Census and other things

Filling in the census form this year was so easy it was not true – online that is. I looked at the form with its many pages and little boxes for each letter and groaned – individual boxes slows down the writing to frustration level for me. However, help was readily available on the website. A quick fill in of the online registration number and we were off. It was simply a matter of clicking little boxes and if you got something wrong it was easy to go back and correct the mistake. Most impressive of all was the ability to be able to tick multiple boxes, should it apply. For example, I rated myself as both Scottish and British for nationality – (apologies to my late English Father )- I have lived in Scotland for nearly 50 years now.

The “modern” census has been carried out every 10 years since the early 19th century, apart from during the 2nd World War. The information changes slightly each time, but is supposed to help governments with all sorts of planning and organisational strategies. The information is due to be kept secret for 100 years, thus we are awaiting the release of details from the 1911 census later in the year. It’s a fantastic resource for people researching family history. There’s a special thrill in finding the page of a document which lists all the family members and visitors residing or staying over on a certain night in a dwelling long ago. It makes me want to know more about those people. Needless to say I get diverted by other things – especially technology.

The Birthday Month is coming to its glorious close, the special event today being the collection of a special piece of kit, guaranteed to keep me happy for many an hour. It is black and shiny and very slim and smaller than A4…… so I am off to play.

What do you think about censuses in general? Helpful or intrusive? Bothersome or worth it for posterity?

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4 Responses to Census and other things

  1. Freda, you hit me where I live. I worked on the US censuses for 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010, and if you think it is a pain to fill out, you should see all the give and take behind the scenes. In the US we have 7 zillion nationalities, and they cannot all get a separarte line on the census or it would be more rediculously long than it is. Think I am kidding? We have over 1,000 Indian tribes and immigrants from everywhere. Even the people we end up coding “English” are not simple. Believe it or not, the ethnicity most often mentioned in the US census is German in some form like Bavarian, etc. Obviously, I worked on race and ethnic and foreign born questions. I got to know several of your UK demograpers over the years. I love the UK census form it is so straightforward. Dianne

    Trivia question. Do you know which country had the first census? Answer: The US in 1790, just after the American Constitution was enacted.

  2. Mina says:

    We thoroughly enjoyed doing the paper version – lots of comments to and fro then it was a question of thank goodness we do not have 3 offspring to have to enter on the form! The best bit was in respect of languages – yes I do speak English and Scots, also read and write them. I felt quite proud of being able to enter these though the Boss was a bit unsure on this until I pointed out that broad Fife Coast language did count in some way to being a spoken Scots language even though many do not understand him – un less they too are Fifers. I am all in favour of the census.

  3. Unlike you Freda I filled in my form on paper, and much to my surprise found it very straightforward and simple. John had always filled in previous ones so I expected something much worse.
    I am still unwilling to put any additional information about myself on-line.
    As for its usefullness, I think for anyone interested in their ancestors it is a Godsend (even if he uses the Civil Service his wonders to perform), and anyone interested in population growth or similar subjects has half their work done for them. So all-in-all quite a useful tool.

  4. Cloudia says:

    a necessary duty, intrusive, fascinating.

    Aloha to you
    from Honolulu!

    Comfort Spiral



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