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August 9, 2013

Loving the 1921 Canadian Census Images Online!

Loving the 1921 Canadian Census Images Online!
Over 7 hours of scrolling page by page but I finally found my mother with her parents in the 1921 Canadian Census online on and!

Mother was four years old and listed with her middle name of Doreen instead of the name she used later in life. That was a little tidbit of information as we never knew that her parents called her anything other than Joan.

Grandpa Fuller is listed as a bookkeeper which I also found intriguing. Why? Because I suspect that being a bookkeeper in 1921 meant you were pretty good at Math. My children and I are all pretty good at Math - I taught High School Math and my kids are much better at Math than I am. They're Math whizzes. Is it genetic? I believe that DNA plays a big part in our abilities.

But the big surprise (a happy one) was finding my great-grandparents living next door! I knew they had at some point come to Canada from England with plans to stay, but that after a few years they returned to England and lived out the rest of their lives there. The census shows me their immigration year of 1920 so my next step is to search the ships passenger lists, both inbound and outbound, on Ancestry. 

See the little 8 year old boy, Walter living with his parents (my great-grandparents)? Well that's my Uncle Wally and last month he turned 101 years young! I'm going to print this census off and mail it to him.

I also found my dad and his parents in the 1921 Census which was thrilling for me. It's the first census for both my mom and dad to show up in.

It wasn't an easy search, as many of the pages are challenging. The handwriting is bad, the pen nib used was fat so there are wide strokes of ink which obscure the letter shapes, names are written on top of other names and a lot of the pages are basically scribbles and ink blotches. But I'm very happy we were given images to browse instead of having to wait for indexing. I shudder to think about the indexing project that Ancestry is taking on. I suspect genealogists will have to use lots of wildcards in their searches once that index goes online.

The page with my dad and his parents is  more legible than many that I pored over. But still challenging. For example does it say that my Grandpa McGinnis was an "oil wiper"? And was he working for the railroad? That would be news to me. I know he was with the Guelph Fire Department in 1909 and that he worked as a construction foreman in 1911. 1917 shows him working at Page-Hersey (they manufactured iron pipes) and in 1928 he worked as a carpenter.  I can see that my Uncle Clare was a driller in a factory but am just not sure about my Grandpa's place of work. So this is a nice little puzzle I'll work on. Any thoughts on "Oil Wiper" and "railroad"?

It was kind of sad to see the names of two of my dad's brothers - 13 year old Lindsay and 4 year old Frank. Lindsay died 3 years later at age 16, and little Frank died when he was 8. I often think of my poor Grandmother losing two of her sons so young.


Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing as I spent 10 hours pouring through the various Toronto census districts finding 60+ people - this index is going to be 'interesting'.

Loraine Ertelt said...

Lorine - How did you actually get to the images to look at them. Could you give us a link because I have been unable to get to images and neither have my friends.


Sherry said...

I found my family members who were living in rural areas quite quickly, but am having difficulty locating the city folks. Are you aware of an enumeration district key for the 1921 Canadian Census such as the one provided by Steve Morse for the 1940 U.S. Census? Failing this, do you have any tips for finding people in cities? I have addresses from city directories. Thanks.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Loraine -just use either of the two links provided in my blog post. Then scroll DOWN the page and look under the "NEW RECORDS ON..."

You'll see the link for the 1921 census there

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Sherry - I tried finding a City Directory for Guelph (my city of interest) for 1921 or earlier. I wanted to find out what WARD my folks were in (I knew their street)

I wasn't successful so I just did one image at a time. Perhaps you can find a city directory or voter's list for your city of interest that will guide you. I don't know of any other way


Hi Lorine

I loved reading your post. I was super excited to look over the 1921 census as well. Found my grandparents and they lived 19 'houses' away from each other on the census list.

I too have Maginnis/McGinnis in my family line. Do you have relatives from Norfolk county, originating in Nova Scotia and Northern Ireland?

Always trying to fill in gaps :)

Tara Hutchinson

Celia Lewis said...

I've spent so many hours looking for my 2 sets of grandparents, and many many Wards yet to scan through. No luck so far, but I've already found my 2nd cousin's parents/family, plus my ex-husband's father and grandparents. "They're here somewhere", I keep mumbling... Send wine.

Peg said...

Congratulations Lorraine on your tenacity ! Such a reward. I threw in the towel after two hours scrolling through rural Ireland Township districts in Megantic County. I am back to scrolling Megantic County, and searching for Cambridge and Crysler in Ontario this weekend. Scrolling, scrolling. Break out the tea !

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Celia, don't give up. I know you will find them!

Peg - thanks for the support - it's not easy but so rewarding when you find an ancestor! btw, sorry to nitpick but my name is Lorine, not Lorraine

Tara - my McGinnis came from Co. Down to Guelph area of Ontario. DNA might be the only way we might know if we share ancestors.