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October 24, 2012

Finding an Ancestor in Early Ontario Records Before 1869

Fred wrote to Olive Tree Genealogy with quite a few questions about his ancestors who were in "Canada West" between 1856 and 1863.

Ask Olive Answered: Fred, first things first. Hopefully you looked it up and discovered that "Canada West" is present day Ontario. So you need to find early Ontario records for your family.  Before being called Canada West it was called Upper Canada.

1861 Census Canada West
Example of 1861 Census
Second: There is no 1860 census for Canada. Canada did not exist as a country until Confederation in 1867 and thus the first census for Canada is 1871. The census prior to 1871 was 1861 (not 1860) and consists of records for the 5 provinces of that time.

Unfortunately not all of the 1861 returns survived. For a  list of the missing returns, see Ontario GenWeb Census Project.  As well, many surviving records are badly faded and could not be indexed,  so a search on might not find a name even though a record survived. You would have to do a page by page search of the images in hopes of spotting your ancestors' names.

Continue reading at Finding an Ancestor in Early Ontario Records Before 1869

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