Sunday, 27 March 2011

It's today - the 2011 Census England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

It's census day here in the UK.
I've just filled mine in on-line, but completed and saved my paper copy to go with my Fitz(-)henry research papers.

If the Government keep the paper records, the genealogists of the future will see that it was a hefty document, but for family history research purposes, it's probably less useful than the corresponding census in 1911. However, it will probably all be digitalised and then the paper copies pulped, so even the original handwriting and signatures will be lost.

What will genealogists be able to find out about me in a hundred years time?
They will be able to tell that I'm English, but nothing more geographically specific than that about where I was born.
Nothing about any children that I may have had, unless they are living with me at home (so back to the level of information from the 1901 census and before).
However, you can specifically link each member of the household with every other member of the household and not just the head, so you can see if children are step children, and who the resident aunt is the auntie of.

It asks a lot about the house I live in and a bit about what my health is like.
There's a voluntary question about whether I'm a Jedi Knight (only kidding - it's the one about religious affiliation that the more frivolous on-line community try to hijack)
It asks who I work for, what I do in that job, for how many hours a week and how I travel to my place of work.

And that's about it.

If you do your family history (and you probably do if you are reading this blog) then make a copy of all the information on your census and keep it for those who will come after you. Annotate it with the personal facts that make your family history interesting. And keep it safe, because otherwise it will be another 100 years before anyone will be able to get hold of that information again.

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