Sunday, May 04, 2014

Census Sunday: The Belair Family and the 1891 Census

1891 census of Canada for Masham Quebec
1891 census of Canada (Masham, Quebec) [1]

My great-grandfather Pierre Janvry dit Belair, his wife Angélina and their children were enumerated on the 1891 census of Canada. [2]

Pierre’s son Fred, my grandfather, was born in late 1889, so this census marks his first appearance on a federal Canadian census return.

Cropped version of 1891 Masham census

The Belair family, as seen in the above cropped image version of the Masham 1891 census, consisted of head of family Pierre (39), his wife Angélina (35), and their children Pierre (10), Paul (9), Angélina (7), Marie (5) [usually known as Délia], and Jean Bte (1) [my grandfather Fred].

The enumerator did not sign his name nor did he date the return. Enumerators were instructed to gather information “as it applied at midnight, when April 5 turned into April 6”. [3]

The Belair family home, described in Column 4 as “B1/3 “, was a one-story wooden house with three rooms. [4] Other details include the family members’ place of birth (Q, for the province of Quebec), religion (C.R., for Catholique Romain [Roman Catholic]), and that only mother Angélina and elder sons Pierre and Paul could read and write.


1. 1891 census of Canada, Masham, Ottawa, Quebec, population schedule, subdistrict BB, p. 31, family 113, Pierre Jeanvry [sic] household; digital images, ( : accessed 30 July 2007); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm T-6412.

2. 1891 census of Canada, Masham, Ottawa, Quebec, pop. sched., subdist. BB, p. 31, fam. 113, Pierre Jeanvry [sic] household.

3. Dave Obee, Counting Canada: A Genealogical Guide to the Canadian Census (Victoria, BC: Dave Obee, 2012), 135.

4. Census of 1891, Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 1 May 2014), “About the 1891 Census: Common Abbreviations – Other”. Some of the abbreviations found on the 1891 census forms, including those for residential buildings, are explained on the LAC website. The unnamed enumerator wrote in French, thus the B in “B1/3” stands for bois (wooden).

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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