New citation references 1921 Canada census

I have recently researched in the indexed 1921 Canada census at and note that film numbers are not part of the citations. Instead, RG 31 and a folder number are cited. I have seen this in four citations so far.

If this is the case, the new citation reference details for the 1921 Canada census might need to be included in a future reprinting of EE.

Submitted byEEon Sat, 11/02/2013 - 18:43


Thank you for your suggestion. When film numbers are not cited by an online provider such as Ancestry, it may (or may not) be because film numbers do not exist. Two basic issues are involved here. Fortunately in both cases, they are relatively easy matters for us to deal with. 

  1. Some film is made for preservation purposes rather than being issued as a publication; that preservation film may or may not be numbered by the repository that created it;
  2. We cite what we use.

EE 3.17–3.19 cover the basics of Issue 1. You may also have noticed that 9.46 offers examples of records  from the same repository that holds the originals of the census you consulted online: the Library and Archives Canada. In the examples at 9.46, the citations identify a specific roll number because LAC has numbered those film series. However, LAC holds other preservation film collections that do not carry an accession number. 

Archival variances in the numbering (or not numbering) of their film collections are also complicated by the fact that online providers such as Ancestry may have made their images from the film or, increasingly today, may have digitally imaged the originals. If our provider made images directly from the original documents, then the provider would be correct in citing the record group (RG) name and number from that archives as Ancestry has done here. The provider would be expected to cite the film number only if that is what the provider used.

As users, how can we be certain that we cite each situation correctly? Always, as you have, we study whatever the provider gives us-—both the digital image and the source identification or background discussion. Then, we resort to No. 2 above: We cite what we use. In this case, the material to which you have linked would call for a citation to Ancestry's database, as opposed to the census itself, followed by "citing ________." The blank would then be filled in with the essentials you draw from Ancestry's lengthy source identification.