Census of 1870, Manitoba

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How the census was collected

Manitoba joined Confederation on July 15, 1870 and a census took place in the following months. It officially began on October 27, 1870.

A total of 10 enumerators (one French-speaking and one English-speaking for each district) were appointed to coordinate the census and collect information for all people living in Manitoba (First Nations, Métis and white) according to their residence as of July 16, 1870.

Enumerators visited five districts, divided into 34 parishes (the equivalent of sub-districts). They collected information for more than 12,200 individuals.

Although Manitoba was a province when the federal census was taken in 1871, the province is not included in that federal census. The Census of Manitoba, 1870 is to be consulted when researching residents of this province for the decade from 1871 to 1881.

From paper to microfilm

The Census of Manitoba, 1870 was microfilmed in 1974 on reel C-2170. The original paper copies have been withdrawn from circulation. Researchers must view the microfilm or the digitized images.

The digitized images found on the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) website have been made by scanning the microfilms of the Census of Manitoba, 1870. As exact copies, a page that was unreadable on microfilm will also be unreadable on your computer screen.

Column headings and interpretation

Column 1. Number
A unique number was assigned to each person. The head of the family, typically the father, was assigned the first number; following consecutive members were assigned to the rest of the family members.

Column 2. Name
Entered with the given name first, then surname.

Column 3. Where resident, parish or place
Place of residence on July 16, 1870. This column also includes the gender of the person.

Column 4. Where born

  • For people born outside of Canada, the name of the country of origin (for example, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France, and so on).
  • For people born in Canada, the name of the province or territory.
  • For people born in Manitoba, the name of the place.

Column 5. Age at next birthday
Children under one year of age were listed as being "1" (one year old at next birthday).

Column 6. Name of father
Full name of the father with given name first, followed by surname.

Column 7. Half-breed (Métis)
Any person having both white and Indian blood.

Column 8. White
Those who are white, or with no admission of Indian blood.

Column 9. Indian
Includes Aboriginal people settled on land or living in houses. Aboriginal people living in tents or wandering from place to place, without a settled home, are not included.

Column 10. Married
Column 11. Single
Column 12. Widow
Column 13. Widower
Column 14. British subject
Column 15. Citizen of the United States
Column 16. French, half-breeds
Column 17. English, half-breeds
Column 18. Catholic
Column 19. Protestant

Column 20. No title indicated in the column but occasional remarks are included, such as "'absent", "wintering out", "adopted", or "illegitimate".


  • The number "1" or a downward stroke (|) was written whenever YES was the answer.
  • Ditto marks (") or "do" were used, especially to indicate the same surname within a family.


The enumeration data were collected using one document, known as a schedule, which included a total of 20 questions. Forms with English or French headings were used, depending on the language spoken by the enumerator.

No agricultural or other type of schedules exist for this census.

Instructions to  enumerators

No document providing the instructions to enumerators on how to collect the names and other information in 1870 has been located.

Issues about this census and this database

There are no outstanding issues about this census and this database.

Electoral maps

No electoral maps were created for this censu


Further research

  • Surname Index to the 1870 Census of Manitoba and Red River compiled by Eric Jonasson. (AMICUS 4356129) (Map of the parish system included.)
  • 1870 Manitoba Census by Gail Morin. (AMICUS 37432207)
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