Census of the Prairie Provinces, 1926

This census includes Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Background

The 1926 census was the eleventh census for Manitoba and the fifth census for the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. The census officially began as of June 1, 1926. 

A total of 55 commissioners were appointed to coordinate the census effort across 54 districts divided into 3661 sub-districts or enumeration areas. As a rule, each district was under the supervision of one commissioner except for the Peace River District, which had two commissioners, one for the North and one for the South. The district was split into two sections owing to its size, widely dispersed population and difficulties in traveling through the district.
In all, 2693 enumerators, including 58 Indian agents and 22 members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, visited each of the districts and enumeration units. 

The enumerators collected information for 2,067,393 individuals distributed across three provinces as follows:

  • Manitoba (639,056)
  • Saskatchewan, (820,738)
  • Alberta (607,599)

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 1926 census. As a result, only a microfilm copy of the 1926 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 1926 census. As exact copies, a page that was unreadable on microfilm will also be unreadable on your computer screen. Title pages appear before each sub-district; they contain this information:

  • Census year (1926)
  • Province
  • District number and name
  • Sub-district number
  • Sub-district name and/or description
  • Number of pages in the sub-district. The pages are not always ordered consecutively and in some cases may not exist.

These records (archival reference number R233-112-5-E) and those of previous censuses are described in the Statistics Canada fonds, formerly Record Group 31 (RG31). For 1926, see Mikan 5033008.

Schedules

The enumeration data were collected using three documents, known as schedules.

  • Schedule 1, Population
  • Schedule 2, Agriculture
  • Schedule 3, Animals and Animal Products, etc., not on farms

Only Schedule 1 has been preserved.

Street indexes

For Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg, a street index was created by Statistics Canada after the taking of the 1926 census. The index can be used to quickly find in which sub-district or division a specific street, avenue or institution has been enumerated. See Censuses – Street Indexes.

Instructions to enumerators and statistics

Instructions to enumerators were given on how to collect the names and other information. You can read these instructions in the publication Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, 1926: Instructions to Commissioners and Enumerators PDF 2.21 MB

Statistical information can be found in the  published report: Census of Prairie Provinces, 1926: population and agriculture, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta. PDF 67.13 MB

About the database

This research tool contains 2,016,311 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 1926 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 1926 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
    • Sub-District 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."

    Try a simple search first. You don't have to put something in every field. See also Research tips.

    Keywords

     Search all fields, alone or in combination. An example of a keyword would be a place name.

    Surname and given name(s)

    Search by name of person. See Research tips for help with using the * wildcard and name variations.

    Age

    • Enter numerical values only
    • For children, fractions were sometimes used (for example, for 2 months, "2/12" was indicated). For this index, fractions were rounded down to the nearest year.

    Province

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

    District name

    District number

    Sub-district number

    • Assigned by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics
    • Unique value within a census district
    • Can be used with a district name or number to quickly retrieve results
    • To determine a valid term, consult the 1926 Census Districts and Sub-districts

    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
    • Item number
    • Surname
    • Given Name(s)
    • Age
    • Province
    • District Name

    From here you have two options:

    • Click on the underlined item number of a person to access the Item Page, which is a transcript of the record with the full archival reference.
    • 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 actual census page available in JPG and PDF formats and contains most or all of the following fields:

    • Surname
    • Given Name(s)
    • Gender
    • Age
    • Ethnic Origin
    • Year of Immigration
    • Marital Status
    • Relationship
    • Province
    • District Name
    • District Number
    • Sub-District Name
    • Sub-District Number
    • Sub-District Description
    • Family Number
    • Line Number
    • Page Number
    • Reference
    • Item Number (unique number assigned to each entry in the database)

    To suggest a correction to indexing errors, click on the "Suggest a Correction" link.

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

    To move between images see the instructions under Issues about this census and this database.

Column headings and interpretation

In 1926, the census form did not include questions about occupation or religious denomination.

For more information about what information was supposed to be recorded, see Instructions to enumerators.

  • Columns 1 to 25

    Number in the order of visitation

    Column 1. Dwelling house
    A count of the houses, numbered in the order visited by the enumerator.

    Column 2. Family, household or institution
    A count of the family or household. Two or more families that occupied the same house were to be numbered separately.

    Name and residence

    Column 3. Name of each person in family, household or institution.

    Place of abode

    In rural localities, give parish or section, township, range and meridian. In cities, towns and villages, use space in columns 4, 5, 6 and 7 to write name of street and number of dwelling.

    • Column 4. Section
    • Column 5. Township
    • Column 6. Range
    • Column 7. Meridian
    • Column 8. Municipality (This may be urban or rural.)

    Personal description

    Column 9. Relationship to head of family or household

    • The head of the family or household was entered as "head" and the other members with their relationship to the head (for example, wife, son, daughter, servant, boarder, lodger, partner).
    • People in an institution were described as officer, inmate, patient, prisoner, pupil, etc. The chief officer of the institution was designated through his/her proper title (for example, warden, superintendent or principal).

    Column 10. Sex
    Denoted by "m" for male and "f" for female.

    Column 11. Single, married, widowed, divorced or legally separated
    Denoted by the letter "s" or "c" for single/célibataire, "m" for married, "w" or "v" for widowed/veuf/veuve, "d" for divorced or "l.s." for legally separated..

    Column 12. Age at last birthday

    • For people one year of age and over, the number of years completed before June 1, 1926.
    • For children under one year of age, fractions were used (for example, for 2 months, "2/12" was indicated).

    Place of birth

    • For people born in Canada, the name of the province or territory.
    • For people born outside of Canada, the name of the country (for example, England, Norway, Japan, etc.). The state, region or city was to be given only for those born in Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia and Turkey, as they were before the war (for example, Croatia, Bohemia, Prague).
    • These instructions are valid for columns 13, 14 and 15.

    Column 13. Person

    Column 14. Father

    Column 15. Mother

    Race and citizenship

    Column 16. Racial or tribal origin
    The racial or tribal origin was usually traced through the father, with the exception of Indigenous peoples, whose origin was through the mother.

    Column 17. Year of immigration to Canada

    • The year in which the person first moved to Canada from another country.
    • Also applies to Canadian-born persons who had lived in another country and returned to Canada.

    Column 18. Year of naturalization

    • For persons who were born in a country outside the United Kingdom or any of its dependencies, the year in which they attained full citizenship.
    • If a person had applied for papers, but not yet reached the full status of citizenship, the abbreviation pa (for papers) was used.

    Column 19. Citizenship (Country to which this person owes allegiance)

    • "Canadian" for every person who had acquired rights of citizenship by birth or naturalization. This included people born in the United Kingdom or any of its colonies who were permanently residing in Canada.
    • For Non-Canadians, the country of their birth or the country to which they professed allegiance.
    • A married woman was to be reported as of the same citizenship as her husband.
    • A foreign-born child under 21 years of age was to be reported as of the same citizenship as his or her parents.

    Language

    Column 20. Can speak English
    Yes or no.

    Column 21. Can speak French
    Yes or no.

    Column 22. Mother tongue
    Give the language commonly used in the home.

    Education

    Column 23. Can read
    Yes or no.

    Column 24. Can write
    Yes or no.

    Column 25. Months at school since September 1, 1925
    The number of months the child attended school between September 1, 1925 and June 1, 1926.

Common abbreviations

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

  • Other abbreviations

    Gender

    • M (Male)
    • F (Female)

    Marital status

    • S (Single)
    • C (Célibataire)
    • M (Married)
    • W (Widow / Widower)
    • V: Veuf / Veuve (Widow / Widower)
    • D (Divorced)
    • L.S. (Legally separated)

Issues about this census and this database

  • Within each District, each Sub-district is identified by unique number. Each one also has a Sub-district Name and/or a Sub-district Description. The descriptions are usually for rural areas and cities. Examples:
    • In District 27, the name of Sub-district 51 is Keeler Village. There is no description.
    • In District 45, Sub-district 68 does not have a Sub-district Name. It only has a Sub-district Description: Township 46 in ranges 16, 17 and 18, west of the fourth meridian
    • In District 14, the name of Sub-district 22 is Winnipeg. The Sub-district Description is Polling Subdivision No. 22. Comprising the area bounded as follows: On the north by Bannerman Avenue; on the south by St. John's Avenue; on the west by McGregor Street; and on the east by Salter Street
  • Our Land Grants of Western Canada database includes a description of the Western land system and a map showing townships, ranges and meridians.
  • To move to the next image, change the e-number in the URL (address) box at the top of the screen. 
    For example, change from e011223971 to e011223972
  • For different search functions and page-turning options see the FamilySearch database under Other resources and indexes.
  • 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.
  • Some census records have not survived. Consult the list of 1926 Census Districts and Sub-districts to find out what sub-districts are missing.

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

Indexes

The 1926 census database was created in partnership with FamilySearch. Volunteer genealogists indexed the records. You can search the 1926 census on that free website: Canada Census, 1926

  • If you have not used FamilySearch before, you will need to sign up for a free account. This is not the same as a "trial" subscription. You will not be asked for financial information.
  • The FamilySearch version of the database automatically searches for name variations. For example, if you enter the name Peter, you may also get results for Pedro, Pierre, Petko, Piotr, Peder, etc. If you enter Anne, you may also get results for Annie, Nancy, Anya, Anna, Hannah, etc.
  • When you open an image, you can use the arrows to move to the preceding or following page.
  • Instead of searching by name, you also have the option of browsing through the images by District and sub-district.

City directories

Peel's Prairie Provinces: Henderson's Directories

Maps

Census districts were based on the federal electoral districts, which were determined by the Redistribution Act of 1924. The district boundaries can be seen in these electoral district maps:

Federal Electoral Districts of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta (1924)

Federal Electoral Districts of Southern Alberta (1924)

Federal Electoral Districts of Northern Alberta (1924)

Federal Electoral Districts of Manitoba (1924)

Federal Electoral Districts of Saskatchewan (1924)

To see a map of a specific district, consult the full set of digitized electoral district maps (Mikan 204320).

Other maps

Street map of the City of Edmonton, 1924

Map of the City of Calgary, 1930

Peel's Prairie Provinces

Credit

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

How to obtain copies

You can print the JPG or PDF images or save the images onto your computer. Please do not submit copy requests because we do not provide copies of census records that are already digitized online.

The 1926 census is only available in digitized format. Microfilm reels are not available for consultation or for purchase.

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