Canada Census, 1851 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Canada Census, 1851 .
This article describes a collection of records at
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Record Description
Record Type Census
Collection years 1851-1851
Languages English
Title in the Language
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Public Archives, Ontario

What is in this Collection?

The records in this collection include the 1851 census for Québec and Ontario (united as the "Province of Canada") and the independent provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Colonial, provincial, and local governments all conducted censuses in 1851. The official census day was in January 1852. Detailed family information is in the surviving personal schedules of the censuses of Quebec and Ontario. Less detailed censuses were taken of the Maritime Provinces in the same years, 1851 and 1861. The completed forms were sent to the Board of Registration and Statistics and later to the Department of Agriculture.

Returns for many counties are incomplete. The counties missing census returns are:

  • Shefford and Stanstead counties (Québec);
  • Russell and Simcoe counties (Ontario);
  • Gloucester, Kent, and Queens Counties (New Brunswick) as well as the City of Saint John (New Brunswick)
  • All counties of Nova Scotia except Halifax and Kings.

Canadian census records are the best source to use for quickly identifying a family group and residence. The census lists other persons living in the same household and may identify individuals for whom other records do not exist.

Census returns are recorded on large sheets of paper that are divided into rows and columns. The schedules were arranged by province and then further divided into census districts and sub districts. Census districts were voting districts, not counties, although most have the same names as counties. For the most part, census districts were named the same as cities and counties, and sub-districts were named the same as towns, townships, and city wards. Villages, small towns, and parishes were generally enumerated as part of the township in which they were located.

Census records may contain the following information:

  • Full name
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Approximate year of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Province and district of residence

How Do I Search the Collection?

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found Who I was Looking for, Now What?

What if I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For?

  • Don't forget to try using variations of the spelling of the name. Using possible nicknames may also be helpful.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"Canada Census, 1851." Database. FamilySearch. : accessed 2016. Citing Board of Registration and Statistics. Public Archives, Ontario.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Canada Census, 1851.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.