OntarioGenWeb Census Project FAQ
Welcome to our FAQ area. We’ve endeavoured to answer as many questions as we can here that relate to our website.

If you’re seeking help with your family tree, please visit OntarioGenWeb

If you have questions about volunteering, please see our Volunteer page

FAQ’s About:

  • This project
  • Our transcriptions
  • Census research
  • FAQ's about this project

      Will the Census information always be on the OntarioGenWeb site?

        Yes. Volunteers are devoting many hours to this project and we wish to have this data remain for all to view, free of any fees or charges. OntarioGenWeb is devoted to free online information for genealogy purposes.

      Why is the Census Project not including all information?

        Our endeavour is to provide only enough information for identification and we request that our volunteers seek out the full names, ages, and origins of persons enumerated. This should be more than enough for you to identify your relations. If you seek further information (how much land they owned, what type of home they lived in, what their yearly salary was), you should seek out the original microfilm. Half the fun of genealogy is the thrill of the hunt!

      Why does the census project NOT provide scanned or hard copies of the transcriptions for volunteers?

        We do not currently have the resources to provide this service. However, we are seeking volunteers who have microfilm access to scan or make hard copies for others to transcribe. If you have this capability, please consider volunteering to be a copier.

      Is there a census for [YEAR] for [THIS AREA]?

        Check our county pages. If an Ontario census is not listed on this site we don't have any information about it. If you have information about any Ontario census that is not listed on this site, please contact us and provide details (census year, area, where this census can be found - archive/library, etc)

      What if I can't find the Township (Sub district) I wish to view?

        We offer a Township Index showing where each Township was in each census year from 1851-1911. Keep in mind that many townships may have bordered on a county line. County lines were moved frequently. It is suggested that you view nearby counties or check for a possible name change. Search the Ontario Locator and take note of the information provided on our Census Search page.

      What can I do to help this project?

        Volunteer! Any and all help is greatly appreciated regardless of where you live.
    FAQ’s about our Transcriptions

      One of your census transcriptions has my family surname spelled incorrectly, will you fix this?

        NO. Once a transcript has been proofread and placed online it cannot and will not be changed. We advise transcribers to transcribe what they see, and proofreaders to verify that they see the same thing, not what they think it could or should be. Please keep these things in mind as you are viewing the transcriptions:
      • The transcript may in fact be accurate. Not all enumerators could spell all names correctly. Please view the actual census on microfilm before assuming the transcript is wrong.
      • Spellings are not always accurate and depend on how well enumerators could spell and how they heard the surname as it was being spoken (not everyone was fluent in English). Surname spellings are also dependent upon the person giving the information - it's not uncommon for two relations to spell their shared surname differently.
      • Microfilm can be (very) difficult to read.
      • Transcribers & Proofreaders are not necessarily familiar with the families/surnames they are transcribing. They may not know that the odd looking character they see is supposed to be an 'S' instead of an 'L'. What they see is what you get!

      How can I make a correction to your census transcriptions?

        First, take note of the FAQ above - we will not correct the transcriptions. However, we do offer a corrections area where you can post your corrections. To access this area, locate the transcript and click on 'corrections'. If the census you'd like to correct does not have a correction link, corrections are not currently being accepted for that transcript so please do not send them in (wait until a correction link is available).

        If you find your ancestors in one of these transcripts, consider volunteering to proofread! Not only will you get to correct your ancestor's information yourself, but you'll also benefit from seeing what other information the microfilm has to offer regarding your ancestors (not all census columns are transcribed!)

      What are the * or ? found in your census transcriptions?

        A * or ? means that the transcriber and/or proofreader could not make out that piece of information. Transcribers and proofreaders are advised that when in doubt -- leave it out. If any question about a letter or name pops up a * or ? is put in its place. It's the job of each genealogist and researcher to see the original census for themself and decide what the * or ? stands for.

      Why are pages missing from some of the transcripts?

        Usually because they did not contain the information we request transcribers to transcribe. Some census years (1851/2 is a good example) had enumeration forms that were two pages wide. One page had the information our transcribers transcribe, the other page had ‘extras’ that you should seek out on your own. These pages were numbered consecutively, so when our transcribers have a complete transcript they will have only done odd numbered pages (1, 3, 5, etc). Other census years had the agricultural census included. So there will be a “gap” of several pages (for instances pages 1-20, then 25-30) until the personal census returned. If you are concerned that something important was missed we encourage you to view the original census on microfilm!

      What do the abbreviation(s) in the Religion column stand for?

      I don't understand the meaning of a word used in the transcriptions

    FAQ's about census research

      How do I start my census research in Ontario?

        We have included information in our Help Section to get started in Ontario census research. If you are seeking advice for genealogical research in Ontario in general, please visit the OntarioGenWeb. The Census Project site is solely for the purpose of census research and census transcription.

      What census years are available?

        1851/52, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911. For a complete list of what censuses were available for these years, please see our County Search pages or the Township Index.

      Are census records available for census years not mentioned above?

        There were localized censuses for other years (mostly prior to 1851) and some are listed on this website. Be sure to check local resources for your area of research (i.e., museums/archives/libraries) to see if there were early censuses available. And if you find one not listed on our site, please let us know so we can share the information! For more about Ontario Census's in general, please see the OntarioGenWeb Census Records page.

        Census records after 1911 are still protected by the privacy act and cannot be released until 92 years after the date of enumeration. Therefore we do not expect to see the 1921 census until 2013.

      I would like to view the original microfilm census. Where do I go to do that?

        First, check our list of online census records to see if images are viewable online. If the census you seek is not among those on the list:
      • If you’re in Canada, visit your local public, college, university or archive library; or your local LDS Family History Centre. If they have microfilm readers you can request any Ontario census microfilm to be borrowed via inter-library loan.
      • If you’re outside Canada, visit your local LDS Family History Centre.
        For more, see our information on Microfilm.

      I need help deciphering the handwriting in the census

      Need more answers?
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