Four pre-1900 censuses available for free online
TORONTO—FamilySearch, in partnership with Ancestry.ca and the Libraries and Archives Canada (LAC), announced today the addition of the 1851, 1861, and 1871 Canada Census indexes to its online collection. The new indexes can be searched for free at FamilySearch.org (click Search Records, and then click Record Search pilot). FamilySearch published the 1881 Canada Census previously online and plans to add the 1891 Canada Census shortly.
Over a fourth of all Canadians struggle to trace their roots past 100 years. Having the indexes to all of the pre-1900 Canadian censuses online will make it much easier for Canadians to extend their understanding of their family’s history.
These censuses are part of the FamilySearch records access program reported in May 2008 to provide public access to more records more quickly. In this project, Ancestry.ca provided the indexes to the 1851 and 1891 Canada Censuses, and FamilySearch created the indexes for the 1861, 1871, and 1881 Canada Censuses. It is a win-win for the public, who will have free access to all five of the pre-1900 census indexes online at FamilySearch.org.
FamilySearch used its growing community of online volunteers to index the 1861 and 1871 Census records. For the past year, volunteers have logged online to FamilySearch’s indexing application from all over the world, working seven days a week, 24 hours a day—literally—to accomplish the feat. Thousands of volunteer hours later, coupled with the added indexes from Ancestry.ca, the public now has free, easily searchable databases of millions of Canadian citizens from 1851 to 1891.
“The publication of free indexes to these major censuses gives a great boost to Canadian family history research. For the first time, genealogy enthusiasts and historians may search online databases containing some 17 million records of individuals who lived in Canada in the latter half of the 19th century. Indexers keyed many personal details—names, ages, birthplaces, religions, and residences—for individuals listed in these early Canadian censuses,” said FamilySearch chief genealogical officer, David Rencher.
Researchers will discover heads of households, their family members, and any lodgers residing with a family at the time. They can also see the street address where ancestors were living at the time the census was taken, along with their age, occupation, and perhaps their ethnicity.
Free access to the indexes for the 19th century collection of Canada Censuses is the first phase. Free access to the record images will also be available to qualified FamilySearch members as soon as an authentication process is implemented.
The 1881 Canada Census was published on FamilySearch.org in 2002. The 1916 Canada Census was also made available for free to the public earlier this year through FamilySearch’s 4,600 family history centers worldwide.