The Canadian Genealogy Centre has a lot of free databases to help you with your research. Some include images and some indexes only.
Let’s start with the census records found at the Canadian Genealogy Centre.
The 1911 Canada census is searchable by geographic location only and images are available.
So this is like using a microfilm at home on your computer. Of course, it helps if you have a place name to start the search. If you are searching a large city it can take you a while to get through the census images.
The 1906 Census of the Northwest Provinces is another one that is searchable by geographic location only and has images available.
The 1901 Census of Canada is searchable by geographic location and has images.
The 1891 and the 1881 Censuses of Canada can be searched by name and the images are available.
Unfortunately the 1871 Census of Canada is only searchable by head of household and there are no images. If someone in the household has a different last name sometimes you can find them in the index as well.
There is nothing for the 1861 Census of Canada.
The 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, Nova Scotia & New Brunswick has a geographic search and the images.
Under the topic census they also have a listing of available microfilms for census records in Canada from 1666-1901. The earlier records are mostly for Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
There are explanations of column headings, what censuses are available, enumeration dates and census abbreviations. They give advice if you are searching after 1916 or in Newfoundland and Labrador.
To help you with your census search there are Electoral Maps: The Electoral Atlas of the Dominion of Canada (1895) and a Map of Ontario (1874).
The website discusses voters lists. These are modern records and the federal lists start in 1935. There is a list of microfilms available. You will need to know the riding in which your ancestor lived. Remember the boundaries have changed over the years. Some provinces and municipalities also have voters lists that you may be able to search.
One item that gets overlooked is the 1940 National Register. You can order this record for a person who has been dead for 20 years and can read more about it in an earlier posting of The Passionate Genealogist.
We have gotten so used to having indexes for the most popular records. Be adventurous, go in and search the census online as you might have done a microfilm. You do not have to leave your home; it will just take you a little longer. Besides you never know what you may find out about the place you are researching and who else you might find in the process.
And remember these are all offered free of charge.
©2010 – Blair Archival Research