Search Help: Census of Canada, 1871, Ontario, heads of household


The Federal Census of 1871 (Ontario Index) database contains 404,524 references to persons who were enumerated in Ontario in 1871. This nominal index was compiled by volunteers from the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) in 1986.

Individuals that were indexed in this database fall under one of the following three categories:

  • Heads of households
  • Strays: people with a different surname living in the household, such as a parent-in-law or a domestic servant
  • People who had died during the previous twelve months

The database entries are in the original language used in the documents. This information was not translated.

Search Screen

The search screen enables you to search by name of person or by place. The 1871 Census was enumerated by census districts and sub-districts, and the records were compiled accordingly. Therefore, knowledge of the districts and sub-districts is of value in locating either an individual or a geographic location.

To assist with district names and sub-district descriptions, a list of 1871 Census Districts and Sub-districts for the province of Ontario is provided.

The search screen enables you to search by:

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

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

  • District Name
  • District Number
  • Sub-District Name
  • Sub-District Number
  • Page Number


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

Surname and Given Name(s)

 Search by name of person.


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

District Name

District Number

Sub-District Name

Sub-District Number

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. 1871)
  • Item Number
  • Surname
  • Given Name(s)
  • Age
  • District Name
  • Sub-District Name

Click on the underlined item number of the person that is of interest to you to access the detailed description.

Item Page

The item page contains the following fields:

  • Surname
  • Given Name(s)
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Place of Birth
  • Religion
  • Ethnic Origin
  • Occupation
  • Notes
  • District Name
  • District Number
  • Sub-District Name
  • Sub-District Number
  • Division Number
  • Page Number
  • Microfilm Number
  • Reference

Information about strays and people who had died in the previous twelve months can be found in the Notes.

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

To view an image of the original census, consult the Census of Canada, 1871 database.

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 very difficult to read. Therefore, 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 Ontario Genealogical Society without which this project would not have been possible.

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