Thursday, January 3, 2013

Maybe There's Another Way ...

Flag of Canada (Creative Commons)
My mother was born in Canada, and through the years, her family lived in several places in the province of Manitoba.  Two years ago I had found the 1911 Canadian census which listed my Myren grandparents and my uncle using the free online databases of the Library and Archives of Canada.  I had found some good information about where they lived in 1911, but now I was wanting to know more about their life after 1911.

Information from the 1916 Canadian Census of the Provinces was proving more difficult to find. I have an US subscription to, but all I could find through Ancestry was that the family was living in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1916, nothing more without purchasing a World Explorer subscription which would include Canadian databases.

Next stop was back online at the Library and Archives of Canada.  By this time, the 1916 Census had been fully digitized but had no index  The listings for Winnipeg, Manitoba showed 33 sub-districts, most with 30-40 pages per sub-district and 50 names per page.  Finding my family among my estimate of nearly 60,000 names seemed almost impossible.  (It reminded me of looking at the 1940 US census when the digital images were first released in early April 2012.)

On a whim, I simply googled the term "1916 Canada Census" and quickly found a link to that 1916 census on  Using FamilySearch's web site, I find they had indexed the 1916 Census but had no images of those census records.  Using the Winnipeg district and sub-district numbers from the index, I was able to locate the exact census page on the Library and Archives of Canada web site, print it out, and finally learn more about my grandparents, uncle, and mother.  Putting the index from and the digitized images from the Library and Archives of Canada together, I finally found more information.

There are times that it seems as if we will never be able to find what we're looking for.  Maybe we just need to take another approach.  For me, thinking like the middle school students I worked with for years, led me to simply google the research question I had.  I was reminded by googling that there were other web sites that just might have the information I was seeking. 

If all else had failed, I could have added "check 1916 Canada Census" to my research goals and waited until I finally broke down and purchased that World Explorer subscription to Ancestry.  Or, I could have checked at my public library to see if the 1916 Canadian Census of the Provinces was included in their Ancestry Library Version.  Or stopped by our local Family History Center to look through their resources.  Or ...

As my dad used to say, "There's always another way to skin a cat."

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