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Instructions to Enumerators

Office of registration
Inspector General's Department
Quebec, Nov. 1852.

Excerpted from David P. Gagan, "Enumerator's Instructions for the Census of Canada, 1852 and 1861", Histoire sociale/Social history, Vol. VII, No. 14 (November 1974): 355-365.

Page 356, Footnote 2: "I am grateful to Mr. Dan Brock for drawing the 1851 instructions to my attention.  An original is in the William Cambers Papers, Special Collections, University of Western Ontario Library".

[p. 359]

[Introduction to the enumerator is not presented here.]

Col. 1 - You will take the name of every person who sojourned in the house on the night of Sunday, the 11th of January, as well as strangers who are members of the family, and also those members of the family who are temporarily absent, but whose usual residence it is.

Col. 2 - Enter the TRADES, PROFESSIONS and CALLINGS of each person, being careful to note that where a son works for the benefit of his parent, he is to be noted -- if the parent be a farmer, as a labourer, but if his parent be of a trade, then of the same trade or calling.

Col. 3 - The BIRTH PLACE of each person: you will here note that those born of Canadian parents are to be marked with an F.


* "Name the religious denomination they call themselves -- "No Religion" only when they don't believe in a Revelation..." [Hand-written notation of enumerator].


Col. 5 - When a person chanced to stay in a house on the night of the 11th of January, you are to mark if possible the place where his usual residence is: in very many cases this will be impossible, and you are then to write the word "UNKNOWN" in the column.

Col. 6 - The age of each person, next birthday.

Cols. 7 and 8 - The sexes.

Col. 9 - Whether the person be married or single: widowers to be noted "Wr." and widows "W."

Cols. 10 and 11 - You will at once apprehend by the term "colored persons", is meant negroes.

Cols. 12 and 13 - Those who are actually members of the family, staying in the house on the night of the 11th of January.

Cols. 14 and 15 - Those who stopped in the house on that night, but who are not members of the family, such as travellers, lodgers, clerks, servants, etc.

Cols. 16 and 17 - Those being members of the family or usual FIXED residents, who may perchance have been absent on the night of the 11th of January.

With these columns you can easily check your returns: thus if columns 7 and 8 and the columns 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 agree each with the number of names on the sheet, you are correct, thus if the sheet give 50 names: column 7 being 31 and column 8, 19-50.

Col. 12, 14 Males
Col. 13, 10 Females
Members of family: 24

Col. 14, 10 Males
Col. 15, 7 Females
Not members: 17

Col. 16, 6 Males
Col. 17, 3 Females
Members absent: 9

[Total]: 50

Should any discrepancy appear, the error can easily be corrected.

The columns for "Deaf and dumb", "Blind" and "Lunatic" need no explanation.

Cols. 24 and 25 - By the words "attending school", not only those actually attending school at the time, but those who usually attend during some or any portion of the year, are meant to be included.

The columns for "Births" and "Deaths" refer only to year 1851 -- you will please be very particular in noting the ages of the persons that have died and where possible, the complaint or cause of death.

[End of personal enumeration. The housing information begins here]

Cols. 31, 32, 33 - In 31, the sort or kind; in 32, the number of flats or stories according to the usual custom of noting them; in 33, the number of families which occupy each house.

Cols. 34 and 35 - Houses vacant or building.

Col. 36 - All shops, stores, inns, taverns, etc.


Col. 37 - All public buildings, such as markets, prisons, court houses, public halls, etc.

Col. 38 - All places of worship, to what denomination belonging, whether held in common between two or more congregations - the material of which built, and as near as you can come to the number of persons each is capable of holding.

Col. 39 - In this column you will enter all factories of whatsoever kind -- distinguishing whether wrought by steam, water, wind or other power, as far as possible the average produce thereof per year, and where you can arrive at it, the value of property invested -- and you will please note any circumstance that may attract your attention in relation thereto.

Col. 40 - The number of hands usually employed in each.

Col. 41 - General observations.

Sheet no A. or the Personal Census, being thus completed you will proceed with B. or the Agricultural Census. In this you will observe that only the occupiers of land are to be inserted. The columns need very little explanations. Nos. 37, 38 and 39 are left blank, in order that you may insert any crop not before given. Experience has shown the great difficulty of arriving at a correct return of the various crops, you will please pay particular attention to these columns. You will take care in filling columns 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, the total of 5 and 9 should agree with the quantity given in 4 -- thus if a person holds 200 acres:

Col. 5, Cleared: 160 acres
Col. 9, Wild: 40 acres
[Total]: 200 acres

and [Cols.] 6, 7 and 8 must agree with [Col.] 5:
Land cleared: 160 acres
Under crop: 100 acres
Under pasture: 45 acres
Under gardens or orchards: 15 acres
[Total]: 160 acres

Col. 33 - The produce of HAY is to be given the usual method of the country, whether by bundles or tons.

The several columns of this return are to be added up previous to their being delivered to the Census Commissioner. In column 55 you will make such remarks as you think best, in regard to the nature of the soil, how watered, general value of the land, etc.


[Closing remarks to the enumerator are not presented here]