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Some Good Fortune with the 1871 Census of Ontario

By Daniel Hubbard | August 5, 2009

Awhile back I got a pleasant surprise. I had ordered a microfilm roll from the 1871 census of Ontario and got more than I realized that I would. I knew that the family I was interested in was on the roll but what I hadn’t realized is that the roll contained not just the population schedule that I wanted but all the schedules for the district. I was able to look at real estate information, vehicles, pigs and even pounds of butter.

Census enumerations often consist of more than just the population schedules of which genealogists make such heavy use. There might have been agricultural schedules that detailed the size of a farm, the number of animals and the types of crops grown. There might have been manufacturing schedules that gave details about such things as business information from products to materials used, both their type and value and types of machinery used. Their might be social statistics schedules that detail an ancestor’s community- schools, the churches, crime, property values… All these are very useful for adding context but can also give important clues; perhaps allowing the researcher to tell the difference between people of the same name in the same place.

Some US census schedules other than population:
agricultural 1850, 1860, 1870
business 1935
manufacturing 1810 (part of the population schedule, no standard format, very spotty recording), 1820, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
mortality 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
slave 1850, 1860 (kept separate from the schedules listing free people)
social statistics 1850, 1860, 1870
veterans 1890 (in principle Union service only but Confederate veterans as well as veterans of other wars also may be listed)

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