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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Changes in the Canada census impact genealogical research

Posted by Dawn-Ann on July 1, 2010

Time to start keeping our own records for future generations of family researchers

The genealogical community is abuzz with news that the long form of the Canada census has been tossed. As of next year’s census, 2011, everyone will receive just the short form to fill out. A voluntary “survey” will be sent out to about a third of households.

Folks who are not involved in genealogy are celebrating.  Many found the long form, which only one in five households were asked to fill out in any given year, were onerous and intrusive.  As a matter of fact, one Saskatchewan woman is doing battle in court over her refusal to fill out the long form.

But genealogists are less than pleased. For years, census data has offered important clues in family history research. An Edmonton Journal article says, “A door to Canada’s past has slammed shut, leaving future Canadians with little information about their own families and the country’s history, in a move the government says was prompted by privacy concerns.” This is exactly the kind of discussion I’m hearing in the genealogical circle.

Canadian census records are released to the public after 92 years for privacy reasons. The results of the voluntary “survey” will never be released to the public.

I have found some very valuable family information in census records. They brought my ancestors to life – I could see all the brothers and sisters, their ages, their neighbors, their father’s occupation. It’s sad that future researchers will come up against a brick wall on similar research.

I suppose that’s all the more reason for us to be writing out our own histories and gathering information together for future generations. Thank goodness for those of us who are the family “archivists” and story gatherers!


4 Responses to “Changes in the Canada census impact genealogical research”
  1. Lynnette says:

    I’m happy to hear they have gotten rid of the long form. I get the stupid thing EVERY time. Pissed me off so much that I made stuff up to put on it.

    None of the stuff they were asking was any of the gov’t's business. I’m sorry that it will make things harder for archivists and genealogists but not sorry enough to ever want that thing shoved down my throat again.

  2. Dawn-Ann says:

    Great to hear from you, Lynnette. I am actually of two minds on this because I have often felt the same way about it. And like I said, there are other ways we can leave information for our future generations. I personally have started a huge binder (it’s more like four huge binders now) of papers, letters, calendars, etc., from my life, all in chronological order.

    You’re doing your part by scrapbooking! :)

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