This guide has been updated with 1921 Canadian census information.
Census : an official enumeration of populations that can help you discover birth dates, the names of parents and siblings, immigration details and much more.
Search the library's website for:
- census handbooks for background and tips on using the censuses of various countries
- Add location and year to the word "census"
- Use library recommended websites to discover a variety of online census records.
Additional material on Great Britain census handbooks
Additional material on the American censuses
Additonal material for 1871 census of Ontario.
Canadian Census Records Online
Catalogue of Census Returns on Microfilm 1666- 1901
Searchable online geographic index allows for identifying microfilm reel numbers for census returns.
Electoral Atlas of the Dominion of Canada
Provides access to a set of detailed maps showing federal electoral boundaries. Most of the electoral districts described in this 1895 atlas are identical to the 1901 census districts. Detailed ward maps for cities are also available.
All Canadian census returns from 1851 to 1921 have been digitized and are currently available on multiple websites in addition to Ancestry Library Edition. Ancestry Library Edition can be used in any Toronto Public Library branch and has all Canadian censuses from 1851. There is FREE access on Ancestry.ca to the 1921 Census of Canada only, for those with a Canadian IP address. Free account must be set up at http://www.ancestry.ca/1921census .
Below are websites that have census information. Note: some are indexes, some have images, some are only searachable geographically.
Gives an overview of the Census collection with links to LAC census databases and finding aids. The microfilm of the 1916 census has also been digitized. Details on census column headings, abbreviations and enumeration dates can also be found on their site.
Canadian Censuses on FamilySearch includes provincial censuses prior to 1842, and censuses 1851 - 1911, and 1916. The 1861 census is listed by province. FamilySearch is provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Automated Genealogy has indexed the 1852 census (Ontario and Quebec and New Brunswick), 1901, 1906 and 1911 censuses
The Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), has the 1851/2 and 1881 census data.
Alberta Genealogical Society, Edmonton Branch has indexed the 1901 census for Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Newfoundland (prior to entering Confederation in 1949)
Transcriptions for various years Newfoundland (Newfoundland's Grand Banks Genealogical and Historical Data) Some are incomplete.
British and Irish Census Records Online
1841 - 1911 Census for England,Wales and Channel Islands (FamilySearch)
( note: 1871 census is ~ 80% complete)
1901 Census of England and Wales
Free to search, pay to view records
1911 census of England and Wales
Free to search, pay to view records
Griffith's Valuation 1847 -1864
Griffith's is considered the Irish Census substitute.
Census records for 1841 - 1911. Free surname searches; pay to view records.
1841 - 1891 censuses free on Family Search.
US Census Records Online
1790 - 1940 US censuses (FamilySearch)
Indexed and usually linked to images. Free
Note: 1890 US census largely destroyed by fire.
In Library Resources
North York Central Library's Canadiana Department has all the available Canadian census records on microfilm. It also has an extensive collection of Ontario census indexes published by various genealogical organizations. The Toronto Reference Library has microfilm census records for provinces outside Ontario. Prior to the 1911 census, its Ontario holdings are limited to Toronto & York County only. To identify which microfilm reel to search, consult the Catalogue of Census Returns on Microfilm 1666 - 1901 also available in paper format.
The Toronto Reference Library's Humanities and Social Sciences Department houses many CD-ROMs and materials for U.S. and British and Irish census resources as well as early Quebec censuses (1660's) and the 1681 census of New France.
Ancestry Library Edition can be used on any computer in a Toronto Public Library branch, but is not available remotely. It allows individual name searches, often with original images to:
Canadian censuses 1851 - 1921; UK Census Collection for 1841 - 1911; American Census Records 1790 - 1940 and some European census records
Additional Library Collections
Ontario Genealogical Society Deposit Collection at the North York Central Library has an excellent collection of materials on British, American and Canadian censuses.
Toronto Public Library contacts:
Canadiana Department, North York Central Library, 416-395-5623
Humanitites and Social Sciences Department, Toronto Reference Library 416-393-7175