Sunday, March 27, 2011

Census 2011

I’ve completed our census form on line this morning which was both quick and simple. This set me musing about the reaction of my great-grand-children when they get to see it in 100 years time and how it compared with the ones we’re used to from the 19th and early 20th century. Having completed it on-line my descendants will not get a chance to see just how bad my writing is which is possible with the English census for 1911 where the household schedules survived. There will however be no need to transcribe those schedules completed electronically before they can be indexed which should make for fewer mistakes.

Regrettably there’ll be no information about place of birth beyond the fact that I was born in Scotland and there are no middle names but they will get date of birth not just an age, it was chastening to see that the public exams that I (and thousands of others of my and my daughter's generation) took as a 15 year old in England - GCE O-Level (General Certificate of Education, Ordinary Level and the qualification that A-Levels are more advanced than) was merely “any other similar qualification”.

The question (in Scotland) about language where the choices were English, Scots and Gaelic did have me wondering about the point at which a dialect becomes a separate language. If Scots why not Yorkshire?

The first comments about returning the completed form by post appeared in the papers at least a fortnight ago. It looks as though another trap for our unwary descendants will be the people who were born or died between the actual census date and the return of the forms.

I must have completed 4 census returns since I left home but the only one I remember at all is 1971 when I was an Enumerator. We got £50 of which £20 (I think) was classified as expenses and thus not taxed. Not a fortune even thenbut welcome as I was not long married, our daughter had just been born and we were about to buy our first house.

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