Researching early census records

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to announce the launch of an expanded version of one of our most popular research guides: Finding Aid 300: Other census and related documents (1640 to 1945).

This tool is a comprehensive guide to early census and related records found at LAC, with references mainly dating from 1640 to the 1800s. There are also some records from the 1900s, including Newfoundland and Labrador from 1921 to 1945.

New to this version of Finding Aid 300 are links to digitized images of most of the documents. Researchers can access numerous digitized records relating to Acadia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia.

We also invite you to visit our updated Censuses page, which includes links to our databases of census returns (1825 to 1921) and other resources.

Finding Aid 300

Federal census records offer genealogists a wealth of information.

Did you know that there are various types of early census records? These could be very useful for your research.

Our Finding Aid 300  is a comprehensive guide to early censuses and similar documents held at Library and Archives Canada (LAC).
The finding aid and other census information are available on the LAC website under Censuses.

Please note that some census records only include the head of a household and only provide statistical data for the remainder of the family or household. These types of censuses rarely indicate the relationship between the head of the household and other family members; other kinds of census records contain only statistical summaries.

For example, if the finding aid indicates “aggregate returns” or “recensement sommaire,” it includes statistics only.  However,  if identified as “nominal” or “nominatif” the census includes a list of names.

Happy hunting!

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