Search Help: Census of 1861



This research tool contains 2,948,390 records that are searchable by name. The database entries are in the original language used in the documents. This information was not translated.

Important note: Census returns for some sub-districts have not survived. Consult the list of 1861 Census Districts and Sub-districts to determine whether the records for a district or sub-district exist.

Search Screen

The search screen enables you to search by name of person or by place. The 1861 Census was enumerated by census districts and by geographic entities corresponding to sub-districts in the database. Depending on the province, the following geographic entities are used:

  • a township or city ward in Canada West and in Canada East
  • a parish in Canada East and in New Brunswick
  • a polling division in Nova Scotia
  • a lot or a royalty in Prince Edward Island

To assist with district and sub-district names, a list of 1861 Census Districts and Sub-districts is provided.

The search screen enables you to search by:

  • Keywords
  • Surname
  • Given Name(s)
  • Age
  • Province

By clicking on Hide/Show Advanced Search Options, you will also be able to search by:

  • District Name
  • Sub-District Name
  • Page Number

Enables you to search any of the fields alone or in combination.

Surname and Given Name(s)
     Enables you to search by name of person.


  • Enter numeric values only.
  • For children under one year of age, fractions were used (for example, for 2 months, "2/12" was indicated).

     Drop-down list enables you to retrieve all the returns for a specific province.

District Name

Sub-District Name

When you have entered your search terms, click on "Search". The number of hits found will be shown at the top of the results screen.

How to Interpret the Results

Your search results will be posted as a results summary list from which you will be able to obtain an item description.

Search Results Page

The search results page has a thumbnail image of the census record and displays the following information:

  • Census Year (e.g. 1861)
  • Item Number
  • Surname
  • Given Name(s)
  • Age
  • Province
  • District Name
  • Sub-District Name

From here you have two options:

  • Click on the underlined item number of a person to access the detailed description.
  • Click on either JPG or PDF to view the full image. You can print the images or save them onto your computer.

Item Page

The item page has a digitized image of the actual census page available in JPG and PDF formats and contains the following fields:

  • Surname
  • Given Name(s)
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Place of Birth
  • Religion
  • Marital Status
  • Province
  • District Name
  • Sub-District Name
  • Page Number
  • Line Number
  • Microfilm Number
  • Reference

To suggest a correction, click on the Suggest a Correction link to access an electronic form.

To return to the Search Results page, click on the Back button of your browser in the upper left corner of your screen.

How to Obtain Copies

Consult Access the Records for other options such as consulting census records on microfilms. Please do not submit copy requests because we do not provide copies of census records that are already digitized online.

Some of the original documents are difficult to read, so some information in the database may be incorrect and/or incomplete. Please note that LAC does not provide transcription and translation services. Contact your local genealogical society for assistance.

Research Tips

The Research Tips section on our main census page includes basic and advanced search tips and strategies.  There are also instructions on how to search by place.


Library and Archives Canada gratefully acknowledges the contribution of, which made this project possible.
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