1861 Canadian Census

The 1861 Canadian census was not, per se, a census of Canada, as Canada as a nation did not exist until 1867. Rather, it was a census of the 5 UK colonies which existed at that time: Canada East(Quebec), Canada West (Ontario), Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

The 1861 Canadian census was scheduled to take place as of the night of January 13, 1861 in Canada East and West. Families were to record individuals who stayed with them that night, whether they were family members or not, and also to record those who normally abode there, but were away. For those who were not family members, their address was recorded.

Each of the 1861 Canadian census documents for Canada East and West, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia contained different questions, and were administered at different times during the year 1861.



The Canada East-West Census

Canada East and West
Orange = Canada West(Ontario); Green = Canada East (Quebec)
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Map - Canada East and West





The questions asked on the Canada East and West census were as follows:

  • Name
  • Profession, trade, or occupation
  • Place of birth
  • Married during year
  • Religion
  • Residence, if out of limits (i.e., if not a family member)
  • Age next birthday
  • Sex
  • Married or single
  • Widowed
  • Colored person - mulatto, or Indian
  • Family member or Non family member
  • Whether an absent family member
  • Whether deaf and dumb, blind, lunatic, or idiot
  • Children attending school within the year
  • Persons over 20 who cannot read or write
  • Births in 1860
  • Deaths during 1860 – M F - Age and cause of death


  • The 1861 Census of New Brunswick

    Location of New Brunswick within Canada
    Source: Wikimedia Commons.
    Map of New Brunswick

    The 1861 census of New Brunswick, which was set for August 15, 1861, but mostly was completed later that year, contained the following questions:

  • Dwelling No.
  • Name
  • Sex
  • Relationship
  • Age
  • Race and where born
  • Rank or Occupation
  • Children at school within the year
  • Whether sick, infirm, deaf and dumb, blind, lunatic or idiot
  • Births in the previous year
  • Deaths in the previous year
  • Marriages in the previous year





The 1861 Census of Nova Scotia

Location of Nova Scotia within Canada
Wikimedia Commons.
Map - Nova Scotia

The 1861 census of Nova Scotia listed the following questions:

  • Heads of families
  • Total number of males and females in the household according to age categories
  • Number of births since March 30, 1860
  • Number of deaths in the household since March 30, 1860, according to specified age categories
  • Marital status
  • Number of deaf and dumb, blind, lunatic, or idiot M F
  • Number of individuals that cannot read and write, divided into age categories and gender categories
  • Number of individuals married since March 30, 1860





The Census of Prince Edward Island

Location of Price Edward Island within Canada
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Location of Prince Edward Island within Canada.

The census of Prince Edward Island listed only the heads of families, rather than each person in the household. The following questions were asked:

  • Name of head of household
  • Trade, profession, or occupation
  • No. of males and females in the household according to age categories
  • No. of deaf and dumb, blind and insane in each family
  • No. who have not been vaccinated or had the small pox in each household
  • Total no. in each household (including servants and apprentices)
  • No. of married and single persons per household
  • No. of household members who married during the past year
  • No. of births and deaths in each household during the past year
  • No. of persons in each household associated with various religions






Go from " 1861 Canadian Census " to "Canadian Census - an Introduction"

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