1901 Census of Norfolk
Last updated: 08 Aug 2016
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1901 Census of Norfolk County 
(progress report below)
by webmaster John Cardiff

Canada's fourth national census, conducted in the spring of 1901, recorded the status of all residents as of 31 Mar 1901. This was the first time Canada's national census asked for specific date of birth, making it an extremely useful tool for genealogy researchers.

The original handwritten census pages survive and have been microfilmed. Copies of these microfilms were released to the public domain in the early 1990s and today are available in many libraries and archives, and are available on inter-library loan for inspection. 

Many genealogy centres, such as the Norfolk Historical Society have transcribed and indexed subsets of this census and offer their printed transcriptions for sale at modest prices. (These transcripts typically transcribe only "key" data for those residing in a particular town or township.)

The Government of Canada has also put the entire 1901 Census online at: Census of Canada, 1901. There is no charge to access that web site, so those prepared to do their own transcribing of an un-indexed, handwritten resource, organized only geographically, can have at it whenever they like. 

One word of warning, however: for most -- particularly those who do not know precisely where their ancestors resided -- reading microfilmed handwritten records of people you are not interested in can eat up a lot of time and energy. Think of it as looking for a needle in a haystack.

In theory, a better solution can be found at Automated Genealogy, a web site that asks volunteers to transcribe and proof-read each page of microfilmed census. Transcriptions are much easier to read, online or off.

Unfortunately, Automated Genealogy's transcriptions have not been surname indexed, so their transcriptions seem like another (albeit easier to navigate) haystack. 

The quality of Automated Genealogy's transcriptions varies with the skill of their volunteers, who too often don't seem to know the names they are transcribing the way local volunteers at the Norfolk Historical Society did. This is the value-added that local transcribers bring to the table.

It is confusing enough when the census-taker got the name (and/or other data) wrong. Complicating that with iffy transcriptions can leave genealogy researchers scratching their heads.

Hopefully, that's where we can help. Not for all of Canada mind you, just Norfolk County. In July 2008 we began to s-l-o-w-l-y review both districts of the 1901 census that collectively cover Norfolk County. Sub-district by sub-district (typically a town or township) we will be analyzing each line of each page, and posting subsets of our transcription of the microfilmed data to the B-M-D Etc.

Armed with our indexed subsets of the data, genealogy researchers should find it much easier to find the same folks in the Automated Genealogy data subset, and from there review the source microfilm for themselves. All online, all for free, in just minutes.

One small word of caution: the subsets you'll find here are not exact transcriptions of each entry. We have changed newborn ages from fractions of a year to the corresponding number of months. Wives, daughters, nieces, sisters, mothers and mothers-in-law are assumed to be female. Single women are sometimes titled "Miss." Sons, fathers, fathers-in-law, nephews and sons-in-law are assumed to be male. 

Questionable transcriptions appear in [square brackets], accurately recorded nonsense responses deemed questionable are followed by [sic]. A Jones residing in a Smith household is indexed twice: once under Smith and once under Jones.

A Blume family was enumerated as Bloom. We recorded them as Bloom [sic] but filed the entry under Blume. A Winter family was enumerated as Winters. We recorded them as Winters [sic] but filed their entry under Winter. A Sebring family was enumerated as Sebering. We recorded them as Sebering [sic] but filed them under Sebring. Delhi's enumerator spelled every instance of Mabel "Mable." We recorded it as Mable [sic]. 

Sarah Heal, the enumerator for Windham:3, recorded middle initials as first initials. We corrected that, acknowledging doing so may have introduced errors. We chose the lesser of two evils to make our B-M-D Etc. Index as accurate as possible.

Several abbreviations have been written out in full: S-in-L became son-in-law, canning f. hand became canning factory hand, or canning f[actory] hand. Which is why we recommend comparing our transcription to the scan of the hand-written original.

The birth date provided in the 1901 Census does not always agree with the birth date provided on the same person's cemetery stone, obituary, death notice, or death registration. We recommend thoroughly checking the entire historical record.

From the 7 Feb 1901 Waterford Star, page 8:
"Young man, if are in the home of your sweetheart at 12 o'clock on the night of Sunday, March 31, the census enumerator will put you down as a steady boarder in the house."

             Progress -- summary records transcribed to date: 
            823  Delhi people
            546  Middleton:1 people
            562  Middleton:2 people
            565  Middleton:3 people
            452  Townsend:1 people
            544  Townsend:2 people
            421  Townsend:3 people
            427  Townsend:4 people
            426  Townsend:5 people
            516  Townsend:6 people
            523  Waterford:1 people
            681  Windham:1 people
            496  Windham:2 people
            610  Windham:3 people
            503  Windham:4 people
539 Charlotteville:1 people
473 Charlotteville:2 people
568 Charlotteville:3 people
427 Charlotteville:4 people
478 Charlotteville:5 people
540 Houghton:1 people
435 Houghton:2 people
581 Houghton:3 people
429 Port Dover:1 people
657 Port Rowan people
610 Simcoe:1 people
638 Simcoe:2 people
357 Simcoe:3 people
423 North Walsingham:1 people
496 North Walsingham:2 people
432 North Walsingham:3 people
446 South Walsingham:1 people
534 South Walsingham:2 people
493 Woodhouse:1 people
594 Woodhouse:2 people
1901 Census Districts covering Norfolk County
93 Norfolk North 94 Norfolk South
     Delhi                  1/1 sub-district      Charlotteville               5/7 sub-districts
     Middleton       3/5 sub-districts      Houghton                       2/4 sub-districts
     Townsend       6/9 sub-districts      Port Dover                     1/2 sub-districts
     Waterford       1/2 sub-districts      Port Rowan                    1/1 sub-district
     Windham        4/7 sub-districts      Simcoe                              3/5 sub-districts
     Walsingham North       3/5 sub-districts
     Walsingham South       2/4 sub-districts
     Woodhouse                   2/4 sub-districts
0/7 = First number is the quantity transcribed and added to B-M-D Etc. so far. 
Second number is the quantity of sub-districts in the original source document for that community.

Among the 1901 Census headings included in our subset:

       Relationship to head of household
       Marital status
       Birth date
       Age as of last birthday
       Place of Birth

Headings occasionally included: 
       Year of Immigration to Canada

Among the 1901 Census headings usually not included in our subset:
       Number of dwelling house
       Number of family
       Racial Origin
       Employer or Employee or Self-Employed or Own Means
       Can Read/Write in English/French

Copyright 2008-2016 John Cardiff