Major Update to the 1861 Census of Canada Database

Following the release of the 1861 Census of Canada database in 2013, a number of missing records and misplaced images were reported by Library and Archives Canada clients and staff. We corrected over 133,000 entries! Following is a list of improvements to the database.

Canada West and Canada East Issues

In Canada West, the records for the cities of Hamilton, Kingston, London, Ottawa and Toronto were previously reported missing but the records did exist. The five cities, although enumerated separately in 1861, were tucked away amongst their neighbouring rural districts. For example, the city of Ottawa was listed under the district of Carleton and the city of Kingston was listed under Frontenac. The five cities are now correctly identified as districts and their respective wards are identified as sub-districts.

Additionally in Canada West, the rural districts of Renfrew and Russell were also reported as missing. The records for those two districts and their sub-districts can now be searched. In the rural district of Kent, the sub-districts of Camden and Gore, the town of Chatham, and the district of Chatham have been correctly identified. The images in the districts of Brant and Dundas are now correctly linked.

In Canada East, several image linking errors were corrected, particularly in the districts of Argenteuil, Montcalm and St-Jean.

Census Databases Online

Library and Archives Canada’s website currently contains 15 census databases. While conducting your family research, perhaps you have found an entry for an ancestor whose name was transcribed incorrectly or his/her age was misread by the transcriber. We can fix that!

To request a correction, click on the link, “Suggest a Correction” on the item page and provide your email address and an explanation. Once we have confirmed that the suggestion reflects the content of the original census record, the revised transcription will appear on our website. Remember that spelling variations are common and that a surname may have changed over time. Therefore, playing around with different spellings of a surname increases your chances of finding your ancestor. Using Soundex — a way to find phonetic variations of your name — can also be helpful.

Enjoy your time travels in the last census before Canada’s Confederation!

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!


11 thoughts on “Major Update to the 1861 Census of Canada Database

  1. Not all problems have been solved. You still have not corrected the problem of Burford in Brant. I have pages that are headed with Burford but none of the names are in this index nor in the previous bad copy. People have posted pages and I have followed their directions to get to the ones I want.
    The one page I have is Enumeration District No. 2, Township of Burford.
    Third entry is Walter Hudson born in Canada, Religion W.M. 4 yrs Male Single.
    This does not come up as a hit when searching in Canada West. I have chosen this entry since it is quite legible.
    Thank you,
    D. Dale

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  5. I noticed that the 1861 census for Burford Township is still not on the data base for Brant. Looking for an update.

  6. When I search the 1861 census, Canada West, district Brant, sub-district Burford, there are no results coming up. I have no trouble with the other sub-districts of Brant, but Burford still appears to be missing.

  7. The issue with Burford has still not been fixed. This has been several years of waiting. Will it ever be resolved?

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