Ontario Census 1861 (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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Access the records: Ontario Census 1861 .
This census was taken on January 14, 1861 and applied to the residents as of the previous night (January 13, 1861).
Census schedules were taken on large sheets of paper with preprinted rows and columns. They are bound into volumes, arranged by county, then by township and enumeration district.
The Census contains the 1861 census for the province of Ontario. At this time Ontario was not yet part of the Dominion of Canada, but was called Canada West. The census taker took the information on the census day starting January 14, 1861. Census takers were asked to record information about all those who were in each household on the census day. A census taker might have visited a house on a later date, but the information he collected was supposed to be about the people who were in the house on the census day. Enumeration was by census district. Census districts were voting districts, not counties, although most have the same names as counties. For the most part, census districts were synonymous with cities and counties, and sub districts were synonymous with towns, townships, and city wards. Villages, small towns, and parishes were generally enumerated as part of the township in which they were located. Census district and county boundaries were not always the same and there were many variations from location to location.
Canadian census records were taken to enumerate the population for representation, taxation, and other purposes.
The accuracy of the census depended on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the enumerator. Realize that the information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or even by a neighbor. Some information may have been incorrect or deliberately falsified.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- Board of Registration and Statistics. Ontario census, 1861. Public Archives of Canada.
Key genealogical facts found in the 1861 Ontario Census are:
- Full name of family members
- Place of birth
- Marital status
- Births in 1860
- Deaths in 1860
- Type of house
How to Use the Record
This census records the birthplace for each person, along with his or her age, and other personal information. Since the census attempted to record all the people living in a household, it may identify individuals for whom other records simply do not exist.
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
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Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"Ontario Census, 1861." index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed April 1, 2011). James Anderson, age 24; citing Census Records. FHL microfilm 3,492,249; Canada Board of Registration and Statistics, Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Canada.