Historical Canadian Censuses and Quebec Civil Registers: An Assessment of Linked Datasets to Compare Population Microdata


  • Jean-Sébastien Bournival Université du Québec à Chicoutimi
  • Marc St-Hilaire Université Laval
  • Hélène Vézina Université du Québec à Chicoutimi


Data from the seven nominative Canadian censuses from 1851 to 1911 have recently been linked to the vital events found in the BALSAC database in the context of the creation of the Integrated Infrastructure of Historical Microdata of the Population of Quebec (IMPQ). These linked datasets offer a great opportunity to carry a critical evaluation of the sources and to comprehensively assess their reliability over a long and significant period of time. No major issues pertaining to their registration were found and the comparison confirmed both the reliability and the complementarity of the datasets. The portrait of people found in one source only suggests that missed matches are mostly explained by mobility and gaps in the coverage of some subgroups in the civil registers. 

Author Biographies

Jean-Sébastien Bournival, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi

Jean-Sébastien Bournival is a PhD candidate at Université Laval. 

Marc St-Hilaire, Université Laval

Marc St-Hilaire is Professor in the Department of Geography and director of the Centre interuniversitaire d’études québécoises (CIEQ), Université Laval. 

Hélène Vézina, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi

Hélène Vézina is Professor in the Department of Human and Social Sciences and director of the BALSAC Project at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.