|1891 Census Fanny McGinnis & Daughter Delia|
Granted this census has been available online for some time now on Ancestry.com but that requires payment. LAC's is free. And the image quality is outstanding. But what I like best is the detailed explanation of all the markings on a typical 1891 census page.
Here's an example to show you what I mean - I've found all my family in Ontario in the 1891 census years ago. Some I found the old-fashioned way, by scrolling through screen after screen of microfilmed records (unindexed). Some I found on the Ancestry.com website.
But after reading LAC's explanation of columns on the 1891 census page, I realized that for all my experience researching, I'd overlooked a very nice bit of information about each head of household. On the LAC page, near the bottom is a small tidbit of abbreviations used on the 1891 census. The one I never knew before was this one:
Residential dwellings were described using letters and numbers such as “S2/6” for a stone house, two stories, six rooms or “W ½” for a wooden house, one story, two rooms.I'd see these obscure markings but had no idea what they meant. I read them in my mind as a letter followed by a fraction (W 1/2 for example) Think of all the cool and interesting extra details I'd missed - namely the kind of house an ancestor lived in (wooden vs stone, the number of stories) and how many rooms were in the home.
My readers probably know me well enough to realize I spent a happy half day looking up 1891 census records for my ancestors again! I found that my 2nd great-grandmother Fanny McGinnis who was living on her own at the age of 60 (which I already knew) lived in a wooden one-storey house with four rooms. Her widowed daughter lived next door with her four young children in a wooden one-storey home with five rooms. That kind of detail may seem inconsequential but to me it adds more to the shadowy picture I have built in my mind of Fanny and her life. I'm trying to imagine the rooms - how big or small they were and what was in each.
|1891 Census Alex McGinnis & Family|
I'm having trouble wrapping my head around that. It was around this time that Alex and his wife Harriet separated and now I'm wondering if crowded living conditions and perhaps poverty were a factor in that separation.
You can search the 1891 census online. I plan on looking for more ancestors this afternoon.