Once again, the Library and Archives Canada has released a census – this time, its the 1861 census. Information was collected for people living in Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
You can search this new database by nominal information, such as the surname, given name(s) and age of an individual, as well as by geographical information such as district and sub-district names.
This wasn’t a uniform census – the questionnaires were different in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and in the Canadas (Canada West – Ontario and Canada East – Quebec).
Also, the enumeration day in the Canadas was January the 14th, March 30th in Nova Scotia, and August the 15th in Prince Edward Island.
The census was also divided among rural and urban centres of the country.
So if an ancestor lived in Toronto (an urban centre), the enumerator would drop off the form for the inhabitants to fill out themselves, and then they would stop by a couple of days later to pick up the form, or if your ancestor lived in a rural area, the enumerator would fill out the form.
Districts and sub-districts did not all survive. To see which district survived, go to www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1861/Pages/census-districts-sub-districts.aspx
To search the census, go to www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1861/Pages/about-census.aspx