Last Updated: 12 May 2006 (sp)


Info Seekers’s Handbook


A "information seeker" is a person who is willing to view census microfilm/fiche to obtain specific information regarding the census (such as # of pages, # of people per census area, name of enumeration district, etc)



ü       Access to census microfilm



Thank you for your interest in volunteering to be an Information Seeker!


We’re seeking two things:

ü       Identification

ü       Statistics





This information, along with Page #’s, tells searchers where exactly to find their ancestors on the census microfilm.  Most of our transcripts do not include this information and we need your help to fill it out for every census (including those we do not yet have volunteers for). 


In Appendix D of our Transcriber’s Handbook we’ve outlined the information we’re seeking plus where to find it for each census year 1851-1911.  Please choose the year you have volunteer to seek information for:

1851     1861     1871     1881     1891     1901     1911


If you are willing to seek information for prior (before 1851) census years please contact the Volunteer Coordinator so we can work together to find out what these years had to offer and where the information is found.





We’re looking to learn how many people were enumerated in each census. 


Some volunteers are interested in only doing a small census – at this time we don’t yet know the size of a census until someone volunteers and takes a look.  It may be larger than a volunteer has the time and ability for and it doesn’t get done.


There are also censuses that are too large for one person (a city census is a good example – not all are divided into Wards for easy transcribing).  Knowing how large a census is will help us divide them into manageable chunks.


And knowing the size of each census will help us know how well we’re progressing.


This task is rather easy.  Just pick a census microfilm # (confirm with the Volunteer Coordinator first to ensure no one else has chosen this film) and start scrolling through.  The first page of the microfilm may give an overview of what’s on the film:



Then prior to the first page of each census should be a page that looks like this:


This is the information we need!  It tells us the exact name & location of the census PLUS it gives the number of pages in that census. 


Example (using the above image)

Census Year: 1881

Province: Ontario

District #: 114

District: Renfrew North

Sub-District #: M5

Sub-District: Unorganised Territory

# of Pages: 54


Once you’ve recorded this info scroll to the next one on the film and record it.  Keep going until the end of the film and then send the info to the Volunteer Coordinator.


Take Note: Not all census years have this image prior to each census.  If this is the case, or you come across one that does not tell you how many pages are in the census you’ll have to do a “manual” count.  It’s simple enough – just scroll through the census until the very last page of each one and write down the page number.  Page numbers can usually be found at the top left and top right of each page.


That’s all there is to it!  When in doubt, or if you have any questions, direct them to the Volunteer Coordinator.