* Invitation to a census

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LornaCraig
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Invitation to a census

Post by LornaCraig » 22 Feb 2021 14:29

I was amused to receive a card with the mail today about the forthcoming UK census.

It says "You must complete the census by law"
followed by "Look out for your invitation pack in the post."

Invitation?
I'm glad most of my ancestors accepted the invitation.
Lorna

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NickWalker
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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by NickWalker » 22 Feb 2021 14:46

I think we've all become so paranoid about keeping our data protected, not trusting our government, etc. that there will be a lot of people who don't fill this in or put in false information. I'd guess a much higher number than in the past.
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LornaCraig
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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by LornaCraig » 22 Feb 2021 16:17

I'm sure you're right. But an "invitation" to obey the law is hardly likely to help!
Lorna

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AnneEast
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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by AnneEast » 22 Feb 2021 22:20

Haha! We noticed that too. More an instruction than an invitation I think!
Anne

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gwilym'smum
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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by gwilym'smum » 23 Feb 2021 08:10

Hi
The adverts don't give the impression that it is a legal requirement to fill in the form.
Ann
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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by Gowermick » 23 Feb 2021 09:50

NickWalker wrote:
22 Feb 2021 14:46
I think we've all become so paranoid about keeping our data protected, not trusting our government, etc. that there will be a lot of people who don't fill this in or put in false information. I'd guess a much higher number than in the past.
I helped out during the 2011 census, and to be honest I found very very few who didn’t/ wouldn’t fill it in. I think the threat of prosecution hanging over their head was enough to persuade most people with similar thoughts :D
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mjashby
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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by mjashby » 23 Feb 2021 10:47

Hmmm! Pardon the cynicism, but it seems to me that there's a significant difference between being required "by law" to fill in a Census Form, which the vast majority of people will comply with; and expecting them to provide wholly accurate information. I'm sure most, if not all, of us must have come across many Census forms which contain significant inaccuracies, if not deliberate lies. In the end the usefulness of the Census data to government, which is its primary purpose, is dependent on most people seeing the underlying purpose of the exercise and therefore providing 'good quality' information which isn't significantly distorted by examples of false data.

Was there really a religion named "Jedi" in 2011? It was apparently quite popular ;)

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David2416
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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by David2416 » 23 Feb 2021 13:25

I also worked on the 2011 Census, the take up rate is very high. Providing false information or failing to complete the Census rusults in, if prosecuted, a criminal record and a fine. The 'invitation' is whether to complete online (preferred) or to apply for the paper forms.

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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by NickWalker » 23 Feb 2021 13:50

It depends what you call very high. This article suggests that 6.1% of the population were missed by the 2011 census which would be about 3.8 million people. This article suggests the numbers prosecuted for non completion were tiny. There will also be a significant number of people who entered inaccurate data.

Over the last 10 years people have definitely become much more aware of data protection, online privacy, etc. and may well be much more reluctant to type in their personal data. Websites warn us about cookies, we are far more aware of how companies like Facebook and Google use our data for advertising, etc. so I would expect more people to not enter accurate data or not complete the census. It also depends on how well advertised this is and how much the historical importance and the privacy aspects are promoted.

As a family historian I will of course be filling in the census with complete accuracy and wondering whether any of my descendants will be reading through the data in 100 years time.
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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 23 Feb 2021 14:14

Nick, our descendants (well, not mine, unless cloning technology advances considerably in the next 10 years) will tap their left forehead to activate the embedded intfasearcher, then perform an interpretive dance to specify the search parameters, and tap their right forehead to add the results to their magic family tree.

Which will be at least as accurate as current <specify your hated online tree option> here.

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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by NickWalker » 23 Feb 2021 14:24

:)

I used to think there would be so much data about us compared to the past because of all the databases we're on, but the data protection rules, etc. mean that actually most data is deleted. For example, I can go back and look at the admissions registers for schools that my grandparents and parents attended and I expect even my data is in an archive somewhere. But most schools now will be expected to delete data about pupils within a few years of them leaving.
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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by AdrianBruce » 23 Feb 2021 15:34

... and in all seriousness, privacy concerns are part of the reason why most* countries don't have surviving censuses for their genealogists to work with.

* I have no quantification nor citation (generic or templated ;) ) for saying "most" but my impression is that's true.
Adrian

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LornaCraig
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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by LornaCraig » 23 Feb 2021 15:41

ColeValleyGirl wrote:
23 Feb 2021 14:14
unless cloning technology advances considerably in the next 10 years
Now that will be a challenge for Gedcom. Is a clone a descendant? or a twin?
Lorna

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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by Mark1834 » 23 Feb 2021 15:59

We only have to look at the different attitudes to online access to Civil Registration data across the five main national authorities in the British Isles to see how variable interpretation of privacy and data protection is. Data protection has come a long way - I remember about 15 years ago I worked as a volunteer co-ordinating some work for a national sports charity. About every six months, they would e-mail me a complete data dump of the national membership - about 40,000 names and addresses - as a simple zipped CSV file without even basic password protection, so we could arrange local mailings. Slightly dubious even then, but a very large fine today.

I will be 100% honest with the Census, as I am with other "official" sites, but be honest - who these days would use completely accurate personal details for sites where it "doesn't matter"...?
Mark Draper

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NickWalker
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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by NickWalker » 23 Feb 2021 16:26

Yes when I record the username and password for a website in my password vault software I also record the made-up date of birth, first pet's name, place of birth, mother's maiden name, etc. that I've invented if asked for that kind of information which is also different for every site.
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ColeValleyGirl
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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 23 Feb 2021 16:58

NickWalker wrote:
23 Feb 2021 16:26
first pet's name
I pity future researchers who will find that my first pet had several zillion names and none of them was Sally...

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NickWalker
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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by NickWalker » 23 Feb 2021 17:18

They'll assume your real name was Noah.
Naamah, surely. Or possibly Emzara.

More research needed -- and primary contemporary sources are very hard to come by.

Whoops... I seem to have edited Nick's post rather than my reply. Luckily I'd quoted him.
Nick Walker
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AdrianBruce
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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by AdrianBruce » 23 Feb 2021 17:18

Mark1834 wrote:
23 Feb 2021 15:59
... Data protection has come a long way. ...
Yes, I remember standing in front of the very loud, impact printer as it ran off BR's payslips on a Tuesday night - we were honoured guests because we were looking after the implementation of our system, so "Come and look at this", they said. They did make sure we didn't linger but to be honest - payslips of people you don't know are fairly boring, so we didn't want to linger, and we did know that we shouldn't say anything...
Adrian

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Re: Invitation to a census

Post by gwilym'smum » 24 Feb 2021 08:24

Hi
If you look at the history of the census the worry over "data protection" (wasn't called that then) has always been an objection to there being a census. this is why there wasn't one until 1801 and why there nearly wasn't one in 1951.
Ann
Researching Mayer, Parr/Parr, Simcock, Beech and all related families

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