First, a personal note, my family is looking for anecdotes, photos, or anything, really, regarding Loi Dat (“Happy”) Yip (來逹葉) who lived in the village of Lucky Lake, Saskatchewan for decades from the 1920s to 1970s. I suspect he was also known as “the only Chinese” guy in the town. If you have anything, please leave a comment or send me an email.
Earlier this year, the 1921 Census information for Canada was released to the public – it’s available from Ancestry.ca for free. I think Ancestry.ca signed a deal with the government for exclusive access in exchange for digitization and web publishing services.
I had easy success looking up some relatives who had lived in Vancouver at the time of this census. It was straight forward enough. However, I had to learn a little history in order to find the census records for a random tiny village in Saskatchewan.
I ran into this new to me “meridian” and “range” and “township” notation. This great CNR map from 1900 which lists most towns and the grid for the range and townships in Saskatchewan – I actually found this after finding my prize town; but using this is much easier than the semi-educated guessing and testing that I had done. In researching this blog post, I’ve found this Wikipedia page that describes the Dominion Land Survey which created this grid. The first Meridian is just west of Winnipeg. This all might be common knowledge to those in the prairies, but it certainly was new to me.
What I actually did, was use this very rough map of SK. I was pretty sure Lucky Lake would fall into 3rd Meridian; I further guesstimated the range to be in the 8-12 range of the 3rd Meridian. Townships run from 1 to 64-72 in SK, from south to north, depending on the tree line. I tried a few random pages to figure out Lucky Lake’s range in the low 20’s area.
If you are from Lucky Lake, or are looking for the village of Lucky Lake in the census, you can view the first page here. Province: Saskatchewan. District: Kindersley. Sub-district: 01. Page 14 (towards the bottom), 15, and 16. Unfortunately, my ancestor, Mr. Yip, isn’t listed… I’m not too surprised, the timeline wasn’t quite right for his arrival. I have much higher hopes for the 1931 census. Again, if you happen to know anything about Great Grandpa Yip, please get in touch.
Fun side discovery: Have a look at page 27 of this scan of the original instructions to the 1921 Census Enumerators, here. There are a LOT of languages there that I’ve never heard of before!