Available online for first time ever, records paint picture of a post-War Canada on brink of massive growth, enormous social and political change
TORONTO, Oct. 29, 2013 /CNW/ - Ancestry.ca, Canada's largest family history website, announced today the online launch of the fully indexed 1921 Census of Canada. Available online for the first time ever, the searchable records will be free for people to discover the details of the lives of more than 8.8 million Canadians whose stories have been waiting nearly a century to be told.
"The 1921 Census of Canada is a game changer for people interested in learning more about their ancestry thanks to the richness of information that can be discovered, and we are thrilled to offer it to Canadians for the first time online," says Lesley Anderson, a genealogist and Content Specialist for Ancestry.ca. "These records are also important in telling the story of our country. They paint a picture of what life was like in Canada during one of the most significant periods of national growth and of social and political change the country has ever known."
Many Canadians will be able to find ancestors in this collection, and given the massive amount of immigration into Canada between the 1911 Census and the 1921 Census, many will be able to search the 1921 records to find the first member of their family to have been recorded living in Canada.
The original records of the 1921 Census of Canada were held at Statistics Canada for a period of 92 years following the enumeration of the Census. After this period, the information was transferred to the public records at Library and Archives Canada (LAC). Since June, Ancestry.ca has partnered with LAC to digitize and index these images and make them available to the public.
Canada in the 1920s
In many ways the 1920s marked Canada's true independence from the apron strings of the British Empire. The end of the preceding decade saw Canada emerge from the Great War with a subtle sense of pride for the role it played in delivering an allied victory, with famous and nation-defining battles at Ypres, Somme and the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Perhaps greater than this was the feeling among Canadians that they had "come of age", both as a country and as a people. In fact, in 1920 Canada was one of the founding members of the League of Nations - a precursor to what is now the United Nations, establishing Canada's long-standing role as a global peace-keeper.
The 1920s also saw major social and political change and upheaval, with aboriginals and women getting the right to vote and to be elected to parliament. In the 1921 Federal Election, Agnes Macphail was elected to the House of Commons as a member of the Progressive Party of Canada for the Grey Southeast electoral district, becoming the first woman Member of Parliament in Canada.
That same year Nellie McClung, a famous suffragist who later in the decade would lead a battle to establish the status of women as persons under the BNA Act, was elected to the Alberta legislative assembly.
Generally the 1920s were a decade of growth and prosperity in Canada (and North America more broadly), with huge waves of immigration into the country following the First World War. The influx of global immigrants looking for new and better opportunities helped to create our cultural tapestry, drove the economies of our largest cities and helped populate the burgeoning West.
Jazz became the soundtrack to the propagation of modernity, coinciding with the start and end of prohibition, and the 'flapper girl', seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms, redefined forever the role of women in society.
Canada truly was coming of age, and the 1921 Census records offer a snapshot of the lives of those who turned a demure English colony into the ebullient and prosperous nation that it is today.
Census records are often the first place people look when starting to research their family tree. These records contain incredible details sometimes not found in other records, like where people worked, lived, who they lived with, where they were born, when they arrived in Canada, their religion and how much money they made.
History enthusiasts can also search the site for notable Canadians, some who are still alive and well today, and some who show up for the first time in a national Census. Some famous Canadians included in the 1921 Canadian Census are:
- Pierre Trudeau - Born on October 18, 1919, Trudeau was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada. He held office for nearly 16 years beginning in 1968. Known to be incredibly charismatic, he is also remembered for establishing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He passed away on September 28, 2000.
- Lucy Maud Montgomery - One of Canada's most celebrated authors, Montgomery was born on November 30, 1874, and she died on April 24, 1942. She was best known for her series of novels Anne of Green Gables. By 1921, she has completed the third book out of eight in the series.
- Raymond Burr - Born on May 21, 1917, Burr was fondly known for his lead role as Perry Mason. During his acting career, he won numerous Emmy Awards. He passed away on September 12, 1993.
Ancestry.ca was launched in January 2006 and is part of Ancestry.com the world's largest online family history resource with approximately 2.7 million paying subscribers across all its websites. More than 12 billion records have been added to the Ancestry.com sites and users have created more than 50 million family trees containing more than 5 billion profiles.
In addition to its flagship site www.ancestry.com, the company operates several Ancestry international websites along with a suite of online family history brands including Archives.com, Fold3.com and Newspapers.com, all designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.
Image with caption: "Pierre Trudeau's census record is one of many available on Ancestry.ca today as they launch the 1921 Census of Canada online. (CNW Group/Ancestry.ca)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131029_C7952_PHOTO_EN_32675.jpg
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