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Online Records[edit | edit source]

Introduction[edit | edit source]

A census is a count and description of the population. Censuses have been taken by the colonial, provincial, and national governments of Canada for a variety of reasons, including taxation and levying for militia service. Census records can provide family relationships, age, year of birth, description of property, religion, and place of birth. Many Canadian census records are available online.

Early Censuses[edit | edit source]

Pre-1870 Censuses[edit | edit source]

The pre-1870 census returns of Manitoba (Red River Settlement) list the heads of households and some other information such as, age, religion, country of birth, married or widowed, number of sons and daughters, and agricultural data (for example, the number of livestock, the number of buildings, and the number of acres under cultivation). Almost all of these censuses were taken by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

The Hudson’s Bay Company Archives at has census returns for the years 1827, 1828, 1829, 1830, 1831, 1832, 1833, 1835, 1838, 1840, and 1843 which are indexed. A microfilm copy for the first two hundred years of this company, 1670–1870, is on deposit at the National Archives of Canada and at the Family History Library.

The Provincial Archives of Manitoba at has census returns for the years 1832, 1833, 1838, 1840, 1843, 1846–1847, 1849, and 1856 (incomplete). These are available on microfilm at the National Archives of Canada, the Family History Library, or at local family history centers.


  • Morin, Gail, editor. Red River Settlement Censuses Index for 1827, 1828,1829,1830, 1831, 1832, 1833, 1835, 1838, 1840 and 1843. Also includes the Enumeration of the Village of Grantown or White Horse Plains and the Swampy Indian Settlement and Saulteaux Indian Settlement. Pawtucket, Rhode Island: Quentin Publications, 1998.

1870 Census[edit | edit source]

The first census of Manitoba with names of each member of the household was taken in 1870. It includes name, age, birthplace, religion, and citizenship. There is a surname index to this census.



  • Jonasson, Eric, compiler. Surname Index to the 1870 Census of Manitoba and Red River. Winnipeg: Wheatfield Press, 1981.
  • Morin, Gail, compiler. 1870 Manitoba Census. Pawtucket, Rhode Island: Quentin Publications, 2003.

National Censuses[edit | edit source]

Censuses beginning in 1871 are national censuses taken by the federal government. Most national censuses have been indexed. Indexes and links to them are listed at Library and Archives Canada.

1881 Census[edit | edit source]

The official census date was 04 April 1881, but it often took until June until it was completed. Lists the name of each person, sex and age, date if born in last 12 months, country or province of birth, religion, origin, whether married or widowed, occupation, whether going to school, infirmities, remarks, the name of the enumerator and the date the census was taken. The agricultural section does not survive.



  • Jackson, Ronald Vern, compiler. 1881 Manitoba. North Salt Lake City, Utah: Accelerated Indexing, c1986.
  • Main, Lorne W., compiler. Index to 1881 Canadian Census of Manitoba With Extensions and East Rupert’s Land. Vancouver, British Columbia: self-published, c1984.

1891 Census[edit | edit source]

Lists the name of each person, sex, age, whether married or widowed, relationship to head of the household, if not related they may be listed as a lodger, country or province of birth, if French Canadian, the place of birth of their father and mother, religion, profession/occupation/trade, whether an employee or employer, if unemployed during the week preceding the census, if an employer the average number of people employed during the year, an employer was to state the number of hands employed during the year, whether one could read and write and whether one was deaf and dumb, blind or of unsound mind, the name of the enumerator and the date the census was taken. The agricultural section does not survive.


1901 Census[edit | edit source]

Nominal[edit | edit source]

Lists the name of each person, sex, colour, relationship to head of the household, marital status, date of birth, age at last birthday, place of birth, whether born in an urban or rural location, the year of immigration, the year of naturalization, origin, nationality, religion, profession/occupation, living on own means, employer, employee, working at trade-factory or home, months employed at trade in factory or home, months employed at other occupation, earnings for trade, extra earnings, months at school in the year, can read and write, can speak English or French, mother tongue (if spoken), infirmities and the name of the enumerator and the date the census was taken.



  • The South West Branch of the Manitoba Genealogical Society has produced indexes for the following: Rural Municipalities and places: Argyle, Arthur, Blanchard and Saskatchewan, Boissevain -Boissevain village, City of Brandon, Brenda, Cameron, Clanwilliam and Harrison, Cornwallis, Daly, Allice and Birtle, Elton, Greenwood, Hamiota, Harrison, Lansdowne, Langford, Lorne, Louise, Miniata, Minnedosa, Morton, Neepawa, North Cypress/Village of Carberry, Oakland, Odanah and Town of Minnedosa, Pembina, Pipestone, Riverside, Rosedale, Rossburn and Unorganized Territories, Russell and Silver Creek, Sifton, Silver Creek, Shoal Lake and Strathclair, South Cypress, Town of Rapid City, Turtle Mountain, Wallace, Wallace/Village of Virden, Whitehead, Whitewater, Winchester and Woodworth.

Agricultural[edit | edit source]

To find your ancestor in the agricultural census you will need to note the page number and the line on the page your ancestor was listed. Then find the same sub-division in the agricultural census which is found on a separate microfilm. The listings are by page and number on the page then the location, village/city street or lot and block, the number of acres owned and rented, the number of rooms in the house the number of families living in the house, the number of other buildings, the amount of money earned in the last year and the census date.

Census of the Northwest Provinces, 1906[edit | edit source]

Starting 24 June 1906 an agricultural and population census was taken in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Manitoba was divided into the census districts of Brandon, Dauphin, Lisgar, Macdonald, Marquette, Portage La Prairie, Provencher, Selkirk, Souris and Winnipeg. The sub-districts within these districts are identified by townships and ranges, the name of the town, city or particular Indian reserve or reserve number. The questions are: name of each person, relationship to the head of the household, sex, marital status, age, country or place of birth, year of immigration to Canada and post office address. For those under one year the month and day of birth were asked. Question 10 asks for the location of each family. This is either as section, township and range in the rural areas or name of street and house or lot number for urban areas. Questions about livestock included the number of horses, milk cows, other horned or neat cattle, sheep and lambs, hogs and pigs.


On microfilm at the Archives of Manitoba and available through an interlibrary loan at your local library from the Library and Archives Canada. Digitised images of the 1906 census are online at the LAC website.

Census of the Prairie Provinces, 1916[edit | edit source]

Other Census Records[edit | edit source]

  • Baldwinson, Baldwin L. The 1891-92 Census of Icelanders in Canada: with an introduction and index by Eric Jonasson. Winnipeg: Wheatfield Press, 1980.
  • Dyck, John and William Harms, editors. 1880 Village Census of the Mennonite West Reserve. Winnipeg: Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society, 1998.[1]

Census Substitutes[edit | edit source]

Any documents that contain lists of people can serve as census substitutes. These lists are particularly important for those searching for ancestors who are not found on official census lists that are currently available for public viewing.

Inventory of Archival Material[edit | edit source]

An invaluable resource for those searching for census substitutes in Manitoba is the inventory that was prepared by three faculty members at Brandon University. With a grant from the Manitoba Heritage Foundation they identified archival records in public and private collections throughout Western Manitoba, Eastern Manitoba and the Eastern Interlake area. The results of their findings are published in four volumes. There are listings for 63 communities in Western Manitoba and 73 communities in Eastern Manitoba. The collections are arranged by the following categories:

  • agriculture and associated organizations
  • archives, libraries and museums
  • businesses and business organizations
  • community clubs
  • community history books
  • family records and private collections
  • health care organizations 
  • military organizations
  • rural municipalities and local government districts
  • towns, villages, municipal documents
  • newspapers
  • other publications
  • school divisions
  • schools
  • service clubs and organizations
  • sport/recreation clubs
  • miscellaneous

Guides[edit | edit source]

  • Coates, K.S. and J.C. Everitt, W.R. Morrison, Kempthorne, Roberta, editors. Inventory of Archival Material in Western Manitoba. 3 volumes. Brandon, Manitoba: Brandon University Press, 1987-1989.
  • Everitt, J.C. and Roberta Kempthorne, editors.Inventory of Archival Material Volume IV. Eastern Manitoba. Brandon, Manitoba: Brandon University Press, 1991.

Assessment and Tax Rolls[edit | edit source]

Compiled on a local basis and generally still found in the local community. Many municipal records have been deposited in the Archives of Manitoba and are available on microfilm for loan and purchase. The rolls are useful to find who the land and property owners were along with the legal land description. The pre-1906 records help you to find census records. All years help you to use the records in the Land Titles Office. The Inventory of Archival Material in Western Manitoba and The Inventory of Archival Material in Eastern Manitoba has lists of which communities retain their assessment and tax rolls along with the years that survive.

School Registers[edit | edit source]

The lists of the schools and their school district numbers are found in the beginning of each copy ofInventory of Archival Material in Western or Inventory of Archival Material in Eastern Manitoba. Check the community list to see if any registers are retained in the community. The Archives of Manitoba has a list of the school district names and numbers. There is a microfilm copy of theManitoba Department of Education, Half-yearly Attendance Reports 1915-1980. These records provide the student’s name, grade, age and attendance as well as the teacher’s name and classification. Check the list of microfilm available for loan or purchase for details.

Voters Lists[edit | edit source]

Voters lists enable the researcher to learn where eligible voters were living when the lists were prepared. The lists only have the name, address and occupation. There are local, provincial and federal lists but not all are necessarily available for public viewing.

Municipal Elector Lists[edit | edit source]

Municipal elector lists may be found in the municipal office. The following lists are found on microfilm at the Archives of Manitoba and are available for purchase and loan.

  • Blanchard Municipality, 1923-1970; 1980-1983
  • Louise Municipality, 1923-1983
  • Rosser Municipality, 1906- 983

Federal Voters Lists 1935-1979[edit | edit source]

The Federal Voters lists from 1935-1972 and the By-elections to 1979 are available on microfilm through interlibrary loan from the National Archives of Canada. Finding Aid RG 113-1.

Microfilm Registers of the Lists of Eligible Electors Beginning From the 18th General Election has the microfilm numbers. The book, Federal Voters Lists in Western Canada 1935-1979, lists the electoral districts for each election along with the microfilm number and the pages that each district is found on. The book also has an excellent history for how the enumeration was carried out over the years.

If you wish to find out what the boundaries were for each elector district from 1935-1979 you can do this at the Parliament of Canada website, under the Site Map look for House of Commons- historical. If an ancestor served as a member of parliament there will be biographical information and a picture.

National Registration[edit | edit source]

There was compulsory registration for all persons age 16 years and older from 1949-1946. The exceptions were active members of the armed forces, cloistered nuns, inmates of prisons, penitentiaries and asylums. All respondents were issued with an identification card. The questions on the registration form include: name, address, age, date of birth, country of birth of the person registering and that of his or her parents, conjugal condition, number and relationship of any dependents , nationality, racial origin, year of immigration and year of naturalization, languages spoken, education, general health, occupation, work experience with a special section on knowledge of farming and previous military service. Not all questions were always answered.

Copies of the forms still exist with Statistics Canada. Those who wish to obtain a copy of a registration need to complete an “Application and Authorization for a Search of Census and 1940 National Registration Records.” To obtain a copy:

Statistics Canada, Census Pension Searches Unit
B1E-34, Jean Talon Building
Tunney’s Pasture
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0T6
Telephone 1-800-263-1136
Email: There is a fee.

Guides[edit | edit source]

  • Leitch, Susan R. “1940 National Registration.” Saskatchewan Genealogical Society 34 (March 2003.)
  • Althea, Douglas. “World War II and National Registration-1940.” Here be Dragons, too! More navigational hazards for the Canadian family researcher. Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 2000. Page 71-72.

Surveys[edit | edit source]

Throughout the history of Manitoba various organizations have developed questionnaires which can serve as census substitutes. An example of one such survey is:

United Farm Women of Manitoba[edit | edit source]

This survey was conducted in 1922 to learn about farm women’s lives in Manitoba. The questions range from information about the size of the farm and house, the amenities within the house, household accounts, hired help and the number of children at home.

Availability[edit | edit source]

The Survey of Farm Homes 1922 is found in the Archives of Manitoba as MG 10 E 1, Box 12.

Guide[edit | edit source]

  • Findlay, Thelma Weslak. “United Farm Women of Manitoba.”Generations: The Journal of the Manitoba Genealogical Society 14 (June 1989).[2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Hanowski, Laura. "Manitoba Censuses (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),
  2. Hanowski, Laura. "Manitoba Census Substitutes (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),