Census Sunday – The 1861 Canada West Census

In the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, we find Michael McCormack and his growing family in London, Canada. At the time, Canada was still a colony of England and divided into two parts, Canada East and Canada West[1]. London was, or still is, located in Canada West, or now as it is called the province of Ontario after the confederation of 1867.

The 1861 Canada West Census

The 1861 Canada West Census

We find the McCormack family has now grown to two adults, Michael and Catherine, five children, William, Delilah, Edward, John Michael and Patrick John. It is Patrick John that I am “guessing” at. To me, the last entry looks like a P. J. McCormack. Any other guesses? Some of the more interesting things that we find here is, IMO, the religion (the 5th) column. It states that Michael and his sons are R.C. or Roman Catholic. It also says that Catherine and Delilah are Protestant. That partially confirms a story that I was told, I think by a couple of people, that boys would be raised Roman Catholic and the girl(s) would be raised Protestant. Another interesting item that we find is that John Michael was a twin. Or it sure looks that way to me. Over in the Houses columns, it states that Michael and Catherine lived in a one story frame house. Which to me, that sounds pretty substantial. Still another interesting item is the fact that one of the five children died prior to this census and is enumerated on it. The fact that it is, confirms another story that Michael and Catherine had ten children but that one died early in infancy. One thing that confuses me (as I write this post) is column #46, Quantity of Land attached to Tenement. It says 52/120. I believe that the term was once explained to me and that it has something to do with the size of the land plot, but I have lost where the explanation is. The “Place of Birth” column has no surprises for me. It just confirms what I have found through other sources.

One fact that stumps me is why Canada? We know that William was born in Kilkenny, Ireland and that Delilah was born in (Harrodsburg), Kentucky. Why did they leave Kentucky? Did it have anything to do with the Civil War that boiling in Kentucky and elsewhere in the 1850s? There is a partial story concerning the Civil War but it was mentioned in context of another event. The trip from Kentucky to London, Canada raises several questions. Like the one that I just asked. Or how did they get from (Harrodsburg,) Kentucky to London? Where did they cross into Canada? Was it Detroit? Or Port Huron? Also, why did they decide to leave Canada and go back to Michigan? Questions, questions! Lots of questions but not a lot of answers to these questions!

Thanks for reading!


1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_West#Canada_West

2. Ontario Census, 1861, Ontario, Canada, Ward St. Lawrence, ED 1, Pg. 4 and 62 (stamped), family 33, Michael McCormack, digital image, Ancestry.com, http://search.ancestry.com/, accessed 9 Sep 2012, citing Year: 1861; Census Place: London, Middlesex, Canada West; Roll: C-1050-1051; Page: 4.

3. “Ontario Census, 1861,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MQQ2-56V : accessed 15 Apr 2013), Michael Mccormick, 1861. {sourced from FamilySearch.org}


2 thoughts on “Census Sunday – The 1861 Canada West Census

  1. Pingback: Census Sunday – 1870 Census for Michael McCormack and family | The Otter Lake Express

  2. Pingback: Happy Birthday, Michael McCormack! | The Otter Lake Express

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