Ontario Census 1861 (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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Collection Time Period
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.
Key genealogical facts found in the 1861 Ontario Census are:
- Marital Status
- Family members
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.
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.
Why this Record was Created
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.
Related Web Sites
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Sources of This Collection
"Census returns for Canada West, 1861 (Ontario)," database, FamilySearch; from Canada. Board of Registration and Statistics. "Census of Canada, 1861," Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. FHL microfilm, 296 reels. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
How to Cite Your Sources
An example of citing these records is: Canada Board of Registration and Statistics. Census page. From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org, April 23, 2010). Charles E. Hart, male, 7, residence: East Zorra, Oxford, Ontario, sheet number 15, line number 20.
Instructions for citing this source can be found at: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections