org.
Please note that it was hard to locate this census record, which is transcribed as “Sarg Yip.” I was able to locate it by i) finding the address in 1901 (29 Dupont Street); ii) figuring out where 29 Dupont Street would have been enumerated in 1901 (District of Burrard / Vancouver City); and then iii) reading through all 543 pages of the collection for Burrard / Vancouver City.
From the above, I have transcribed the following data:
- Year: 1901
- Province: BC
- District No.: 1. Burrard
- S. District No.: D
- Subdivision No. 17
- in: Vancouver City
- Page: 27
- Line: 34
Step 2: Find Schedule 2: Buildings and Lands, Churches and Schools
Go to Library and Archives Canada’s Census of Canada, 1901.
Scroll down to find the Schedule 2 section, which looks like this.
Click on the relevant PDF file. In this example, I’m going to use British Columbia.
You will find a PDF with 28 pages of links. This is where you will need your District Name, District Number, Sub-District Name, Sub-district Number, and Division Number. We know this is Burrard 1, Vancouver City, D, 17. There are 8 pages. See example below.
The pages do NOT correspond to the pages of the population census but you can use logic to minimize unnecessary searching.
The 1901 Census return for Yip Sang is on page 27 of Burrard / Vancouver City. I therefore reasoned that starting on the last page would be closer than the first page and was able to find the right page (page 5) by reading backwards. To find the right property, you’ll need:
- Page number: 27
- Line Number: 34
- Address: 29 Dupont
See the results below. (Click on the images to see them larger.)
By locating Schedule 2, we learn that Yip Sang had at least 4 buildings in 1901:
- Building #1: 1 family, 3 rooms
- Building #2: 2 families, 8 rooms
- Building #3: 1 family, 1 room
- Building #4: (Dupont Rear) 1 family, 1 room
In fact, he had a LOT more, but that’s a story for another day.
I’m in Saskatchewan – is there a Schedule for me?
Don’t feel left out of the census party. In case you didn’t know it, in 1901, the province was included as part of the Northwest Territories, and there is a Schedule 2 available for this census.
I had been thinking about the wonderfully detailed censuses of Ireland and was curious to see if I could locate similar schedules for Canada. I decided to build the above table because I wanted to be able to see, at a glance, what was available. As well, I wanted to help some of my fellow genealogists who have privately confessed they find Library and Archives Canada hard to navigate.
I hope you find this helpful. What do you think? Please leave a comment below.
10 thoughts on “A quick guide to finding Canadian Census Schedules online”
Very helpful – thanks! Will add this to the Library’s Genealogy Toolbox page 🙂 And my own!!
Great! If there’s anything that can be added to improve this post, don’t hesitate to let me know. I could do a video. What do you think?
This was fairly useful and will have to look into it more. Thank you very much.
Thanks for visiting my site!
Excellent post! Thanks so much!
Thank you! Were you able to find some new info?
Thank you for the tips. Is there anyway to find a lot or concession number on the 1871 Census? I found the information on 1851 and 1861 but not 1871. Thank you for any assistance.
Hi Paula. I’m thinking you might be looking at only Schedule 1 (nominal return of the living) for 1871. There is a Schedule 3: Return of public institutions, real and personal estate, which gives much more details about land based assets. If you have Ancestry, go to your census and click forward to the end. If you don’t, you can find the entire 1871 census digitized (but it’s a bit more work to uncover) at Library and Archives Canada: https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1871/Pages/about-census.aspx#tab3.