‘Fresh Eyes’ Could Be a Genealogy Theme Song

The 1926 census in Canada covered the Provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. I was very excited and counted down to its release. Other than my husband’s family my mother’s grandparents were living in Saskatchewan in 1926. We all know that census is a wonderful resource, adding context and details to our ancestor’s lives.

I easily located my mother’s paternal family when the census was released but locating her maternal line had me stymied. Her mother’s name Margaret Wilma Harrop who would have been 14 years old and my mother’s grandfather William Harrop would have been 76. I had searched using every variation of the surname Harrop I could think of, nothing. I also tried browsing through the census records for Balcarres where I know the family resided. Again, no luck.

Sometimes, a person needs to walk away and leave the research and then come back for a second look with ‘fresh eyes’. So this is what I did. Recently I again did a search for the surname Harrop at Library and Archives Canada website in their census returns, I even tried searching Harr* but with so many results I was quickly discouraged.

And here is where the fresh eyes come in. Every record, every news article has the family living in Balcarres but I decided to check where they were living in the 1921 census. The location of their farm at 1-21-12-W2 was listed in the census in the Twp. of Abernethy in the District of Melville…WHAT?? I have never heard of this place, the family went to church in Balcarres, the kids attended school in Balcarres, but the census located the family in the District of Abernethy.

Ok, so obviously this is something I had completely overlooked but that can happen. I went back to the Library and Archives website, looked found that Abernethy was district 39 and after scrolling through this town I found them! They had been transcribed as having the surname HARROF.

Harrop family 1926 census, Abernathy, Melville district sub dist 39

William & Rachel Harrop with their children Walter, Dorothy, Wilma and hired hands Anthony Nicholson & Trassey Spool. Living in the Twp. of Abernethy in Saskatchewan, 1926

I hope this gives you hope and hints on locating your family in the sometimes tricky census records!


  1 comment for “‘Fresh Eyes’ Could Be a Genealogy Theme Song

  1. Yvonne Brennan
    December 22, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    I am a Labrecque would really like some help in discovering history . Namaste Yvonne


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