“Beyond 2011” Census Consultation
The Government is considering options for gathering information in future, which may involve an end to the Census, which has been held every ten years (with one exception) since 1801.
The Federation of Family History Societies has submitted its comments on the relevant parts of an online questionnaire on the subject. You can see them below.
The consultation is open until 13 December 2013. Individuals and organisations are all welcome to take part. If you would like to see more information, these are the links to use:
FFHS Archives Liaison
25 November 2013
These are the responses made by the Federation of Family History Societies to the four questions in the survey that are most relevant to the needs of family historians.
1. What are your views of the different census approaches described in the consultation document?
Unless there is to be a 100% population register, which appears to be unlikely, it is essential that a 100% census continues to take place at least as often as every 10 years. This is the only way to ensure that it is fully representative of all sections of the population and can be an effective basis for a comprehensive record of the population for future family history and other research.
6. Please specify any significant uses of census information for historical research that we have not already identified.
The recording of names in full is essential to assist the positive identification of individuals when carrying out family history and biographical research after the information reaches the public domain. It is of particular importance to the descendants of relatively recent arrivals in this country who may come from places relatively poorly served by surviving records of individuals.
7. What advantages or disadvantages for genealogical or historical research can you see from a move to a solution based on archiving administrative sources?
The main disadvantage of doing this as an alternative to a 100% snapshot is that an unrepresentative caste of individuals are liable to be excluded. For instance, this may disproportionately affect those who have recently arrived in the country or whose stay is relatively short-term, thus discriminating against some sections of society more than others.
9. Are there any other issues that you believe we should be taking into account?
The question about place of birth should ask for the town or village and district as well as the country. This will help positively identify individuals when carrying out family history and biographical research after the information reaches the public domain. It is of particular importance to the descendants of relatively recent arrivals in this country who may have come from places relatively poorly served by surviving records of individuals. In some cases, it will be the only chance to permanently record the precise origin of individuals, so enabling their descendants to discover key aspects of their heritage.