Friday, February 25, 2011

No census for you

We all know the pain of discovering that there is no census for us. No, our ancestors lived in jurisdictions that didn't keep their census returns, like Ireland or New Zealand. Or the census was either never taken, like England in 1941, or their records were collateral damage in wartime. Sometimes even we just get desperately unlucky and find our ancestors were living in the small pockets around the country where the census records for that year have perished or are inexplicably missing.

Our knowledge and understanding of our ancestors' lives are enriched by these records - a happy byproduct of the original purpose of the census, to gather statistical data for future planning. As genealogists we actually get excited about completing our modern-day census returns, contributing to this process and leaving behind this official record, just as our ancestors did.

The New Zealand 2011 census has been cancelled in the wake of the latest earthquake to devastate the city of Christchurch. There is no census for us. I'll be completing my forms anyway (I had been looking forward to doing this online, but the old-fashioned way will suffice), and filing them away along with a copy of this article announcing the cancellation. It's a pretty sad relic of this year to leave behind.


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