Schedule 1 was created to enumerate the entire population of Canada. Every individual within an enumerator's district was to be listed on the schedule by name, "irrespective of age, sex or condition." The head of the family (or household or institution) was to be listed first, with the other members listed thereafter. It was the responsibility of the head of the family to provide the enumerator with the requested information.
A family was defined as "parents and sons and daughters united in a living and housekeeping community; (that may be extended to) ... include other relatives and servants." A household "may include all persons in a housekeeping community, whether related by ties of blood or not, but usually with one of their number occupying the position of head."
Single people, living alone, but renting rooms from someone who performed their housekeeping, were to be included as members of the household, even though their meals may have been taken elsewhere ("the boarder"). Single people living alone, but performing their own housekeeping, were to be considered members of their own household of one.
In cases where members of a family (or household) were temporarily absent from their home or usual place of habitation, they were to be dealt with under the concept of a de jure system of enumeration. This meant that people were to be enumerated based on where they usually lived, not where they were at the time.
An institution included "such establishments as hospitals, asylums, poor houses, prisons, penitentiaries, schools of learning, barracks, etc." The inhabitants were to be listed under the institution if the individuals had no home outside the institution. Those who worked in the institution, such as attendants, cooks, etc., were to be counted as members of their own household, if they had one, or with the household of the head of the institution.
The house number of the dwelling and the family or household number were to be numbered consecutively in columns 1 and 2 of the schedule. These numbers, therefore, may not correspond, as more than one family may have lived in a house. The numbering was continued throughout the sub-district.
Under the Census Act, the term "house" included any structure which provided shelter, i.e., ships, vessels, homes, etc. If the structure had one entrance it was to be counted as one dwelling, no matter how many families lived within. If there were two front doors leading to separate parts of the structure, the dwelling was to be counted as two houses.
At the top of each page, the province, district number and name, sub-district number, polling sub-division number, location of polling sub-district number (city, town, village, township or parish), page number and the name of the enumerator were to be listed. In some situations, this did not occur and the enumerator filled in this information only on the first page, and on all subsequent pages simply indicated the page number.
Each line of the census was numbered and each person to be enumerated received one line. All entries were handwritten in English or French. The information was recorded by the enumerator as given by the "head" of the household or institution.
In the 1901 Census, certain input standardization was expected of enumerators:
In addition to these official abbreviations, the following abbreviations for geographic location have been found scattered throughout the census:(6)
For census enumeration, provinces were divided into census districts, which in turn were divided into sub-districts. Census districts generally corresponded with electoral districts, cities and counties, although census districts and county boundaries did not always coincide (and districts could even disappear from one census to the next). Sub-districts approximated towns, townships and city wards. Villages and small towns were usually enumerated as part of the township or parish of which they were part.
The Personal Description Section of the 1901 Census consisted of the following sets and sub-sets of questions:
Column 3 - Name of Each Person in Family or Household on March 31, 1901
Column 4 - Sex
Column 5 - Colour
Column 6 - Relationship to Head of Family or Household
Column 7 - Single, Married, Widowed or Divorced
Column 8 - Month and Date of Birth
Column 9 - Year of Birth
Column 10 - Age on Last Birthday
The Name of Each Person was to be entered in full, with a middle initial, if applicable.
Sex was to be designated by the use of the letter "m" for male and "f" for female.
Colour was to be denoted by:
Children who were of mixed Caucasian and other heritage (i.e., red, black or yellow) were to be designated as members of the appropriate non-white race.
Under Relationship to Head of Household, the head of the family (or household or institution) was to be entered as such (i.e., Head), with the remaining members of the group indicated through their relation to the Head (i.e., wife, son, daughter, servant, boarder, lodger, partner, etc.). The Head was considered to be the oldest male in the household, usually the husband and/or father.
Those persons in an institution could be described as an officer, inmate, patient, prisoner, pupil, etc.
In column 7, Single, Married, Widowed or Divorced were to be designated by "s" (single), "m" (married), "w" (widowed) and "d" (divorced). This was the first year in which a record of those considered "divorced" was taken. Some enumerators considered legal separation to be the same situation, and attempts were made to correct those incorrectly marked as divorced.(7)
An excess of married males (2,751,708 to the 2,450,471 married women(8)) was found in the census. This was explained by the fact that many lumbering and mining districts contained married men whose families were often elsewhere - the United States, Newfoundland, etc.(9)
Column 11 - Country or Place of Birth (if Canada, Specify Province or Territory, and Add "R" or "U" for Rural or Urban, as the Case May Be)
Column 12 - Year of Immigration to Canada
Column 13 - Year of Naturalization
Column 14 - Racial or Tribal Origin
Column 15 - Nationality
Column 16 - Religion
For Country or Place of Birth, those born outside of Canada, were to be designated by the name of the country - for example, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France, etc. If the person was born in Canada, the name of the province or territory was to be given.
It was also to be noted whether the person was born in a rural or urban area. This was to be denoted by the letter "r" (rural) or "u" (urban). Thus, the final entry for country or place of birth may be something like: Nova Scotia u, Ontario r, England u, etc.
The Year of Immigration referred to the year the person moved to Canada from another country.
If the person did not immigrate to Canada from the United Kingdom or a colony thereof (which included Ireland and Scotland), the year in which they acquired the rights of citizenship was also to be entered (in the "year of naturalization" column). If the person had applied for their citizenship papers, but had not yet gained full citizenship, they were to be marked as "pa" in the "year of naturalization" column.
In the census, it was found that 148,647 people immigrated to Canada between 1896 and 1900, and 61,487 had arrived in 1901 prior to March 31.(10)
Racial or Tribal Origin was to be traced through the father for those of "white" (for example, English, Scotch, Irish, Welsh, French, German, Italian, Scandinavian, etc.) descent. Thus, a person whose father was English but whose mother was Scotch, Irish or French would have been classed as English.
It was sufficient to enter "Japanese," "Chinese" or "Negro" for racial terms. These backgrounds were to be traced through the mother or father.
For Natives, racial or tribal origin was traced through the mother. Individuals were to be entered by their tribal names (for example, "Chippewa," "Cree," "MicMac," etc.). Those of mixed white and Native heritage were to be described by the initial of their white heritage and the letter "b" (for breed) - "f.b." for French breed, "e.b." for English breed, "s.b." for Scotch breed and "i.b." for Irish breed. For example: "MicMac f.b." would be a person of mixed French and MicMac heritage. Mixes of other races and Natives were considered to be rare, and to be designated by "o.b." (other breed). "O.b." was also to be used for those that were the mixture of several races and Native. Thus, the final response for a Cree with many different backgrounds would be "Cree o.b."
In the Nationality column, any person whose home was in Canada, and who had become a Canadian citizen (no matter their place of birth or race) was to be listed as Canadian.(11) Any person born in the United Kingdom or a colony thereof, that resided permanently in Canada, was also to be considered Canadian. Non-Canadians were to be classified by the country of their birth, or the country to which they professed allegiance.
Religion was to be entered according to that which the individual professed, specifying the church or denomination to which they claimed to belong or favour. If children professed a different religion than their parents, they were to be entered according to their choice; however, if no differentiation was made, it was to be assumed that their religion was the same as their parents.
When the census results were tabulated, Canadians claimed to belong to 142 different religions, denominations, sects and beliefs, with 44,186 individuals remaining unspecified as to their belief. Of these, more than half lived in the unorganized territories.(12) In the tabulations, the following 47 religions were listed:(13)
The following abbreviations for religious denominations have been found in the census returns:(14)
Column 17 - Profession, Occupation, Trade or Means of Living of Each Person (if Person has Retired from Profession or Trade, Add "R" for Retired)
Column 18 - Living on Own Means
Column 19 - employer
Column 20 - employee
Column 21 - Working on Own Account
In the category of Principal Profession or Trade, only the profession "on which the condition of life chiefly rests and from which the gains, earnings or income are chiefly obtained" was to be recorded.
It was insufficient for individuals to identify themselves as a "manufacturer," "merchant" or "labourer"; instead, the branch of industry, trade, etc. in which the person worked was to be given. For example, a day labourer on a farm was to be identified as a "farm labourer." A labourer in a mill, factory or workshop, was to specify the type of factory, as well as the term labourer, for example, "labourer (brick works)." Skilled workers were to specify the general name of the industry in which they were employed, the particular branch of the industry and the material in which they worked, for example, "brass founder," "cotton spinner," etc.
Retirees were to have the letter "r" added to the description of their occupation.
Marks were to be made in the appropriate column if the individual met the following criteria:
An affirmative answer in this column was to be indicated by a downward stroke () and a negative answer by a dash (-). However, a blank could also be considered a negative answer.
Married women and children were to be considered employed if they performed tasks for money, including piecework in the home. However, if their tasks consisted of the work required to maintain the household, they were not to be marked as working.
Column 22 - Working at Trade in Factory or in Home (Specify by "F" for Factory and "H" for Home, or Both, as the Case May Be)
Column 23 - Months employed at Trade in Factory
Column 24 - Months employed at Trade in Home
Column 25 - Months employed in Other Occupation than Trade in Factory or Home
Column 26 - Earnings from Occupation or Trade
Column 27 - Extra Earnings (from Other than Chief Occupation or Trade)
Any individual identified as employed and who was offered monetary remuneration for their work, whether through piecework or by time (hour, day, week, etc.), at home, in a factory or elsewhere, was to have an entry in the Wage Earner column. For the census, the terms "wage" and "salary" were to mean the same thing, i.e., the amount or sum of money which an individual received for their services, whether the work was professional, literary or handicraft.
For Working at Trade in Factory or in House, a downstroke was to be used to indicate work at trade, with a letter "f" to designate that the work occurred in a factory, a letter "h" if the work occurred in the home and "f h" if the work occurred in both the factory and the home. Thus, if the person worked at a trade in the factory during this census year, the entry would appear "()f" and so on.
Months employed at Trade in Factory and Months employed at Trade in Home were to show how much of the year, in months, the individual was employed in their trade in the factory or home, respectively.
Months employed in Other Occupation than Trade in Factory or Home was to be used for those that were employed in an occupation other than a trade, or if an individual who usually worked at a trade was engaged in employment other than their regular occupation during the year.
Education and Language of Each Person Five Years of Age and Over
Column 28 - Months at School in Year
Column 29 - Can Read
Column 30 - Can Write
Column 31 - Can Speak English
Column 32 - Can Speak French
Column 33 - Mother Tongue (if Spoken)
Education and Language entries were only to be made for those individuals 5 years of age and older.
Months at School in Year applied only to those over 5 and under 21. If the person had attended school during the census year, the time was to be entered in months. If the individual did not attend school during the year, a horizontal dash (-) was to be entered.
Can Read, Can Write, Can Speak English and Can Speak French were to be indicated by the figure "1" for "Yes" and by a dash (-) for "No." Degree of proficiency was not to be considered in this category.
Of the 4,728,631 Canadians 5 and over, 3,918,915 claimed to be able to read and write, 3,711,183 to speak English and 1,515,090 to speak French. A total of 126,978 native English speaking people claimed to be able to also speak French, and 529,552 native French speaking people claimed to be able to also speak English.(15)
Mother Tongue was considered to be an individual's native language, and was only to be entered if the person spoke the language, whether fluently or not.
The education and language questions were expanded in 1901, beyond those asked in 1891. The 1891 questions only asked if individuals could read and write, while the 1901 questions also asked the amount of time those between the ages of 5 and 21 spent in school, and the language(s) spoken. Records were also taken to see if people could speak either of the official languages of Canada. "In a country peopled with so many foreign elements as Canada, it is desirable to know if they are being absorbed and unified, as may appear by their acquirement of one or other of the official languages. And as English is now in a very large degree the language of commerce throughout the world, it is also desirable to ascertain to what extent citizens of French origin are able to speak it in addition to their own."(16)
Column 34 - (a) Deaf and Dumb, (b) Blind, (c) Unsound Mind (if From Childhood, Add "From Childhood").
People were to be identified as having an infirmity if they suffered any level of incapacity related to one of the three classes (i.e., Deaf and Dumb, Blind, and Unsound Mind). Such incapacity did not have to be total. If the individual had suffered from the infirmity since childhood, the entry was to be marked "from childhood." Thus, an entry may be: Blind, from childhood.
If a person suffered from more than one infirmity, the primary one was to be listed first, with the others mentioned in a footnote as secondary infirmities.
Where an infirmity did not exist, the entry was to be a dash (-), or the usual sign for a negative, or a blank.
6 Tom Hillman, Catalogue of Census Returns on Microfilm, 1901 (Ottawa: 1993), p. xiii.
7 The Census Office, Fourth Census of Canada, 1901 - Bulletin VI - Sexes and Conjugal Condition (Ottawa: 1902).
8 The Census Office, Fourth Census of Canada, 1901 - Volume I Population (Ottawa: 1902), p. 11.
9 The Census Office, Fourth Census of Canada, 1901 - Bulletin VI - Sexes and Conjugal Condition (Ottawa: 1902).
10 The Census Office, Fourth Census of Canada, 1901 - Volume I Population (Ottawa: 1902), p. 451.
11 While the Instructions to Enumerators called for these individuals to be designated as "Canadians," this term did not legally exist until the passage of the Citizenship Act in 1947.
12 The Census Office, Fourth Census of Canada, 1901 - Bulletin V - Religions of the People (Ottawa: 1902).
13 The Census Office, Fourth Census of Canada, 1901 - Volume I Population (Ottawa: 1902), pp. 144-145.
14 Tom Hillman, Catalogue of Census Returns on Microfilm, 1901 (Ottawa: 1902), p. xii.
15 The Census Office, Fourth Census of Canada, 1901 - Volume IV Vital Statistics School Attendance Educational Statistics Dwellings and Families Institutions Churches and Schools Electoral Districts and Representation (Ottawa: 1906), pp. 324-325.
16 The Census Office, Fourth Census of Canada, 1901 - Volume I Population (Ottawa: 1902), p. viii.