I've spent the last few hours today searching for my grandparents, my parents and myself in Ancestry.ca's latest database "Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980". I'm excited to see such a handy resource made available, especially since I can now search in the not-too-distant past for where my ancestors and relatives lived. Normally I’d use census records, but since Canada’s most recently available federal census is the 1911 census, this newly released database gives my research a boost.
I was able to find some names (like an uncle in British Columbia) without too much effort, but other names (like my grandparents in Ontario) were difficult or impossible to locate in the index. In the background information, Ancestry explains that it used OCR technology to create the index. (Some of the OCR peculiarities have been discussed in “A Journey Down Memory Lane With Canadian Voters’ Lists” at Olive Tree Genealogy Blog and in “Canada Voters Lists 1935 to 1980 new on Ancestry” at Anglo-Celtic Connections.) Another difficulty I came across is some names appear in the index (like my grandmother in 1958), while other names (like my grandfather) don’t appear (even though he’s there in that particular voters list).
In 1979, I voted in a federal election for the first time, so I was curious to see my name in that year’s list. It took me almost a half hour to find myself, because I had to browse through the polling district page by page. (Ancestry didn’t index the 1979 and 1980 lists, unlike all the other years it features in its database.) I eventually found my parents and my younger sister, but was surprised to see my brother. He was only 9 years old when the polling list was compiled, so he shouldn’t appear with the rest of our family. Of course, this inappropriate addition isn’t Ancestry’s fault; it must have occurred when the enumerator came to our house that spring.
All in all, I’m happy to have this new database and I’ll keep looking for family members!