May 20, 2015

Finding Ancestors on 1851 Agricultural Census Canada

Previously I talked about the 1861 Agricultural Census for Ontario and the goof that made when bringing it online.
Why search for ancestors in an Agricultural Census? These records provide details of exact location of land, type of farming, house lived in, livestock and more. doesn't appear to have the 1851 or 1871 Agricultural Census schedules (at least they are not easily found!) but there's good news!

In 2011 I talked about how to go directly to the Agricultural census on Collections Canada. That was a great database and search engine, much better than the new one on Library and Archives Canada. But it no longer exists. You must now search for ancestors in the 1851 Agricultural census at Library and Archives Canada. 

1. Select Canada West (Ontario) from the drop down list for Province/Colony.

2. To narrow your search by township or county (or both) simply add them as keywords. 
Be very careful using this search engine! It is unforgiving. For example if your ancestor's name was recorded as "Thos." (for Thomas) on the original census page, searching for "Thomas" will give you ZERO hits. 
It is best to use wildcards, for example "Tho*" allows for abbreviations and full name. 
I had ancestors in Flamboro Township in Wentworth County in 1851 so I entered keywords "flamboro wentworth" and got 3 hits. Each hit has a list of available images. All I needed to do was start at the first image and begin looking.

Here's an example of what one page of the 1851 Agricultural Census looks like. The graphic used here is blurry but the original is crystal clear.
So don't be afraid to give this a try in your search for more details of an Ontario ancestor.


Janice Nickerson said...

Great reminder that there's more to the census than the nominal pages! I love reading about my ancestors' livestock and crops - and comparing them to their neighbours to see how typical their farm was.

Dianne Nolin said...

Yes these are great! Also the 1861. I found them easier on Ancestry by typing "Agricultural" in the Keyword box of the search form, and check the exact box. They are usually at the end of the regular census.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Hi Dianne

Yes Ancestry has the 1861 but unless they've made changes, they do not have the second page which goes with the first. So it's incomplete.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Janice, it really is great seeing our ancestors in context - as real people working their farms and tending animals.

I loved finding that one of my ancestors had quite a large bee industry going!

Dianne Nolin said...

I was disappointed mine didn't produce any maple syrup, but his neighbours did, so hopefully they shared. *smile*