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dave obee Famous Canadians in the 1911 census

By Dave Obee

The arrival of the index to the 1911 census on the Ancestry.ca web site has made research much easier -- but there still may be a few stumbling blocks.

The problem is that many names have not been indexed in the way we would expect. There are many reasons for that.
In some cases, the original writing can't be read. In other cases, the name was not spelled correctly by the census-taker. And at times, the name has been mis-read in the transcription process.

How do we deal with this? Through creativity. We should learn to search in a variety of different ways, not just on the surname alone. We should learn to use wildcards in our searching. And we should us the other information we have a about a person to narrow the search.

There are benefits to this approach. The wider net you cast, the more likely you'll find people who otherwise would have slipped through the cracks.

Here are some of the many famous Canadians found in the Ancestry.ca index of the 1911 census of Canada. Tricks used to find them might provide clues that would help you.

John Diefenbaker, former prime minister. You have two ways to search, looking for exact results or ranked results, which allows for more variations in spelling. An exact search will turn up nothing -- but a ranked one brings up John Diefenbacher in Saskatoon. That's The Chief.

William Lyon MacKenzie King, former prime minister. With all of those given names, how do we start to search? It's easy -- just go for the initials. You'll find him as Hon. W L M King in Waterloo, Berlin, 117 Queen North.

Lucy Maud Montgomery, of Anne of Green Gables fame, is shown simply as Maud Montgomery. Look for the one living in Port Mouton, Prince Edward Island.

Gabrielle Roy, the famed author, is indexed under Isabrielle Roy. She can be found by looking for the Roy family at 35 Deschambault, which was their street address. (Thanks to Diane Rogers for that one.)

Lester Patrick, legendary hockey pioneer. A simple one. He's under Laster Patrick in Victoria, B.C.

Guy Lombardo, bandleader. A ranked search reveals Guy Lameberdo living at 202 Simcoe, London, Ont.

Raymond Hart Massey, actor. A difficult one, because he doesn't appear under exact or ranked searches. This is a good example of other sources that can be used to find people. Massey served as a soldier in the Great War, and his attestation papers are online. The show his address as 519 Jarvis in Toronto. So do a search based on that address -- and you will find him indexed as Raymond Hard Maney.

Nellie McClung, author and suffragette, one of the Famous Five women who argued successfully that women were people under the law. Simple enough. Just do a search for McClung, and you will find her as Mellie McClung, 213 Balmoral, Winnipeg

Arthur Ganong, inventor of the chocolate nut bar. He's listed as, surprisingly enough, Arthur Ganong. In New Brunswick. Place of habitation: water

Frederick G. Banting, one of the discoverers of insulin. Fredrick G. Banting, born 1892, Ontario Simcoe South.

Mary Ellen Smith, the first woman elected to the B.C. legislature and the first woman to hold a cabinet position in the British Empire, is found, simply enough, under Mary Ellen Smith. She was living in Nanaimo with her husband Ralph. (Thanks again to Diane Rogers.)

Roy Thomson, founder of the newspaper and communications empire. You'll find Roy Herbert Thomson quite quickly, living on Isabella in Toronto.

Phyllis Munday, the legendary mountaineer, is shown as 16-year-old Phyllis James in Vancouver. The index is wrong -- it says she was born in England, while the image clearly says Ceylon. (Thanks again to Diane Rogers.)

Robert W. Service, author and poet (Cremation of Sam McGee, etc.). See see Robert W. Service in the Northwest Territories. Where else would he be?

Have you found other famous Canadians? Or you looking for some? Please let me know!


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