Friday, June 2, 2023

The 1931 Census of Canada! An Index for Kitchissippi

Ottawa Citizen, May 28, 1931

Yesterday, June 1st, 2023 marked a major milestone date for Canadian historians and genealogists! 

Library and Archives Canada after 92 years were finally legally allowed to release the Census pages as of yesterday, so they've been uploaded to the link below. However, for now, it is only raw page scans. Nothing is keyword searchable yet. That will take time, and will be accomplished through LAC partnerships with Ancestry and FamilySearch for indexing and searching. (When the 1921 release occurred, it took about three months for name and keyword searching to be released). 

Here is where you can go search:

And here is a link to some background info about the Census release:

In a few months time, we'll be able to just pop a name into a search engine and find the person in seconds. However, if you're like me, you probably just can't wait that long, and you want to look up a grandparent or other relative now! Or maybe you want to see the info on who was living in your house, since by 1931 many Kitchissippi houses were already built (this will be the first Census that many Wellington Village houses will appear for the first time, for instance!). Personally, this is an exciting day as it is the first Census my maternal grandparents will appear in, having been born in 1927 and 1930. 

I'm providing some helpful info so that you too can navigate through the files and hopefully find your ancestor quickly. Some of the info I'm sharing below will help you search generally, but I'm mainly including info that will help someone locate a person who lived in Ottawa and especially Kitchissippi.

The search function as of right now is basic, and pretty frustrating if you don't know what you're looking for. You need to enter a Province, District and Sub-district. Sounds easy enough, but it isn't. The sub-districts are just listed with vague township or ward names, and sometimes as many as a dozen or more with the same name. And there is no map or code that can help decipher.  

(If you've been reading some online websites and message boards, you may have heard recommended a website called ScholarsPortal that has a map tool that will tell you the 1931 Census district and sub-district if you enter an address. Don't use that tool, it's not accurate at all.)

It seems that for the 1931 Census, they simply used the electoral district boundaries, from the 1924 redistribution. This means that all of Kitchissippi is contained in Carleton County (which was divided basically where today's Somerset and Kitchissippi wards are split), which is also the Census district Carleton. Everything west of today's O-train line is Carleton district, everything east of it is Ottawa district.

(Source: LAC, G1116.F7 .C3 1924)

How to search for a Kitchissippi address:

So when you go to the Census page, select Province "Ontario", District "Carleton", and then for Sub-District, I've made an index in Excel listing every Census page for Kitchissippi, and which streets appear on each page. Many streets appear on multiple pages, and even in multiple sub-districts (if it's a long street), so you may have to look in a few spots. Note too that many street names have changed, so I've also added in the street name conversions at right for reference. 

Click here: Kitchissippi 1931 Census Index

Note also that in my Index, I've listed the page # meaning the actual census page # (the number written on the original copy page). You may get confused by the LAC website page numbering, which adds a title page for each sub-district. So if my index says you want page 5, then you want LAC website "item" 6. 

Still not finding your person/house?...

In about half the cases on the Census, the full civic address is listed (a street name with a house number), but in many cases, it's just a street name. Or even just simply "Nepean". Those will require a little extra digging. 

If it can be of any help, I've uploaded the entirety of the street listings for Might's City of Ottawa Directory for 1931, which shows all residents of each street, sorted by house number. It's a rather poor quality scan which I did quickly some time back at the City Archives, not intending to ever publish it, but at this point, it could be a handy tool so I thought worth uploading to share. You can save this document to your PC.

Click here: 1931 City Directory listing by street

Unfortunately, it is not an OCR scan, so you cannot keyword search it. This document will only help you if you already know what street you're looking at, and want to figure out what the house number is that's missing from the Census, or you're trying to pinpoint the location of a house on a street.  Or this could be handy if you think you know which street your relative lived on, and you want to verify that first before digging through the Census pages. 


How to search for a City of Ottawa address:

If you're looking for someone within the City limits of Ottawa, you'll want to search in District "Ottawa", but I'm afraid I don't have time to create an index for that. You're on your own to hunt through the individual pages. Perhaps these images below might be of help... it's the descriptors for the ward boundaries in the City at the time. This could help you narrow down your search area:


How to search for an Ottawa address that was once rural:

If you're searching for people who were living in what is now within Ottawa, but was in 1931 a suburb or rural area, and the Census sub-districts you're looking at show a township lot/concession as their descriptor, the best quick tool I can suggest to find a lot/concession for the address you're looking up is to do the following:

i) Go to

ii) Then at the top right, click on the icon that looks like 3 pieces of paper stacked (third icon from the left). It will open a new little menu beneath it.

iii) This is the "layers" menu. Click the fourth one in the submenu "Property parcels", first by checking the little box next to it, but then clicking the arrow to the left of the check box. When it expands, check the box next to "Township Lot Labels". This will add the old traditional lot/concession numbers to the map.

iv) Go to the search box at the top left of the page and enter the address you'd like to find. If you don't know the exact address but know a general street or intersection, enter that. It will center the page to your selection, and even add a red dot on the specific address if you've entered one.

v) Zoom out a little bit by clicking on the minus ("-") sign at the top left until you can see some of those "Con" and "Lot" numbers. The one closest to your address is your old concession/lot number. If you're close in between two, you may have to look up both. But at least now you should have a lot/concession number or two to narrow down which sub-district you're going to need to read through


I hope this information is helpful to some of you! Good luck with your searching!!! 

If you have any questions or are lost in your search, feel free to send me an email ( and I can try to help!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for providing this incredible resource