The site is free for all to use and is part of the agreement that was signed two years ago with Ancestry.ca.
The 1891 Census marks the third regular collection of census in Canada. The other two (1871 & 1881 Census) were the first censuses taken after Canada became a country in 1867, and where it was deemed necessary that a census be taken after 10 years.
Canada — at the time of the 1891 census — consisted of the provinces of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, and the North-West Territories (which, at the time, covered much of the northern parts of modern-day Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut).
The population of Canada (4,833,239) was counted as it existed on April 5, 1891 in Schedule 1 of the census form. Only Schedule 1 remains out of the eight schedules once available, and it gives a nominal list of the people.
There are 25 columns in the census, asking such questions as how many people lived in the house, and their relationship to the head of the house.
Column 12 asked the people if they were French-Canadian. and this was used to try to ascertain how many people were French-Canadian, and what provinces they lived in.
The county or province of birth of both the father and the mother was asked, as was their Profession, Occupation, and Trade.
It also asked their religion, and since there were so many religions in the country at that time (the census lists over twenty denominations), the enumerators were asked to be very careful in writing down exactly what was said.
I just took a minute to check on the one relative I had out in Winnipeg at that time - Joseph and Mary Hogg. They were there living in Western Canada at that time - in Winnipeg in 1891.
Mary Webster was from Kentville, Nova Scotia and had married Rev. Joseph Hogg, a Presbyterian minister. In 1891, they lived with their four daughters and one servant in Ward 5 of the city.
There is a new feature that the Library and Archives Canada has put together on their website for this census: you can leave your comments on the "Comments Page".
They plan to launch this useful webpage on a wider scale in the next few months.
For more information, please contact the Library and Archives Canada at firstname.lastname@example.org.