Find your ancestors in Canada census 1901

What can these records tell me?

For each result, you will be provided with a transcript that covers key details from the 1901 census and a link to the digital image of the original census form. The images, microfilmed in 1955, are held at the Library and Archives Canada website.

Information will vary from transcript to transcript based upon what was originally recorded in the census and the legibility of the digital image, but most transcripts will include the following fields:

  • First name(s)
  • Last name
  • Sex
  • Race or tribe
  • Age – for those under the age of one, their age is expressed in fractions (e.g. 3/12 means 3 months old)
  • Birth year
  • Birth date
  • Birth place
  • Marital status
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Immigration year
  • Naturalization year
  • Image link
  • Family number
  • Division
  • Sub-district name
  • Sub-district number
  • District name
  • District number
  • Province
  • Film
  • Page number

Images will often provide you with additional information, such as occupation and religion. Please note that the information recorded may be in English or French.

Discover more about these records

The census started on 31 March 1901. There were just shy of 9,000 enumerators sent out for the 1901 census and 35 commissioners. The census recorded a total of 5,371,315 individuals. A breakdown by place is as follows:

  • British Columbia - 178,657
  • Manitoba - 255,211
  • New Brunswick - 331,120
  • Nova Scotia - 459,574
  • Ontario - 2,182,947
  • Prince Edward Island - 103,259
  • Quebec - 1,648,898
  • Territories - 211,649

In total, there were 206 census districts and 3,204 sub-districts. The original records were microfilmed in 1955 and the original hardcopy documents subsequently destroyed. Sadly, not all census records have survived; explore the List of districts and sub-districts linked to in the Useful links and resources to discover which sub-districts are missing.

You may discover in your perusing of the images that the clarity is poor for some of the images; unfortunately, there was no consistency in scanning quality across the collection. To aid you in deciphering what the original images have to offer, a complete breakdown of the column headings is included below.

Please note that where the answer to a question was yes, the number 1 was recorded, and where the answer was no, a dash (-) was recorded.

Column 1 – dwelling house

Column 2 – family or household

Column 3 – names of individuals in family or household on 31 March 1901

Column 4 – sex (m for male, f for female)

Column 5 – colour (the following designations were used in the 1901 census; by today’s standards, these terms are, at best, antiquated, and they do not reflect current practices for the Canadian census)

  • W for white – those of European descent
  • R for red – Native Canadians
  • B for black – those of African descent
  • Y for yellow – those of Chinese or Japanese descent
  • Children of mixed race (Caucasian and other heritage) were recorded as members of the non-white race.

Column 6 – relationship to head of house

Column 7 – marital status—single (s), married (m), widowed (w), or divorced (d)

Column 8 – month and date of birth

Column 9 – birth year

Column 10 – age at last birthday (as of 31 March 1901 and fractions are used for those under the age of one, such as 4/12 for 4 months old)

Column 11 – place / country of birth

  • For those born in Canada, the province or territory was recorded
  • For those born outside of Canada, the birth country was listed
  • Additionally, r was noted to indicate rural and u was used to indicate urban

Column 12 – year of immigration to Canada (if applicable)

Column 13 – year of naturalization (if applicable)

  • Individuals that had applied for citizenship but hadn’t yet been granted it were marked as pa

Column 14 – racial or tribal origin usually traced through paternal line except for Aboriginals who were traced through the maternal line, with the name of the First Nation indicated. 'Breed' / 'half-breed' indicated a mixed Native and other background. Some common abbreviations are as follows:

  • Fb (French breed)
  • Eb (English breed)
  • Sb (Scottish breed)
  • Ib (Irish breed)
  • Ob (other breed)
  • Cree fb (Cree and French breed)

Column 15 – nationality (for non-Canadians, birth country or country of professed allegiance is listed)

Column 16 – religion (listed in full except where the name was too long)

  • B.C. (Bible Christian)
  • C. (of) E. (Church of England)
  • C. (of) S. (Church of Scotland)
  • E.M.C. (Episcopal Methodist Church)
  • F.C. (Free Church – Presbyterian)
  • M.E.C. (Methodist Episcopal Church)
  • P.C.L.P. (Presbyterian – Canada and Lower Provinces)
  • P.F.C. (Presbyterian Free Church)
  • R.P. (Reformed Presbyterian)
  • U.P. (United Presbyterian)
  • W.M. (Wesleyan Methodist)

Column 17 – profession, occupation, trade, or means of living of each person (for retired individuals, r is recorded)

Column 18 – living on own means (those who live off income other than salary)

Column 19 – employer

Column 20 – employee

Column 21 – working on own account

Column 22 – Working at trade in factory or in home (specify by f for factory and h for home, or both, as the case may be)

Column 23 – Months employed at trade in factory

Column 24 – Months employed at trade in home

Column 25 – Months employed in other occupation than trade in factory or home

Column 26 – Earnings from occupation or trade

Column 27 – Extra earnings (from other than chief occupation or trade)

Column 28 – Months at school in year (for individuals over the age of five and under the age of 21)

Column 29 – whether individual can read

Column 30 – whether individual can write

Column 31 – whether individual can speak English

Column 32 – whether individual can speak French

Column 33 – mother tongue (if spoken, whether or not fluent)

Column 34 – infirmities—the infirmity needed to be incapacitating for it to be noted (if infirmity dates from childhood, add from childhood)