Canadian Genealogy

Census Records in Ontario

What's Available and Where to Find it

by Lorine McGinnis Schulze

The first general Ontario census was taken in 1842, 1848 and 1851 but not all survive. There are scattered returns prior to 1842 but each area took its own census. Some areas have census records as early as 1783. Censuses up to 1850 are heads of household only.

The censuses after 1851 which are available to the public were taken in 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901. They provide information on all household members - name, age, gender, country of birth, religion, ethnic origin, occupation, marital status and education.

The 1871 census for all of Ontario has been indexed by heads of household, and is available as a searchable database at the National Archives of Canada. Choose their ArchiviaNet search engine and the 1871 census database.

Ontario Census records are available on microfilm from either the Ontario Archives, the National Archives of Canada on ILL, or from your nearest FHC.

You may view a list at of1851 returns that have been indexed and are available through ILL.

Please see the Post 1901 Census Project (Protect Canadian Census Records From Destruction) for important information on the dangers facing the Canadian census records

Search the online Ontario Census databases at on the Olive Tree Genealogy

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