Automated Genealogy

When they give out the awards for well-designed, comprehensive and truly useful making public data public[er] web applications, can someone please make sure that Automated Genealogy gets one.

This volunteer-produced website took on the truly amazing task of transcribing the 5.6 million lines of the 1901 Census of Canada and making the result freely available, with links to the original documents, in an easy-to-use web search. Not only that, but they’re closing in on completing the 1911 Census of Canada too.

Not only is the scale of such a volunteer effort a testament to the tenacity of genealogists with a mission, the interface to the data is stellar example of how very “Web 1.0” techniques, combined with no need to accommodate advertisers or graphic designers, can lead to a very usable web application.

I found my great-grandmother’s sister and brother-in-law, for example, about 15 seconds after arriving at the site. The search is easy to use and provides clear results, with helpful sound-alike suggestions, and there are hyperlinks galore, linking everything to everything else (the fact that is remarkable says a lot about how un hyperlinked a lot of modern web content is).

Another search, and I found the eight (!) residents of 100 Prince Street in 1911:

1901 Census Clip

If you’re curious about Canadian ancestors who would have been in the country in either 1901 or 1911, Automated Genealogy should be your first stop.


Dico's picture
Dico on January 9, 2007 - 22:07 Permalink

How did you do a search on 100 Prince Street? I’d like to search on 96 Hillsborough.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 9, 2007 - 22:41 Permalink

They don’t support an address search because (I think) the address data isn’t part of what was transcribed.

I knew what the likely last names were by looking up our address in the City of Charlottetown’s database and then I did a last name search on each.

The City’s data for 96 Hillsborough has John Lemuel Phillips as resident in the 1880s, David Schurman in 1919.

Searching the Automated Genealogy site for Schurman, you get this search result and clicking on “split view” at the top of that page will show you the original PDF, which has him at 96 Hillsborough.

Dico's picture
Dico on January 10, 2007 - 02:00 Permalink

Thats pretty neat. I wonder what those people were doing in this house 106 years ago tonight?

Denis Delisle's picture
Denis Delisle on March 24, 2009 - 23:59 Permalink

To all the folks that worked to put this site together,you are amazing!!!I’ve searched all over the Internet looking for my grand mother’s family(two and a half days to be exact).I stumbled on this site and it only took me a few minutes!!!! Thank You!Thank You!!

Claire's picture
Claire on January 20, 2011 - 01:25 Permalink

Hi I am trying to trace my family tree, but have had no luck so far, can’t even find the name listed anywhere. CARPAN. Also, NOR-MUN. No records of these names. Can anyone help me? Thx Claire