1831 Census of Lower Canada
Kamouraska County

(now Kamouraska County and part of Rivière-du-Loup County, Québec)

In 1831 the provincial government of Lower Canada (Bas-Canada) undertook a head-of-household census of the province. The transcription on this site includes the returns from the county of Kamouraska, and includes Rivière du Loup, Rivière Ouelle, and Ste-Anne-de-la-Pocatière.


Transcription of "Census Returns, 1831 Census of Lower Canada" for Kamouraska County
(National Archives of Canada, microfilm reel number C-720)

This is a transcription of the returns of the 1831 Census of Lower Canada (Québec) for Kamouraska County. It covers 57 pages and includes seven townships: Fief Terrebois (Rivière-du-Loup); St. André; St. Louis; St. Paschal; Rivière-Ouelle; Ste-Anne; and Ixworth. This is an area that is currently included in the Québec counties of Kamouraska and Rivière-du-Loup.

The census original is in French; since the goal of the transcription project is an exact copy of the transcription, the transcriptions and abbreviations used in this transcription are in the original French. This means that names are included the way they are spelled. In places where I was unsure because of the handwriting, I include a [?]. Often the number of people living in a household under the "total" column differed from the sum of the numbers in the columns for that household. I have maintained these discrepancies in order to reproduce an exact copy of the original.

The page on "Key to Column Headings" provides a translation of the categories used in the census (the original French version is at Clef des titres de colonnes); on another page I have provided translations into English of the occupations listed in the census, as well as other French words and terms that are used in the census.

Why is the census of Kamouraska part of a web site devoted to the Upper St.John River Valley in New Brunswick and northern Maine? Because a large part of the population of that valley (including many of my own ancestors) migrated from Kamouraska to what was then called Madawaska in the early and middle part of the 1800s. I therefore thought it would be useful and interesting to include this census on the website.

One of the questions that I am still researching and have not yet found definitive answers to is, why did people move from Kamouraska to Madawaska? One answer is geographic, that is, the main road from the St. Lawrence to Madawaska, passing along Lake Témiscouata, originated in Kamouraska, which made it relatively easy to move the approximately 130 kilometers (78 miles). Given that the territory in question was until 1842 disputed between the United States and Great Britain (see my page on the border dispute), this movement may also have been related to that dispute. An additional factor may have been the 1837 uprising against the British, although migration from Kamouraska to Madawaska began long before that uprising. All of these are however just conjectures. If you have further information on this question I'd love to hear from you.

The 1831 census was a head of household census; that is, it listed the names only of heads of household. Other information collected included the number of persons living in the household, broken down into two age categories for children under 15; 5 age categories for men; and 3 age categories for women. The age categories for adults were further broken down into "married" and "unmarried" columns. Additional information collected about each household included disabled individuals; religion; occupation of head of household; land owned and cultivated; amount harvested of 8 different crops (wheat, peas, barley, oats, rye, maize (corn), potatoes, and buckwheat); the number of livestock owned (cattle, horses, pigs, sheep), and the wages paid to laborers. It thus provides an interesting and detailed window into the lives of the inhabitants of that time.

See my page on the "Key to Column Headings" for an explanation and translation into English of the abbreviations and the column headings used in the census. (For the original French of the column headings, go to "Clef des titres de colonnes".)

Each household's information is contained on two pages. In the microfilm version, and in this transcription as well, each household's returns covers two pages. In the original there is only one page number for both pages. In this transcription, they are marked with the page number as well as "première partie" (first part), and "deuxième partie" (second part). Be sure to check both pages (labeled "première partie" and "deuxième partie") for the complete info. To facilitate this, at the end of each household's returns on the first page I have included a link to the top of the second part of that page with the words "continué ci-dessous" (continued below).

Please note: The comments that the census taker listed under "Observations Générales" (General Observations) are translated into English in pop-boxes. Just put the cursor over the comment and you will see the English translation in the popup box. (The popups require that your browser has JavaScript)



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Last revised 24 Jul 2003
© 2003 C. Gagnon