Canada 1921 Census Now Available Online . . . Finally . . . Sort of . . .

 Thanks to Dick Eastman ( – where would we be without Dick? – I learned that the images for the 1921 Canada Census are available for free online – but not at Library and Archives Canada – but!!!!  No  index yet.  That is still to come – but may only be a few months away.  Will that only be available to subscribers?

This is the largest single collection of Canadian genealogical records – nearly 8.8 million names.  I am a little disappointed that LAC gave the rights to a commercial website.  I guess they needed the revenue?  In their defense this was also perhaps the quickest way to make the images available. Kudos to for giving free access to the images!

Here is the official LAC announcement dated 9 August 2013:

“Canadians can now browse the 1921 Census data of the Canadian population, free of charge on

The 1921 Census includes 197,529 images; it is therefore a massive electronic file to prepare and make accessible. Once it is fully indexed, this census will be the largest source of Canadian genealogical information online.

Researchers can explore the 197,529 pages of information through an index of districts and sub-districts. will also take the extra step of indexing 8.8 million names, addresses and other information for a searchable database, and developing advanced search tools to go along with it. Canadians will only be required to pay for the extra convenience of doing advanced searches from the comfort of their home. will assume the costs associated with this work and will offer a choice of free or paid access.

  • Free access will be possible in person at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and through hundreds of subscribing libraries across Canada.
  • Free access to raw census records will be available online.
  • Paid access will only be necessary if someone wants the extra convenience of doing advanced searches from home.

Individuals can make the most of their visit in Library and Archives Canada’s reading room in Ottawa by preparing in advance and consulting Preparing for a Visit or viewing the Orientation Services for Clients at 395 Wellington video or reading the blog post,The Top Five Things You Need to Know Before You Visit.

Canadians can access censuses taken before 1921 on Library and Archives Canada’s Census webpage.” (

Echoes of the 1916 Census?  Familysearch indexed this collection and briefly made the images available for free, until exercised their right to control access to the images.  Now the index to 1916 is free on but you need a subscription to get the images.

Remember that you can access at any LDS Family History Centre.

Will there be a 3 year wait before the 1921 Census is available at LAC?  – as we have heard is the situation with the 1916 Census.

At least the images are available – and for free! However, I went to the website and couldn’t find the 1921 Census!   It isn’t listed yet in the Canada Census Collection yet.  Ancestry have shared a link to the images at

Then I remembered our previous 26 April 2013 article on Five New Things at Ancestry  – notes from a presentation by Crista Cowan – in item 2 Searching.  On the Search Menu on the main page go to the last item Card Catalog. Then change Sort By drop down to Date Added (default is Popularity) – so you see the new items at the top of the list – and there is the Canada 1921 Census!

While there is no index yet, you get to select the Province and then the district and subdistrict.  I tried this for Medicine Hat – a district – but accessing the subdistrict needs some knowledge of legal land descriptions.

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