Posts Tagged ‘census’

Where were your ancestors on July 1st, 1867?

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Whether it is a personal or a global phenomenon, the anniversary of a momentous event will often trigger that “where were you when…” moment of introspection.  As we approach the 145th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, have you ever pondered where you’re ancestors might have been on July 1st, 1867?  According to Statistics Canada, there were 3,463,000 people living in Canada at the time of Confederation, with an estimated 1 million in Ontario alone.  Were any of these perhaps your ancestors?  Maybe you’ve discovered a United Empire Loyalist or two in your family tree, or perhaps you just followed the census trail back to 1861, if you had ancestors who where there when Canada entered confederation, we would love to hear about them.

Did you also know that having an ancestor in Canada on July 1st, 1867 makes you an excellent candidate for membership in the Ontario Genealogical Society’s Centenary Club? Please visit our website for more details on how to get your Centenary Certificate.

We will be closed on July 2nd,

Have a safe and happy Canada Day.

Long Form Census Debate Returns

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Image: jscreationzs, link below

A few months ago, the plan to scrap the long form census was all over the media, even here at the OGS blog. The opposition to losing the long form census and replacing it with a voluntary National Household Survey was loud and full of fire, leading to the resignation of Canada’s Chief Statistician. And then, the topic seemed to disappear.

This week, the debate returns. Several media sources report that the federal Liberals have submitted details of a private member’s bill that seeks to amend the Statistics Act to include the long form census, making it mandatory once again. At the moment, the Statistics Act, only requires that a census be held and does not specify the exact nature of the census or the questions to be asked.

 The proposed bill also seeks to remove the possibility of jail time for those who neglect or refuse to fill out the census form, although it would still require that those people be fined.

The leaders of the NDP and Bloc Quebecois indicate that they would support such a bill.

Visit the following articles for more information:
Liberals tout bill to re-introduce long-form census Vancouver Sun
Opposition to fight for long-form census Winnipeg Free Press
Opposition will try to salvage census - Calgary

Image: jscreationzs /

Interview with a Volunteer: Mike More

Friday, July 30th, 2010


Without the hard work of volunteers all across the province, OGS would simply cease to exist. Volunteers are the backbone of our organization. This feature is designed to introduce you to some of them and let you know about the work they’ve been doing

Mike More  is a member of OGS and the following branches:  Ottawa, Leeds & Grenville, Quinte, Simcoe, Bruce & Grey, Niagara Peninsula and York Region.

 How long have you been involved with OGS? 
Early in 1992, I submitted an article to the Ottawa Branch news. A few month later, I was asked to take over as Membership Director.

 What hats do you wear / have you worn?
I have been Ottawa Branch: Membership Director, Vice-Chair, Chair, Past Chair as well as on the Seminar 2000 Committee and Chair of Seminar 2007 Committee. I am currently Chair of Ottawa Branch again as well as Gene-O-Rama Chair, Genealogy Week Co-Chair, on the Conference 2012 Committee and  Director Region VIII.

 What project or event has been a highlight of your work with OGS?
 The most rewarding event has been the two OGS Seminars (now known as the OGS Conference) that we hosted in Ottawa. I enjoy helping others get more out of the hobby and the OGS Conference provides a great many genealogists with advice and help.

 How did you become interested in genealogy?
When I was a teenager, my paternal grandfather showed me the family Bible with the family back to his grandparents. I found it interesting and asked some questions to other relatives and compiled some notes, mainly BMDs. The hobby was put on hold while I attended university and through much of my career but the interest was re-kindled when a friend gave me a copy of a genealogy program for the Commodore 64. I entered my old data into the program and in search of advice, found Angus Baxter’s In Search of Your Roots in the library. One of the suggestions was to join your local genealogy society and I joined OGS.

Would you like to share a favourite genealogical adventure you have had or tell us about a part of your family history that you particularly enjoyed learning?
I still remember an early visit to the then National Archives and my thrill at finding my More ancestors listed on the 1871 census. Even though I had found them quickly by using the Index to the 1871 Census book, it was exciting to see the names written more than a century before.

Many thanks to Mike for his hard work!

Len’s Expert Advice: the Census is not perfect

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Searching census records:

Census enumerations occur in specific years. In Ontario these are 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, and 1911. In the U,S the federal census was taken in the previous year: 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, but most of the 1890 census was destroyed.

Some states have state censuses half-way through the decade.

All census records are taken as of a particular date, and record what the enumerator thought he heard. They took some weeks to carry out so replies may not always be accurate for the eventual census date.

If an ancestor should be in an enumerated district, but was not enumerated, an explanation is demanded. People did get missed, but most likely they were elsewhere, and a wider search may find them.

-Len Chester

Len Chester is the Resident Genealogist at the Ontario Genealogical Society’s provincial office. He is a retired librarian and Family History Centre volunteer with over 40  years experience assisting others in conducting their genealogical research.  He is available to help you puzzle out your records. Contact him at

Making Sense of the 2011 Census controversy

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

The census is a major source of information for genealogists. In fact, it is one of the first places most of us go. It helps us track where our ancestors were and what they were doing at a given time.

 The news at the end of June that the Canadian government plans to make the long census form voluntary as of 2011 came as a bad shock to not only genealogists but many organizations which rely on census information to help them develop services and activities that meet the needs of their communities.

Here are some places you can go to inform yourself about the census and what these changes could mean for you.

The modern Canadian census is conducted every five years. The last one was in 2006. Here is some information on the questions that were asked in the long form for that census. It is the long form that the government is intending to make voluntary.

In his Statement on the 2011 Census Industry Minister, Tony Clement cites privacy concerns as the reason for the cancellation of the mandatory long forms. Some of the concerns he may be referring to are described in a speech by Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddard whose 2004 address at the Tenth Annual National Conference Organized by Privacy & American Business in Washington D.C. discussed concerns over the use of the U.S. based company Lockheed Martin to process census information. She expressed concern over Canadians’ personal information crossing borders and how this information would be used particularly with regards to the Patriot Act in the United States. Similarly, Saskatoon’s Sandra Finlay, who went to court after refusing to fill out the 2006 census cites concerns over the use of Lockheed Martin to process the census  as a motivator for her decision not to comply with law and fill out the forms.

Many organizations are demanding that the government re-instate the mandatory long form. In a letter copied to the Canadian Press,  the Statistical Society expresses concerns about the bias of information gathered from a voluntary form, and of course, news writers all across the country are reporting their opinions and the opinions of individuals and organizations.  The Quebec Inter-university Centre for Social Statistic has assembled many of these articles for you to read.

As of Wednesday, our  Chief Statistician resigned over this issue.

 Inform yourself and decide where you stand.