Thursday, August 14, 2014

1871 Census of Canada and the Other Schedules

The 1871 Census of Canada is an unusual census in that when it was first photographed onto microfilm only Schedule 1, Nominal return of the living, was saved. However, in 1975 the census enumeration papers were re-microfilmed and all the schedules were photographed to microfilm. This means that, where possible, the following schedules or documents are available for many areas of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec:
  • Schedule 1, Nominal return of the living
  • Schedule 2, Nominal return of the deaths
  • Schedule 3, Return of public institutions, real and personal estate
  • Schedule 4, Return of cultivated land and products
  • Schedule 5, Livestock, 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

Out of all the schedules most people are only familiar with the Nominal return of the living since it has the list of the people with their names, gender, age, place of birth, religion, origin1, occupation, married or single, instruction (going to school, unable to read or write if over 20 year of age), and infirmities. Additionally there may be mentions to see another schedule. Fortunately schedule 1 has be indexed for searching by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is available on various sites including Ancestry, FamilySearch, and Library and Archives Canada.

Sometimes you will even come across Schedule 2, Nominal return of the deaths, when you are doing your search on Ancestry. This is invaluable since this schedule gives a list of those that have died in the past year. Very useful if you can't find a church, civil or newspaper record of a death.

But what about those other schedules? As part of the microform digitization project several years ago by Library and Archives Canada those microfilms have been digitized and placed online in the Archived Microform Digitization section of the LAC under Census of Canada, 1871. The trick to finding what is where on these digitized microfilms is to click on the Help in the upper right of the screen2.

This will bring up the archived help page for the 1871 census of Canada. If you go to the List of Content of Microfilms section of that document you will come across an Excel spreadsheet finding aid. As long as you know the district, sub-district and division you will be able to figure out the microfilm you need to consult and also what schedule may be missing.

So let's look at a real life example and look at Charlott Fowler in the 1871 census3. As you see here, she has a remark stating to look at schedule 3, page 14.

1871 Census of Canada, Schedule 1, Ontario, East Middlesex (9), London (C-2), p 46

Looking up district 9, sub-district C I find it here in the finding aid spreadsheet.

Most of the microfilms are missing schedule 9 but other schedules may also not have survived the years.

Now we can go to the digitized microfilm. In this case we are interested in locating schedule 3, Return of public institutions, real and personal estate, page 14 for Ontario, Middlesex East (9), London (C), division 2. So we know we need to look on microfilm C-9905. In looking at the microfilm listing, only Middlesex East (9), London (C) is on that roll so it is a little bit easier.

I do my usual thing of clicking on the "View PDF" link at the top so the pages don't scroll too much off my screen (I have my Firefox browser setup so I can view PDFs within the page). Make sure you look at the top of the digitized page to find the schedule number and also at the very bottom where it says the district, sub-district and division in order to help locate the area you are looking for. After looking for just a few minutes4 I find the image of exact page I'm looking for on image page 147.

1871 Census of Canada, Schedule 3, Ontario, East Middlesex (9), London (C-2), p. 14

In the schedules 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9 the names aren't listed but instead the page number and line number referring back to schedule 1 is used as the key. Of course, the schedule you are looking at may take you to another one like it does here on line 17 where it says look at schedule 7, page 13. Do I hear a scream yet?

So let's look for page 13 of schedule 7, Return of Products of the Forest. After a few more pages of skipping forward, it can be found on image page 175 on the second sheet on the image.

1871 Census of Canada, Schedule 7, Ontario, East Middlesex (9), London (C-2), p. 13

After all that what do we find? That Charlott Fowler "gets wood for ___ling" (I can't quite decipher the writing).

  1. Although that really needs to be taken with a big grain of salt at times.
  2. I know, actually looking at a help page to find out how to use the resource? Heresy!
  3. Not a relation of mine, just an example from a posting within the Ontario Genealogy group on Facebook
  4. Some good guessing as to what page it might be on and a lot of luck got me to the page in just moments!

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