The first part part of this series using the online census databases provided by viHistory will check the 1881 Census return for William Brown who was killed in an accident in 1882; it will also show the 1891 census return for his wife Margaret and the remaining family.
To get to the search form you have to select Census from the top navigation on the home page. On the next select the census date i.e. 1881, then on the next page select "Search the database".
The above image is the basic search form. I have enter in Brown, then William; check to see that the 1881 census is ticked. I am then faced with a 'test' before it will let me proceed. I have about a 50/50 success rate with these challenges.
The first page of results has given those people with the name William Brown. It also gives their age which is useful in this case; I know that my William is 34 or 35 and from Nanaimo. I also know that he was killed in an accident on the railways.
To the extreme right of the image is the 'Family number'. In this case I click on number 98.
The final page gives William Brown with his wife Margaret. If I click on each name I get a page with further information about the individual. I see that both parents were born in Scotland. The three oldest were born in Ontario while the youngest was born in British Columbia. Everything appears to fit so far. I now intend to post on the Rootsweb Message Board for Hamilton, Ontario.
For this search I just went back to the basic search form, changed the first name to Margaret and ticked the census for 1891. I was given a small list of Margaret Browns. The one whose age was 50 was the only fit. I then clicked the 'Family number' and obtained the following result:
Margaret Brown 50 Homemaker;
Isabel Brown 22 Teacher;
William Brown 20 Carpenter;
Margaret Brown 11;
Elizabeth Brown 9
Thomas Brown who would be 24, is not included in the list. Also, note the slight variation in names for the children.
Reference: link to the viHistory website that provides these databases