Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Searchable Census of 1921 available from Ancestry

The Canadian census of 1921, recently released from lockdown at Statistics Canada, is now fully available in searchable form from the subscription-based genealogy website:, Canada’s largest family history website, announced today the online launch of the fully indexed 1921 Census of Canada.  Available online for the first time ever, the searchable records will be free for people to discover the details of the lives of more than 8.8 million Canadians whose stories have been waiting nearly a century to be told. 
The original records of the 1921 Census of Canada were held at Statistics Canada for a period of 92 years following the enumeration of the Census. After this period, the information was transferred to the public records at Library and Archives Canada (LAC). Since June, has partnered with LAC to digitize and index these images and make them available to the public.
To search the Ancestry source for 1921 census info, you need to have or to create a (free) Ancestry account, but for the census searches there's no charge.

I found, f'rinstance, John Diefenbaker, age about 25, in the Prince Albert district of Saskatchewan, a barrister.  His "racial or tribal origin," oddly enough, is said to be "French." No sign of Lester Pearson, but he may have been out of the country in 1921.

Nellie Leticia McClung, living in Edmonton, Ontario-born,wife of Robert, comes out as "Nettie Seletan McClung." Not that I'm complaining: you can link to an image of the document itself, and the census-taker's scribbling is barely comprehensible.

No sign of my wife's grandfather, who should have been living in Toronto in 1921.  But William Alfred Galliher, a British Columbia judge I once did some research on, turns up where he should, in Victoria, BC, with the wife I expected and two daughters I had known nothing of.  It's kinda fun, altogether.

Library and Archives Canada, custodian of the census, has not said much about the census since August when it reported:
Researchers can explore the 197,529 images through an index of districts and sub-districts. will also take the extra step of indexing 8.8 million names, addresses and other information for a searchable database, and developing advanced search tools to go along with it. Canadians will only be required to pay for the extra convenience of doing advanced searches from the comfort of their home. will assume the costs associated with this work and will offer a choice of free or paid access.
  • Free access will be possible in person at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and through hundreds of subscribing libraries across Canada.
  • Free access to raw census records will be available online.
  • Paid access will only be necessary if someone wants the extra convenience of doing advanced searches from home.
Sounds like you will do better with Ancestry.
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