Systematic understandings of the past and long-term and comparative analysis of Canadian society and economy rely critically on databases that convey individual-level evidence about large numbers of people. The 1891 project contributes to an unprecendented expansion of Canadian research infrastructure in this area. An important milestone was the release in 2003 of the Canadian Families Project sample of the 1901 census. The next year Lisa Dillon at the Université de Montréal published a complete count database from the 1881 Canadian census; Dillon is now preparing a sample from the 1852 census. In 2009 the multi-university Canada Century Research Infrastructure Project (CCRI) is expected to release public use samples from the 1911, 1921, 1931, 1941 and 1951 censuses. Guelph’s Historical Data Research Unit also is preparing a sample of the 1871 census. The new historical microdata together with Statistics Canada data from modern censuses beginning in 1971 will permit an analysis of individuals in their collective context over the long sweep of 150 years.
The 1891 project collaborates with projects and centres such as the Minnesota Population Center’s North Atlantic Population Project, the UK Data Archive (History), the Norwegian Historical Data Centre, the Norwegian Digital Archives, the University of Umeå Center for Population Studies, Programme de recherche en démographie historique, FamilySearch’s Historical Family Reconstitution group, the Canada Century Research Infrastructure Project and the International Institute for Social History.n