Monday 13 February 2012

Evolution of Saskatchewan's Historical Census

Pink Orchids

Evolution of Saskatchewan's Historical Census

Canada became a nation in 1867, and the eastern provinces took their individual census as early as 1851, and every ten years thereafter. The 1851, 1861, were provincial census amalgamated into becoming the Census of Canada for those years. 1871 was the first census year following confederation.

The 1881 census is the first census to enumerate the Northwest Territories, and the seven provinces which belonged to Canada in that year. The Northwest Territories was the name given to western Canada and encompassed present day Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Northwest territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Labrador and the northern portions of Quebec, and Ontario.

By 1891 the Northwest Territories was subdivided into districts, Alberta, Assiniboia East, Assiniboia West, Saskatchewan, and Mackenzie River. Canada was comprised now of the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec.

The Northwest territorial divisions now consisted of Alberta, Assiniboia, Athabasca, Franklin, Mackenzie, Saskatchewan, and Ungava. The provinces of Canada were enumerated as well during the 1901 census, including British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec; two territories - the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories.

The 1906 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta was unique following the formation of the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta in 1905. This demarked the first time the census was taken every five years in the Prairie provinces rather than every ten years, this five year system was adopted by all of Canada in 1956.

The 1911 Census of Canada and the 1916 Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta are the latest census to be released into the public domain by the National Library and Archives. Various agencies have undertaken searchable transcription of these documents.

All the released records have been digitised by the National Archives and Library and can be found on their website as primary source images in their original form. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints FamilySearch,, and Automated Genealogy have all transcribed census records into searchable online databases.

At the FamilySearch's family history centers, public researchers can access the 1916 Canada Census for free. Due to contractual obligations with The Generations Network (TGN) the 1916 census will not be available for free online at Family Search, however they have made the 1881 census available online.

The 1851, 1861, and 1871 census of Canada have now been added to the Family Search database and is accessible to the public researcher for free at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints family history centres. There are plans to include as well the 1891 census. They are seeking transcribers for their projects. These volunteers can work from home

The Historical Canadian Census Collection 1851 to 1916 on provides a searchable database for all the released census (1851/2, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1906, 1911 and 191) on web site search engine. There is a fourteen day free trial period, and monthly subscription rates to access the entire record collection at

The 1851/1852 Cenus of Canada are currently being transcribed by Automated Genealogy, and they have the 1901 Census of Canada, 1906 census of the Western Provinces and the 1911 Census of Canada completed and searchable online.

The census are invaluable to genealogists. Enumerators recorded persons inhabiting dwellings listed by householder followed by the family grouping as of the census date. Employment, age, religion, nationality, year of immigration, relationship to the head of family or household were recorded along with place of habitation. Street address was given for city areas, and legal land descriptions were recorded for rural dwellers in the form of section, township, range and meridian.

Further Reading:

Links to digitised primary source documents, and transcribed secondary source documents and search information, tips and hints about the Canadian census on Saskatchewan Gen Web ~ Rootsweb ~

1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta - Search - Ancestry

1916 Census - Ancestry
  • 38,413 images of original records
  • 1.69 Million names
  • Military service information

Census of the Prairie Provinces, 1916 - Library and Archives Canada

FamilySearch Expands Canadian Census Collection June 24, 2009

Family Search Known Issues for Canadian 1901 and 1916 censuses in Historical Records

1852 Census of Canada - Automated Genealogy Index the 1851/1852 Census of Canada being transcribed by Automated Genealogy, Volunteers requested.


Related posts:

What can be found at the NEW Saskatchewan Provincial Archives website?

The Era of Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouses Why were Canadian "Last Best West" homesteads created?

•Love and Marriage in Saskatchewan- a comprehensive guide

How did pioneers travel to their prairie homesteads?

•How to locate birth, marriage and death certificates in Saskatchewan, Canada

Are there genealogy sites that can compete with


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