Doukhobor Genealogy Website  
 

Guide to Doukhobor Census Records

 

There is probably no other single group of records in existence which contain more information about Doukhobor immigrants than census records. Censuses count and describe the people of an area and contain valuable genealogical data about our Doukhobor ancestors. Censuses of Doukhobors have been taken by various governments for various purposes including taxation, electoral representation, homestead entry and exemption from military service. The following guide by Jonathan J. Kalmakoff describes Doukhobor census records in Canada - their historical background, dates, content, usefulness and reliability, availability and published indexes.

 

Index -- Canada Census - Village Census - Independent Census - Named Doukhobors Register

 


 

Canada Census

History

In accordance with The Census Act, the Government of Canada has taken a nationwide census of the population every ten years since 1871. Also, a census of the prairie provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta) was taken every ten years from 1906 to 1956. The purpose of the Canada Census is to determine population size and distribution, taxation, electoral representation, planning and resources. The 1901 Canada Census is the first national census to include the Doukhobors. 

Description

1901: Fourth decennial census. Doukhobor population of 7,740. Census day of 31 March 1901. Enumeration was to be completed within thirty days. Census conducted by 22 census enumerators (Census Commission, Department of Agriculture). Census organized by province and within provinces by district and sub-district. Census districts are electoral districts. Census lists the name, sex, color, relationship to head of household, marital status, date of birth, age at last birthday, place of birth, year of immigration, year of naturalization, nationality, religion, occupation, living on own means, employer, employee, working at trade in factory or home, months employed at trade, months employed at other profession, earnings for trade, extra earnings, months at school, ability to read, write and speak English, mother tongue and infirmities of each person. Census schedules are handwritten. Remarks: This census is incomplete as 2,811 Doukhobors in 23 villages refused to be enumerated. It contains duplicate entries for 1,021 Doukhobors in 9 villages. These villages were visited twice by census enumerators from adjoining sub-districts. 
 

1901 Canada census entry

1906: First quinquennial census. Doukhobor population of approximately 9,300. Census day of 24 June 1906. Enumeration was to be completed within thirty days. Census conducted by 673 census enumerators (Census and Statistics Office). Census organized by province and within provinces by district and sub-district. Census districts are electoral districts. Census lists the name, relationship to head of household, sex, marital status, color, age, birthplace, year of immigration, post office address and location and also all particulars relating to the farm land, crops and livestock of each person. Census schedules are handwritten. Remarks: This is the most detailed and complete census of Doukhobors available. 

Availability

The National Archives of Canada holds microfilm copies of the entire 1901 and 1906 Canada Census. Copies of microfilms may be obtained directly or through interlibrary loan from the National Archives. Many libraries and archives in Canada also hold microfilm copies of the Canada Census. You may also borrow microfilm copies of the Canada Census through your local LDS Family History Center. Digitized copies of the 1901 Canada Census and the 1906 Canada Census are available online from the National Archives. These databases are searchable by census district. 

The 1906 Canada Census is the last national census that is available to the public. Census returns subsequent to 1906 are closed under The Statistics Act, which contains strict confidentiality provisions that protect the information indefinitely. There are no exceptions in the legislation that permit disclosure of personal information from the census without the individual's written consent. Census records after 1906 have been microfilmed and are currently held by Statistics Canada. For information on efforts to have these census records released, visit the Post-1901 Census Project.

Indexes

The following indices have been prepared for Doukhobor villages in the Canada Census:

Kalmakoff, Jonathan. Index to Doukhobor Villages in the 1901 Census. This online index provides the census page number, sub-district, district and province of each Doukhobor village enumerated in the 1901 Canada Census. It also identifies the National Archives of Canada and LDS Family History Center microfilm number of each village. Researchers can use this index to locate Doukhobor villages in the microfilmed copy of the census.

Kalmakoff, Jonathan. Doukhobors in the 1901 Canada Census. ISBN 0-9730338-1-9 Available in September 2004, this 152-page book contains the name, date of birth, age and relationship to head of household of 4,929 Doukhobors enumerated in the 1901 Canada Census. Full bibliographic references and index.

Alberta Genealogical Society, Edmonton Branch, Index to the 1901 Census District of Saskatchewan (Edmonton, 2002). ISBN 1-55194-6-9. This 152 page book contains the name, date of birth and page of the original census list for each individual enumerated in the Saskatchewan census district. Note that the names appear as (mis-)spelt in the original census records.

Alberta Genealogical Society, Edmonton Branch, Index to the 1901 Census District of Assiniboia East (Edmonton, 2003). ISBN 1-55194-6-9. This 152 page book contains the name, date of birth and page of the original census list for each individual enumerated in the Saskatchewan census district. Note that the names appear as (mis-)spelt in the original census records.

 


 

Doukhobor Village Census  

History

In 1899, the Dominion Government reserved several large blocks of land for Doukhobors to select homesteads. Over the next seven years, entries were made for 2,383 Doukhobor homesteads comprising 422,800 acres of land. Much of this land was brought under communal cultivation by Doukhobors residing in villages. By 1905, however, a crisis arose when Community Doukhobors refused to apply for individual homestead patents. At the same time, a rush of new settlers demanded entry on unpatented Doukhobor lands, still Crown property. In response, the Department of the Interior dispatched a team of homestead inspectors to inspect all Doukhobor lands, determine whether or not improvements had been made, investigate irregularities and conduct a census of Doukhobor villages pursuant to The Dominion Lands Act. A census revision was conducted in 1911 and 1918. 

Description

1905: Doukhobor population of 9,198. Census conducted November 1905. Census conducted by J. Seale, D.C. McNab, J.B. White and J.S. Gibson (Homestead Inspectors, Department of the Interior). Census organized by Doukhobor reserve and within reserves by village. Census lists the name, age, sex, relationship to head of household and denomination (community or independent) of each person, the location of each homestead entered upon, the amount of cultivation on each homestead and the type and number of buildings, stock and equipment. Census schedules are typewritten. Remarks: Some parents gave false ages for their sons so that they would be eligible for homestead entry. Some Doukhobors refused to give their age. Scattered throughout the census are remarks about some of the persons.
 

1905 Doukhobor village census entry 

1911: Doukhobor population of 5,296. Census conducted July 1911. Census conducted by John Bowes (Inspector of Doukhobor Reserves, Department of the Interior). Census organized by Doukhobor reserve and within reserves by village. Census lists the name and denomination (community or independent) of each person. Census schedules are typewritten. Remarks: This census does not include Doukhobors residing on homesteads nor those residing outside Saskatchewan. 

1918: Doukhobor population of 1,447. Census conducted June 1918. Census conducted by John Bowes (Inspector of Doukhobor Reserves, Department of the Interior). Census organized by Doukhobor reserve and within reserves by village. Census lists the name, age and denomination (community or independent) of each person. Census schedules are typewritten. Remarks: This census does not include Doukhobors residing on homesteads nor those residing outside Saskatchewan. The 1918 Doukhobor village census should not be confused with the 1918 Independent Doukhobor census, a separate and distinct census record.

Availability

The National Archives of Canada holds microfilm copies of the Doukhobor village census. Copies of microfilms may be obtained directly or through interlibrary loan. [Microfilm Reel Nos. T-15532 to T-15535]. The British Columbia Archives also holds microfilm copies of the census, however, these are not available through interlibrary loan. [Microfilm Reel Nos. B-14197 to B-14200].

Indexes

The following indices have been prepared for the Doukhobor village census:

Kalmakoff, Jonathan. Index to the 1905, 1911 & 1918 Doukhobor Village Census. This online index provides the Department of the Interior file number for each Doukhobor village enumerated in the 1905, 1911 and 1918 census. It also shows the National Archives of Canada and British Columbia Archives microfilm number of each village. Researchers can use this index to locate Doukhobor villages in the microfilm copy of the census.

Lapshinoff, Steve. List of Doukhobors Living in Saskatchewan in 1905. (Crescent Valley: self-published, 1996). ISBN 0-9689180-3-4. This 262-page book contains the name, age and relationship to head of household of over 9,100 Doukhobors living in Saskatchewan village settlements in 1905. Full bibliographic references and index. 

 


 

Independent Doukhobor Census 

History

In 1916, the Society of Independent Doukhobors was formed for the purpose of preserving the military service exemption of its members during the First World War. In 1918, the Society sent a delegation to Ottawa where the Attorney-General assured them that the original exemption granted by Order-in-Council P.C. 2747 on December 6, 1898 was still valid and that Independent Doukhobors would be treated in the same manner as Community Doukhobors. In order to determine the number of Independent Doukhobors who qualified for military service exemption, the Attorney-General ordered the Society to conduct a census of its membership pursuant to The Military Service Act, 1917.  A census revision was conducted in 1924.

Description

1918: Doukhobor population of 5,794. Census conducted 15 September 1918 to 15 December 1918. Census conducted by Peter E. Verabioff and Alex E. Reilkoff (Executive, Society of Independent Doukhobors). Census organized by province and within provinces by district. Census districts are postal districts. Census lists the name, middle initial, sex, age at registration, date of birth, marital status and number of living children of each person. Census schedules are typewritten. Remarks: This census does not include Doukhobors belonging to the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood nor the Sons of Freedom. It contains some duplicate entries. The 1918 Independent Doukhobor census should not be confused with the 1918 Doukhobor village census, a seperate and distinct census record.

1924: Doukhobor population of 861. Census day of 19 August 1924. Census conducted by Peter E. Verabioff (President, Society of Independent Doukhobors). Census covers the district of Pelly, Saskatchewan. Census lists the name, age and relationship to head of household of each person. Census schedules are handwritten in Russian and typewritten in English. Remarks: This census does not include Doukhobors belonging to the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood nor the Sons of Freedom.

Availability

The Saskatchewan Archives Board, Regina Branch holds microfilm copies of the 1918 and 1924 Independent Doukhobor census. [Microfilm Reel No. R-2.46]. 

Indexes

The following index has been prepared for the 1918 and 1924 census of Independent Doukhobors: 

Kalmakoff, Jonathan. 1918 Census of Independent Doukhobors  (Regina: self-published, 2002). ISBN 0-9730338-0-0 This 187-page book contains the name, age, date of birth, marital status and number of children of 6,655 Independent Doukhobors living in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia in 1918 and 1924. Full bibliographic references and index. 

 


 

Named Doukhobors Register

History

In 1928, the Society of Named Doukhobors of Canada was formed by Peter P. Verigin for the purposes of uniting all Doukhobors in Canada. The Society promoted non-violence, acceptance of public education and accurate registration of births, deaths and marraiges. In 1930 and 1937, the Society compiled a detailed register of its members. While it was not intended to serve as a census, this register is an excellent census substitute.

Description

1930: Doukhobor population of 5,714. Registration day of 10 December 1930. Register compiled by 11 district delegates (Central Executive Committee, Society of Named Doukhobors of Canada). Register organized by district within the province of Saskatchewan. Register includes the name of the head of household, number of males, number of females, marital status and total number of persons per household. Register is typewritten in Russian. Remarks: This register only lists the name of the head of household. It does not list Doukhobors residing outside Saskatchewan. One page is missing from the original register.

1937: Doukhobor population of 5,564. Registration day of 1 May 1937. Register compiled by 52 district delegates (Central Executive Committee, Society of Named Doukhobors of Canada). Register organized by province and within provinces by district. Register includes the name and age of each person. Register is typewritten in English. Remarks: This register does not include Doukhobors belonging to the Society of Independent Doukhobors nor the Sons of Freedom.

Availability

The Saskatchewan Archives Board, Saskatoon Branch holds original copies of the 1930 Named Doukhobors of Canada register. [John G. Bondoreff Fonds, S-A 292, File I.30]. The British Columbia Archives holds microfilm copies of the 1937 Named Doukhobors of Canada register. [Attorney General Correspondence, File P291-17, Microfilm Reel No. B-7622]. 

Indexes

The following indices have been prepared for the Named Doukhobors of Canada registers:

Kalmakoff, Jonathan. Society of the Named Doukhobors of Canada, 1930 Saskatchewan Membership List. (Regina: self-published, 2004).  ISBN 0-9730338-2-7. This 61-page book contains the name of the head of household, number of males and females, ages and total number of persons per household for 1,142 Doukhobor households in Saskatchewan. Full bibliographic references and index. 

Lapshinoff, Steve. Society of the Named Doukhobors of Canada, 1937 Membership List. (Crescent Valley: self-published, 2001).  ISBN 0-9689180-6-9. This 154-page book contains the names and ages of 5,564 Doukhobors belonging to the Named Doukhobors of Canada in 1937. Full bibliographic references and index. 

 


 

Notes

Completeness

Sometimes census enumerators failed to complete the entire census form for each household. For example, some 1901 Canada census entries list the head of household only; some list persons by initials; and some omit dates of birth. The purpose of a census is also a limitation. Some census records focus on one specific group or interest and are not intended to be a complete tabulation of all Doukhobors. Sometimes Doukhobors refused to be enumerated by census takers. For example, 2,811 Doukhobors in 23 villages refused to be enumerated in the 1901 Canada census. Some Doukhobors also refused to be enumerated in the 1905 Doukhobor village census. Occasionally census records contain duplicate entries. For example, the 1901 Canada census contains duplicate entries for 1,021 Doukhobors in 9 villages. The 1918 Independent Doukhobor census also contains some duplicate entries. Note that duplicate entries do not always support each other. 

Accuracy

While census records contain some of the most valuable information available, they also contain false and misleading data. Mistakes were sometimes made by census enumerators while entering information. Census enumerators were not required to consult original records nor even to ask members of the household themselves to secure their data. They could and did question neighbours, small children and visiting relatives. Family members may themselves give incorrect information to census enumerators. Often Doukhobors did not know or remember and could only guess their age. Occasionally, Doukhobor parents gave false ages for their sons so that they would be eligible for homestead entry or ineligible for military service. Sometimes even if the data is correctly entered, the format is misleading. For example, children listed as sons and daughters of the head may be step-children or adopted. Researchers must critically evaluate and corroborate such data with other material to ensure accuracy.

Spelling

Many problems arise with the spelling and form of names in census records. Most Doukhobor immigrants were illiterate and did not know how to spell their own names. Those who were literate in Russian were not necessarily literate in English. Census enumerators who did not understand the Russian (or broken English) spoken by Doukhobor immigrants recorded the names phonetically the way they sounded. Many alternate spellings were recorded for the same name. For example, the surname Fofanov appears in the 1901 Canada census as Fofanoff, Fonfonoff, Fofonfo, Fofon, Fonfon, Fachwano, Fecheno, Hohanoff, Hochwano, Hochwanow, Hogheno and Whochwanow. Researchers must be able to recognize alternate spellings for the surnames they are looking for. Also, Doukhobors may be listed by their proper Russian name, a diminutive name or an adopted English name from one census to the next. 

Legibility

Worn and torn pages, faded or smudged ink, poor handwriting, and improper focus or exposure for microfilming all affect the legibility of census records, making them difficult to decipher. For example, the handwritten entries in the 1901 Canada census are often illegible. Sometimes pages may be microfilmed out of order or missing altogether. For example, one page was missed during the microfilming of the 1905 Doukhkobor village census by the British Columbia Archives.

 


 

Bibliography

  • British Columbia Archives, Attorney General Correspondence, File P291-17, Microfilm Reel No. B-7622.
  • British Columbia Archives, Department of the Interior Papers, Microfilm Reel Nos. 333A to 337A.
  • Canada. Fourth Census of Canada 1901, Instructions to Chief Officers, Commissioners and Enumerators (Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau, 1901).
  • Hillman, Thomas A. Catalogue of Census Returns on Microfilm, 1901 (Ottawa: National Archives of Canada, 1993).
  • Kalmakoff, Jonathan. 1918 Census of Independent Doukhobors (Regina: self-published, 2002).
  • Lapshinoff, Steve. List of Doukhobors Living in Saskatchewan in 1905 (Crescent Valley: self-published, 1996).
  • Lapshinoff, Steve. Society of the Named Doukhobors, 1937 Membership List (Crescent Valley: self-published, 2001).
  • National Archives of Canada, Department of the Interior Papers. Record Group 15, Volumes 1163-1168, Files 5391335, 5404640-5404692, 5412425-5412501, 5412973, Microfilm Reel Nos. T-15532 to T-15535.
  • National Archives of Canada, RG31, Statistics Canada, Microfilm Reel Nos. T-6431, T-6432, T-6434, T-6552 to T-6554.
  • Saskatchewan Archives Board, Regina Branch, Doukhobor Census, Microfilm Reel No. R-2.46.
  • Saskatchewan Archives Board, Saskatoon Branch, John G. Bondoreff Fonds, S-A 292, File I.30. Society of Named Doukhobors: Membership, 1928-1934.

This article was reproduced by permission in the Bulletin Vol 33 No 3 (Regina: Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, Sept. 2002).