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August 13, 2013

Library and Archives Canada Answers Questions About the 1921 Canadian Census

Library and Archives Canada Answers Questions About the 1921 Canadian Census
As most genealogists know, the 1921 Canadian Census is now online on and   It has not been indexed (yet) so researchers can only browse the images for now but Ancestry will be providing an index within a few months. The images are free to view but when the index is ready it will behind a pay-to-view wall.

Those who are not already Ancestry subscribers do need to sign up for free access but no credit card details are required. This is not the same as their 14 day free trial where credit card information is required. 

There is some controversy over Library and Archives (LAC) partnership with and many people are questioning why an American based company has Canadian records, will we see the census on LAC's website at any point, etc.

After looking around, I found the answers to many  of those questions here on Collections Canada website at Learn more about the Library and Archives Canada Agreement with It’s a very detailed explanation of the partnership deal between LAC and Ancestry.

Basically Ancestry gets to use the images while they do the indexing. The images and index are on Ancestry for 3 years then the indexes are turned over to LAC and they put the index and images online for free.

Seems like a win-win situation to me! If we waited for LAC to index we’d be waiting a very long time!

Interested genealogists can also read "LAC Answers Questions about Release of 1921 Census" on the OGS (Ontario Genealogical Society) Blog.


Celia Lewis said...

It's true that if we waited for LAC to do the indexing we'd be waiting for a long time... BUT, LAC could have crowd-sourced the indexing in the way the 1940 USA census was indexed. Imagine the excitement, the involvement of local genealogy boards and their members, etc.etc.etc. Personally, I would have been truly grateful and excited for that opportunity. Oh well.

Papa Sim said...

Is this to be an accurate index, or will it be done as I understand the 1940 U.S. census was? Most of us know what a mess some parts of it are. I have read that it was did mostly (maybe totally) by hired Asians, many who had a poor command of the English language and were not very familiar with American names. Also, there are still many images missing.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

THe 1940 US Census was indexed by volunteers. It is FREE on FamilySearch website.

Ancestry's index will be behind a pay wall and thus they will NOT use volunteers. They hire indexers.

If a company uses volunteers they do not charge a fee to users. If a company pays $ for work done (indexing for example) they do charge a fee to users

Papa Sim said...

In answer to Lorine:
As the original blog was referring to that is also what I was referring to. I know that familysearch used volunteers in the U. S. for their indexing of the 1940 census. Perhaps that is why they may have some, but not as many, missing images, and fewer transcription errors. I'm not knocking, it is a very good site. But in a rush to have the first complete index online I think they simply got a little sloppy.