Documents & Records
1901 Census of Canada
The 1901 census was held on March 31, 1901. Important additions to the information collected in the 1881 and 1891 censuses included month, date and year of birth, year of immigration to Canada, and year of naturalization.
In the 1901 federal census, personal information about each enumerated individual was recorded under the following column headings:
- Name of each person in family or household on 31st March, 1901
- Relationship to head of family or household
- Single, married, widowed or divorced
- Month and date of birth
- Year of birth
- Age at last birthday
- Country or place of birth
- Year of immigration to Canada
- Year of naturalization
- Racial or Tribal origin
- Profession, occupation, trade or means of living of each person
Finding the Records
At the Vancouver Public Library
A full name index for the 1901 Census of Canada is available on the Ancestry Library Edition electronic database. Links to digitized images of original images are provided. Free access to Ancestry Library Edition is available at any location of the Vancouver Public Library. Remote access from home is not available.
The Vancouver Public Library collection includes microfilm copies of all 1901 Canadian census records. The census microfilm collection is located in Fine Arts and History on Level 6. 1901 British Columbia census records are on films T-6428, T-6429, T-6430, and T-6431.
On the microfilm reels, records are arranged by census district and subdistrict. In 1901 B.C. was divided into five census districts:
- New Westminster
- Yale / Cariboo
As in the 1881 census and 1891 census, these district names do not reflect modern B.C. political divisions. For example, the Vancouver District was on Vancouver Island, while Vancouver City was in the Burrard District.
A searchable Catalogue of Census Returns on Microfilm 1666-1901 (Library and Archives Canada) may be useful for identifying the subdistrict in which a particular city or town was located and finding it on microfilm.
Although Ancestry Library Edition (see above) is the most efficient way of searching the 1901 Canadian census, there are several options for those who are unable to visit the Vancouver Public Library or wish to research from home:
The original records of the 1901 census have been digitized and are available online. However, they are not indexed, and can only be searched geographically. The records can be accessed through the Library and Archives Canada Census of Canada, 1901 database.
A large amount of transcribed and indexed Canadian census information is freely available online. Individuals of Chinese origin have been identified in the following databases:
1901 British Columbia Census (British Columbia Genealogical Society)
A searchable index of the B.C. section of the 1901 Census of Canada.
1901 Census Victoria, British Columbia and Southern Vancouver Island (BC GenWeb)
This database provides a transcription of 1901 census records for the Victoria enumeration District and part of the Vancouver enumeration District. The area covered comprises Victoria City and southern Vancouver Island, including the communities of Port Renfrew, Sooke, Metchosin, Colwood, Langford, Oak Bay, Saanichton, Sidney and the southern Gulf Islands. The database is a browsable electronic transcription but cannot be searched. Large numbers of Chinese people lived in Division 14 (Victoria City) but many Chinese people worked as domestics and lived in their employers' homes and so were enumerated in other areas.
Index to the 1901 Census of Canada (Automated Genealogy)
Represents the efforts of a massive volunteer project aimed at transcribing and providing free access to the entire 1901 Canadian census. The records can be searched by province or through a National Surname Index. Special care needs to be taken when searching for Chinese individuals because the transcribers have not applied consistent standards when transcribing the unfamiliar names. For example, there are 685 entries for the Surname Wong in the National Surname Index, but there are also separate index headings for the surnames Wong Hong, Wong Jin, Wong Look, Wong Paw, Wong Tai, with just 1 entry each. In other cases, Wong is recorded as a Given name.
Vancouver Island 1901 Census (Malaspina University-College and the University of Victoria)
A searchable indexed transcription of the 1901 census of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.