Tuesday, July 22, 2008

1891 Canada Census

by looking4ancestors

Well, it's finally happened. The 1891 Canada Census is now available on Ancestry.ca and Ancestry.com. Along with the 1861 Canada Census, the 1891 was the least accessible census record for researchers. Most genealogy type web sites including the LAC only had the "popular" census records - 1851/52, 1871 Head of household index, 1901 and 1911. The 1881 Canada census index is available on FamilySearch.org. The 1891 has largely been ignored until now.

I am excited about now having easy access to this record. The main branch public library in town has a copy of the 1891 Census on microfilm but indices are few and far between. Because of this, I have only a few ancestors researched in the 1891 census.
So, imagine my excitement when I receive notice this morning that the 1891 census is now available on-line at Ancestry. And guess what? I have a subscription to Ancestry! Yippee!

Well, my elation has turned to frustration. My first few attempts to find some of my husband's Essex County ancestors has resulted in "no matches found". I guess I shouldn't really be all that surprised as I know from previous experience using Ancestry's census indexes, it sometimes takes a lot of effort and searched to find anybody! A search of my husband's ancestor, Samuel Harper led to "no matches found". Several more attempts and I finally find him in the index as "Hasper". When I checked the image itself, it is easy to see that Samuel was enumerated as "Harper". Time to submit (another) correction.

Essex Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society has been hard at work indexing the 1891 Canada Census for Essex County, Ontario. Thus far, we have Amherstburg, Anderdon, Kingsville and Walkerville completed. These are excellent quality indexes on CD. They are pdf files which are easy to use and read. The indexes have been checked and re-checked. The people involved in this indexing project are all dedicated genealogists.

However, there is no doubt in my mind, the 1891 Canada Census on Ancestry will have a negative affect on the sales of our high quality 1891 Canada Census indexes.