Census of the Northwest Provinces, 1906

This census includes Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Background

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)
  • Read more
    • Of the 808,863 people enumerated in 1906, 444,366 claimed to have been born in Canada. Of the remainder, 122,063 listed the British Islands as their origins (and 1,499 the British possessions), 90,738 the United States, 58,546 Austria-Hungary, 34,104 Russia, 24,129 Scandinavia, 14,191 Germany, 4,925 France, 3,581 Belgium and Holland, 8,816 other countries and 1,905 claimed to have been born at sea, or did not answer the question.
    • Of the total immigrant population (364,706), 233,457 people entered Canada between 01 January 1901 and 24 June 1906.
    • The total population of the Indian Reserves was 18,629.
    • In 1906, the six largest cities in the Northwest Provinces were Winnipeg (90,153 people), Calgary (11,967), Edmonton (11,167), Brandon (10,408), Moosejaw (6,249) and Regina (6,169). The large population of Winnipeg was due to its use as a transfer point for people heading further west, and its base as an industrial and commercial centre.
    • In 1906, 30.23% of the population of the Northwest Provinces lived in urban areas - 37.76% in Manitoba, 18.80% in Saskatchewan and 31.29% in Alberta.

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 1906 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)
  • Province
  • 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).

Schedules

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 and statistics

Instructions to enumerators were given on how to collect the names and other information in 1906. Those instructions can be found starting on page 61 of the Order-in-Council  Issue of Proclamation for taking the Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta on 1906/06/24 PDF 27.8 MB (RG2, volume 908, PC1906-0887 dated 1906-05-15).

Statistical information can be found in the report Census of Population and Agriculture of the Northwest Provinces: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, 1906 (bilingual) published in 1907.

About the database

This research tool contains 802,442 records that are searchable by name. 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 1906 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 1906 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
    • District Number
    • District Description
    • Sub-District Name
    • Sub-District Number
    • Sub-District Description
    • Division Number
    • Page Number

    You can enter one or multiple search terms, all of which can be used in combination. To use the fields in combination, you should note that the default Operator is "AND."

    Keywords

    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.

    Age

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

    Province or Territory

    Dropdown list enables you to retrieve all the returns for a specific province or territory.

    District Name

    District Number

    District Description

    Assigned to areas by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics.

    Sub-District Name

    Sub-District Number

    Sub-District Description

    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. 1906)
    • Item Number
    • Surname
    • Given Name(s)
    • Age
    • Province or territory
    • District Name
    • Sub-District Description

    From here you have two options:

    • Click on the underlined item number to access the Item Page, which is a transcript of the record.
    • Click on either JPG or PDF to view the full image. You can print the images or save the images onto your computer.

    Item page

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

    • Surname
    • Given Name(s)
    • Gender
    • Age
    • Marital Status
    • Place of Birth
    • Relationship
    • Province
    • District Name
    • District Number
    • District Description
    • Sub-District Name
    • Sub-District Number
    • Sub-District Description
    • Division Number
    • Family Number
    • Page 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.

Column headings and interpretation

  • Columns 1 to 18

    Population

    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.

    Location

    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.

    Live stock

    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.

Common abbreviations

A complete list of abbreviations for places of birth in Canada is on our main census page.

Items to be counted as zero were to be indicated by a dash or left blank.

  • Other abbreviations

    Gender

    • M (Male)
    • F (Female)

    Marital status

    • S (Single person)
    • M (Married)
    • W (Widowed)
    • D (Divorced)
    • V (Veuf / Veuve / Widowed)
    • C (Célibataire / Single)

    Months

    • Jan. (January)
    • Feb. (February)
    • Mar. (March)
    • Apr. (April)
    • Aug. (August)
    • Sept. (September)
    • Oct. (October)
    • Nov. (November)
    • Dec. (December)

    Religion

    • 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)

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.
  • To move to the next image, change the jpg number in the URL box at the top of the screen. For example, for image http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e049/e001203604.jpg change the jpg number to 1203605.
  • Some of the original documents are very difficult to read. Therefore, some information in the database may be incorrect and/or incomplete. See Research tips below.

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.

Other resources and indexes

City directories

Peel’s Prairie Provinces: Henderson’s Directories

Maps

Indexes

The 1906 census has also been indexed on the following websites:

How to obtain copies

You can print the JPG or PDF images or save the images onto your computer.

Consult Access the Records for other options such as consulting census records on microfilm.

Please do not submit copy requests because we do not provide copies of census records that are already digitized online.

Credits

Library and Archives Canada gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Ancestry.ca, without which this project would not have been possible.

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