A glimpse into the past: Using historical censuses to research Canadian families

Telling Canada’s Story in Numbers #ByTheNumbers

Statistics Canada plays a vital role in providing consistent data that tell the ongoing story of our country and our families. Beginning in 1666 when Jean Talon, the first Intendant of New France, conducted the first census, to more than three centuries later, the Census Program continues to be a valuable source of information for historians and genealogists. With a variety of research tools in various archives across the country, Canadians can explore their familial roots using census records and other historical statistics to help season—or fill in the gaps of—their unique family trees.

On September 21, 2017, Statistics Canada celebrated our diverse Canadian families as part of its ongoing Canada 150 program: Telling Canada’s story in numbers. Our guest speaker, Lisa Dillon, Professor of Demography from the Université de Montréal, presented A glimpse into the past: Using historical censuses to research Canadian families. Ms. Dillon showcased highlights of historical research beginning with the 1666 enumeration of Québec by Jean Talon, and discussed her early research findings from a new project on the 1831 Census of Quebec and the 1852 Census of Canada. She also presented research on intergenerational relations and living arrangements from the late 19th-century and on single persons’ residential autonomy in the 1921-1951 Censuses of Canada.

Her presentation was followed by a panel discussion with experts from various fields. At the end of the discussion, participants were invited to ask questions.

This event brought together academics, historians, genealogists, students, policy makers and community organizations in a discussion to advance our collective understanding of our country and our families.

When: Thursday, September 21, 2017, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Where: Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, 150 Albert Street, 2nd floor, Rideau Room, Ottawa, Ontario

Cost: Free

Registration is closed.


Jane Badets, Assistant Chief Statistician, Social, Health and Labour Statistics, Statistics Canada

Guest speaker

Lisa Dillon, Full Professor, Department of Demography, Université de Montréal


Rosemary Bender, former Assistant Chief Statistician, Statistics Canada


Johanna Smith, Director General, Public Services Branch, Library and Archives Canada

Glenn Wright, Professional Genealogist

Date modified: