Using Canadian Census Records
Alan Greenberg -

Canada conducts a census of its population every ten years. Census records starting with 1831 are available ( has all of the details) The census years that are of interest to most Jewish family researchers are 1901 and 1911.

An organization called Automated Genealogy has indexed the census with volunteers. The 1901 and 1911 census can be searched for free at Automated Genealogy has also indexed the 1906 census of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, and is working on the 1851 colonial census., a commercial organizition, has indexed the many Canadian censuses and made them available on their web site. These include the 1901 and 1911 cenesus of Canada, the 1906 and 1916 census of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, 1851 census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

Ancestry is a pay site, but FREE access is avaialble at the Jewish Public Library in Montreal, and at many librairies world-wide. If you want your own subscription, they are offering a number of attractively priced options (including one FREE option at the moment). The options are:
Note that all Ancestry plans will automatically be renewed at the end of the period unless you explicitly cancel. The 14-day free access will become a paid subscription at the end of the period of you do not cancel.

If you have can do all of your searching in 14 days, and you are disciplined enough to remember to cancel, clearly the free offer is great. Otherwise, there should be one of the for-pay options that meet all researchers needs (remember that if you opt for the monthly plan, you need to cancel after a few months, or you will have paid the equivalent of a yearly subscription in just 7 months. Ancestry is a US organization, so I do not think that GST or QST are charged. Ancestry also offers "world" packages which include access to US and other records as well.

To sign up for any of the Canadian record plans, you need to use the web site instead of the normal site (if you go to the .com site and they think that you are coming from Canada, they will ask you which site you want).

Note that the census was hand-written, and the quality of the handwriting varied widely. There are many errors in the both the Automated Genealogy index and the Ancestry index, so you may need to be innovative in your searching. One trick to find a family where the surname has not been properly recorded is to seach on Ancestry looking just for the given name (or start of it) along with the parents' given names. Remembering that related families often lived in the same street or neighbourhood can sometimes lead you from a correctly indexed entry to one that would otherwise be unlocatable.

Steve Morse has created web pages to facilitate the searching of both the 1911 and 1901 censuses - see

For those unfamiliar the 1911 census, the list of column headings may catch your interest. Full details of the contents can be found at

Column(s) Contents
1  Dwelling House
2  Family, Household, or Institution
3  Name of Each Person in Family, Household, or Institution
4  Place of Habitation 
5  Sex
6  Relationship to Head of Family or Household
7  Single, Married, Widowed, Divorced or Legally Separated
8  Month of Birth
9  Year of Birth
10  Age at Last Birthday
11  Country or Place of Birth (if Canada specify province or territory)
12  Year of Immigration to Canada, if an Immigrant
13  Year of Naturalization, if Formerly an Alien
14  Racial or Tribal Origin
15  Nationality
16  Religion
17  Chief Occupation or Trade
18  Employment Other Than at Chief Occupation or Trade, if any
19  Employer
20  Employee
21  Working on Own Account
22  State Where Person Is Employed, as "on Farm," "in Woolen Mill...
23  Weeks Employed in 1910 at Chief Occupation or Trade
24  Weeks Employed in 1910 at Other Than Chief Occupation or Trade, if Any
25, 26   Hours of Working Time per Week at Chief Occupation and Hours of Working Time per Week at Other Occupation, if Any
27  Total Earnings in 1910 From Chief Occupation or Trade
28  Total Earnings in 1910 From Other Than Chief Occupation or Trade, if Any
29  Rate of Earnings per Hour When Employed by the Hour (Cents)
30, 31   Upon Life $ and Against Accident or Sickness $
32  Cost of Insurance in Census Year $
33  Months at School in 1910
34, 35   Can Read and Can Write
36  Language Commonly Spoken
37  Cost of Education in 1910 for Persons Over 16 Years of Age at College, Convent or University
38  Blind
39  Deaf and Dumb
40  Crazy or Lunatic
41  Idiotic or Silly