How the Census Was Collected
The 1906 Census marked the first regularly scheduled collection of statistics specifically for the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. It officially began on June 24, 1906.
A commissioner was appointed to each province to coordinate the census effort. Reporting to the commissioners, enumerators were then assigned to a clearly defined area.
A total of 673 enumerators visited 22 census districts, divided into 602 enumeration area units. These units were made up of cities, towns, groups of townships, Indian reserves, and other less well-defined areas.
The enumerators collected information for 802,442 individuals, distributed as follows:
- Manitoba (359,969)
- Saskatchewan (257,577)
- Alberta (184,896)
From Paper to Microfilm
In 1955, the Dominion Bureau of Statistics was authorized by the Public Records Committee to microfilm and destroy the original paper records of the 1916 Census. As a result, only a microfilm copy of the census exists as an archival holding. The microfilming of these records was not of consistent quality and not all images are readable.
The digitized images found on the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) website have been made by scanning the microfilms of the 1916 Census. As exact copies, a page that was unreadable on microfilm will also be unreadable on your computer screen. Title pages from the microfilm have not been scanned. They contained this information:
- Census year (i.e. 1906)
- District number and name
- Sub-district number and name
- Number of pages in the sub-district. The pages are not always ordered consecutively and in some cases may not exist.
These records and those of previous censuses are described in the Statistics Canada fonds, formerly Record Group 31 (RG31).
Column Headings and Interpretation
Column 1. Number of family in order of visitation
- A count of the family or household.
- Two or more families that occupied the same house were numbered separately.
Column 2. Names of each person in family
Entered with the surname (last name) first. If applicable, a middle initial could be entered.
Column 3. Relation to head of family
- The head of the family (or household or institution) was entered as such (i.e. head), with the remaining members and their relation to the head (e.g. wife, son, daughter, servant, boarder, lodger, partner, etc.).
- Persons in an institution could be described as officer, inmate, patient, prisoner, pupil, etc.
Column 4. Sex
Denoted by “m” for male and “f” for female.
Column 5. Married, single, widowed or divorced
- Denoted by “s” (single), “m” (married), “w” (widowed) and “d” (divorced).
- Individuals who lived separately from their spouse were counted as married.
Column 6. Age
- For people one year of age and over, the age that the individual had reached on their last birthday was entered.
- For children under one year of age, the month and date of birth (e.g. Aug. 5) was entered.
Column 7. Country or place of birth
- For those born outside of Canada, the name of the country (e.g. England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France, etc.) was noted.
- For those born in Canada, the name of the province or territory was noted.
Column 8. Year of Immigration to Canada
The year in which the individual moved to Canada from another country.
Column 9. Post Office Address
For the head of the family only. However, if the person was being counted with their family under the de jure system, their other address was to be entered in this column.
Column 10. Section
The number of the section of land.
Column 11. Township
The number of the township.
Column 12. Range
The number of the range.
Column 13. Meridian
The number of the meridian.
In parishes, the parish name was entered in columns 10 and 11 (section and township) and the land was described in columns 12 and 13 (range and meridian). In cities, towns or villages the name of the street was entered in columns 10 and 11 and the number of the house or lot in column 12.
Column 14. Horses, all ages
Column 15. Milk cows
Column 16. Other horned or meat cattle, all ages
Column 17. Sheep and lambs, all ages
Column 18. Hogs and pigs, all ages
Domestic animals were to be counted wherever they were held—on farms, ranches, cities, towns, villages, etc. The entries were to be made opposite the name of the resident manager, or whoever was in charge of the farm. However, if the farm or ranch was held in company or partnership, or by a non-resident owner or leaseholder, the name of the organization was to be entered, with the name and post office address of the head office on the same line.
- M (Married)
- W (Widowed)
- S (Single)
- D (Divorced)
Provinces and Territories
- Alb. (Alberta)
- B.C. (British Columbia)
- Man. (Manitoba)
- N.B. (New Brunswick)
- N.S. (Nova Scotia)
- N.W.T. (Northwest Territories)
- O. (Ontario)
- P.E.I. (Prince Edward Island)
- Q. (Quebec)
- Sask. (Saskatchewan)
- U. (Ungava)
- Yuk. (Yukon)
- More abbreviations for places of birth in Canada
- Jan. (January)
- Feb. (February)
- Mar. (March)
- Apr. (April)
- Aug. (August)
- Sept. (September)
- Oct. (October)
- Nov. (November)
- Dec. (December)
- B.C. (Bible Church)
- C. (of) E. (Church of England)
- C. (of) S. (Church of Scotland)
- E.M.C. (Episcopal Methodist Church)
- F.C. (Free Church (Presbyterian))
- M.E.C. (Methodist Episcopal Church)
- P.C.L.P. (Presbyterian-Canada and Lower Provinces)
- P.F.C. (Presbyterian Free Church)
- R.P. (Reformed Presbyterian)
- U.P. (United Presbyterian)
- W.M. (Wesleyan Methodist)
Items to be counted as zero were to be indicated by a dash (-) or left blank.
The enumeration data were collected using two documents, known as schedules.
- Schedule 1, Population and Live Stock
- Schedule 2, Agriculture
Only Schedule 1 has been preserved.
Instructions to Enumerators
Instructions to enumerators were given on how to collect the names and other information in 1906. Those instructions can be found in Instructions to Enumerators, Canada Gazette, volume 39, 26 May 1906.
Statistical information can be found in the report Census of Population and Agriculture of the Northwest Provinces: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, 1906 published in 1907.
Issues about this Census and this Database
Some census records have not survived. Consult the list of 1906 Census Districts and Sub-districts to find out what sub-districts are missing.
The 1906 census has also been indexed on our partners’ websites:
An index can also be found on Automated Genealogy website where you can browse the indexed surnames in each district and sub-district.
No electoral maps were created for this census. However, you may consult the Electoral Atlas of Canada 1895 (archived).