This database is an index to approximately 375,000 individuals who were enumerated in the province of Ontario in the 1871 Canada census. The 1871 census was a nominal census, meaning it listed every member of the household. This index however, only contains the names of the heads of households and those individuals who had surnames that differed from the head of household's (for example, a servant or mother-in-law). Information listed in this database includes the name of the individual, their gender, age, country or province of birth, district, sub-district, and division of residence, ethnicity, occupation, religion, approximate birth year, and source information.
Census records are valuable sources for genealogists because they help us locate people in a specific time and place. It is important to use this index to locate the original record because original records often contain more information than do their indexes. Although the microfilm number listed with each entry refers to the National Archives of Canada microfilm series, other microfilmed copies of the 1871 census may be found at other libraries and archives, including the Family History Library and Archives of Ontario.
The confederation of Canada occurred in 1867, making the 1871 Census the first official national census. National censuses have been taken every 10 years since 1871 and every 5 years since 1971. Although 1871 is the year of the first national census, pre-1871 census records exist for some areas of Canada as many areas had provincial and local censuses taken. Some areas even have census records dating back to colonial times.