Vancouver Island 1891 Census


Like its companion, the 1881 viCensus, this application was created by faculty and students at the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University — with assistance from experts outside the academy!

The project began in 1991 when nominal census schedules for the City of Victoria were transcribed and digitalized by the Public History Group at the University of Victoria. The 1891 Victoria City census project was directed by Dr. Peter Baskerville and Dr. Eric Sager.

At UVic, data entry and database design work was carried out by Darryl Green, Chris Roberts, George Young and Jennifer Molony, with assistance from Rolly Hollowaty. Seed funding for the work came from the Office of the Vice-President at the University of Victoria. Additional funds were provided by the Government of British Columbia through the British Columbia Heritage Trust and British Columbia Lotteries.

In 1994 census records for Vancouver Island communities outside Victoria — from the Malahat to the north end of Vancouver Island and adjacent Gulf Islands — were transcribed. The 1891 Vancouver Island census project was organized and directed by Dr. Patrick Dunae in the Department of History at Vancouver Island University.

Ron Apland, in VIU's Faculty of Social Sciences, provided technical assistance and advice on designing the database. Christine Meutzner transcribed many of the records and ensured that data entry fields corresponded with fields used by coders at UVic. Rick Geddes transcribed the First Nations portions of the census in 1995. Funding for this part of the project was provided by the Government of Canada through a summer works program; research was facilitated by the Vancouver Island University Joint Faculty Research Committee.

In the spring of 2002 the project was reactivated and expanded with a grant provided by the Malaspina Research Fund (MRF), a newly established program administered by the Office of the Vice-President, Instruction and Research, at Vancouver Island University. The MRF grant enabled us to transcribe nominal census schedules from Victoria District, Esquimalt and Metchosin — districts which had not been transcribed earlier. The schedules were transcribed by Jenny Clayton, a post-graduate student at the University of Victoria. The MRF grant also enabled us to contract Alex Dunae to build the search engine and create search features similar to the ones he developed for the 1881 database.

Archivists at the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa and the British Columbia Archives in Victoria helped with this project; genealogists and family historians have provided on-going assistance by informing us of errors, omissions and inconsistencies they encounter in the database.