Thursday, February 26, 2009

1916 Canadian Census On-line and Indexed - Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta

Finally! The 1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta census images and index are up at Ancestry.

Search by name, birth year and location, residence, year of arrival in Canada ( rather oddly called 'Migration Arrival'? You will not find dates of migration from Ontario, for instance, in this census), names of family members, marital status (if family), relation to head of household, sub-district name and #, gender, race/nationality. There's a keyword search as well - let me know what you find useful here.

There seems to be a little problem with it - I had previously searched the census as it was being indexed by the volunteers, but one entry - my mother's - didn't come up immediately when I tried on Ancestry - even though I knew how their names were spelled in the index - Jannat, Amey and Walter SCOTT. Odd.... **Walter does pop right up in the search though if fuller information is entered - the full district info 'Manitoba, Marquette, 10' and his spouse's name - Amey. 'Amey' seems to be the key. I wonder why?

And, as I saw originally my mother is indexed only under her first name, even though her second name is clearly visible on the census page. Grandpa maybe just gave his second name only -'Walter' - funny as he is one person in the family who often did use both intials, or both names, although yes, 'Walter' is what he was called. Grandma is there as 'Amey S'. She was called 'Amy', for sure, but her second name was Estella. I wonder if sometimes at home, maybe, she was a 'Stella'? (I named a special teddy bear of my daughter's - 'Stella'. I know my Na would smile.)

The parents' in law were right next door, I know, on Church Street, and next to them - the Presbyterian minister. That family comes up in a surname/first name/place of birth search(but no 'ministers' using the keyword - occupation isn't indexed). Perhaps something in this district is unhitched in some part of the database? Mmmm.

There are a good number of people listed in the index without last names, so be sure to lighten your search if you don't find people at first - take the surname out altogether, even. My first suggested correction will be for Peter, 19 years old, Mary, 17 (probably Peter's wife), Mary, 13, and Annie, 9, listed without surnames in a household in Dauphin area, with apparently, Peter's parents, Fred and Nastia? BALISH or BALISK. Mary and Annie are shown as daughters of the younger Peter. I can see why someone did that, although it's pretty obviously unlikely. Here the problem is that Peter is listed as a second head of household. However, there is little excuse, as originally, he is listed (by the 'rules') as a son and his wife as 'wife - daughter sons' but the relationships have been scratched out. Oh, wait - the original head, Peter, and Nastia, don't seem to come up either. Or the next household with apparently the same name?

Then there is Amy and William 'Bill√£³N' - maybe 'BILLOIS' ? living with her parents? Now that looks like a computer talking.

Never mind - it's obvious more coffee is called for. Please say thank you to Ancestry for paying for the digitization of the 1916 Canadian census and arranging the indexing with FamilySearch. Thank the FamilySearch volunteers too - at least the 1916 census is available on-line with an index. I do wish it was at We could be indexing it and making it all available on-line free right now. But, I am thinking 'positive' this week.

So head for or or get on the bus and get to a library offering Ancestry Library Edition or even a microfilm copy of the 1916 census. It's exciting to see all these people on the Canadian prairies back in 1916 and to see people I know or knew listed on a historical document. Wish my Ma was here to tell me who those other people next door on the other side were...


Kenneth Scott said...

An interesting and helpful write-up. I found your comments while
researching Alberta antecedents and my surprise at finding a soldier,
serving in France and away for 2 years, as being listed at his parents

Apparently the de jure system
of enumeration was used which allowed this and a number of other
possibilities to occur. I found reading the instructions
of the census to be useful in this regard.

It was also interesting to see you pursuing a Walter SCOTT -- an
unfortunately common name which I also have chased. I do not think
there is any link unless you also tie to a William Joseph Scott who was
born in Portsmouth, England in 1869.

Thanks for posting your experience

M. Diane Rogers said...

Hello, Kenneth. Yes, I have written about the 1916 Canadian Prairie census several times. You might like to read this article:

And sorry, I don't think our Walter Scotts have any connection. Mine was definitely from Scotland. I have some of his family up on this website: