Applying filters to the census data

This search tool allows researchers to isolate subsets of the population of the census region to which it is applied. To our knowledge it is the only census database searchable in this fashion on the internet. Currently we have applied it to the Yale District (southern interior) of British Columbia, Canada for both the 1881 and 1891 Canada Censuses. If the subset of population is of manageable size one can also identify individuals in the subset. Users should consider using this search tool in conjunction with the Browse and Name Search tools which are also available on the Living Landscapes census site. All following examples use the 1881 Canada Census.


Instructions for use of filters


1881 Canada Census 1891 Canada Census

  • Selecting an initial field:

    This search tool allows the user to select any field that appears in the relevant census by clicking on to that field from a pull-down Plot Field menu, and then plotting that field. Note that in the 1881 Canada Census the following fields can be plotted:

    • Location
    • Sub location (Native communities only)
    • Family name
    • First name
    • Initials
    • Sex
    • Age
    • Birthplace
    • Religion
    • Marital status
    • Relationship to head of household
    • Origin (National)
    • Occupational number (ignore)
    • Occupational code (assigned by Living Landscapes)
    • Occupational description
    • Infirm (?)
    • House / Vessel / Shanty
    • Schooling (attending?)
    • House number (a new sequence for each location)
    • Family number (a new sequence for each location)
    • Comments
    • Record Number (a district-wide sequence assigned by Living Landscapes).

    The default field is Location. The program is designed to find, and present in graphical and numerical format, all of the unique responses within that field, that is, all of the different locations in the Yale District are presented with representations of the number of individuals in that location. For example, using the 1881 census, location B2 Lytton-Kamloops has within it 2298 records of persons. To select one of those locations, choose one of two methods:

    1. Double click on the blue square on the left of the green bar which represents individuals in B2 Lytton-Kamloops . This will filter out all other locations. Note that the words B2 Lytton-Kamloops will appear in the Location Box on the left side of the screen.
    2. One can also enter information in the Location Box, or amend a description in the box to modify the location. This search tool will search for any string of characters. For example, by entering the character string B2, and then clicking on the Plot button, one can display B2 Lytton-Kamloops.

      This second method provides added flexibility. If one desires to isolate the residents in all Lytton-Kamloops districts, one would enter only the character string Kamloops , and then click on the Plot button. This would select and display three locations: B1 Lytton-Kamloops, B2 Lytton-Kamloops and B3 Lytton-Kamloops.

  • Using the Cutoff Box:

    Please note the Cutoff Box near the Plot button. This box has a default value of 2, chosen because a user may not want to be concerned about items with only one occurrence. This value can be changed to any value, however if one wants to identify individuals it is necessary to change this value to 1.


  • Applying successive filters:

    After one filter has been applied, a user may apply as many other filters as required. Use the pull-down menu to select a second field (or type into the appropriate box on the left of the screen a string of characters to identify the selected field) and plot. Additional filters may be applied in the same manner. Variations on this method are best indicated by using the following examples of selecting exact matches and selecting a range of items.


  • Selecting exact matches:

    Assume that B2 Lytton-Kamloops has been chosen as the Location, and the Sub-Locations have been plotted. All of the Sub-Locations within B2 Lytton-Kamloops will be listed. Now, double click on the blue square opposite Scoffa. Note that two items, Scoffa and Scoffa alk taken nit, are displayed because both have within them the character string Scoffa. To isolate only the Sub-Location, Scoffa, enter an "=" character in the Sub-Location box before the string Scoffa to read =Scoffa and Plot. The "=" character is an instruction to select items which have only this string of characters.


  • Selecting a range of items:

    It is sometimes possible to select ranges of items. To continue with the above example, suppose the intent is to isolate an individual Record Number or a range of Record Numbers within the Scoffa Sub-Location. After changing the value in the Cutoff Box to 1, pull down the Plot Field menu and select RECNUM (Record Number) and Plot. Note that 28 Record Numbers, representing 28 individuals, are listed in the range 5142 - 5169. (To select one of these items, double click on the blue square associated with the desired number. Full details of that individual will appear on the left.) To select a range of Record Numbers one of three symbols may be applied:


    1. To select a range of individuals, double click on the blue square corresponding to one of the record numbers (e.g. 5165). Enter the character ">" (more than) before the numerical character string in the RECNUM Box to read >5165, and Plot. This will return Record Numbers 5166 through 5169.
    2. The "<" (less than) character can be used in a similar fashion. Entering and plotting <5165 will return Record Numbers 5142 to 5164.
    3. Another way to return a range is to separate numbers with two dots. For example, to obtain the above result, enter 5142..5164 in the RECNUM Box and Plot.
1881 Canada Census 1891 Canada Census


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