Well, I just completed the MANDATORY Canadian Census questionnaire. I am not here to gripe about being forced to do the census by law and given eight days to do it. I am also not upset with it being online – I prefer it, and they do have an option to receive the printed forms.
I wanted to give my thumbs up to the filing of this information. Yes, I was a little frustrated with all the language questions for each person in the house. However, that was totally understandable seeing as we are a melting pot of cultures.
What I like about the census is that previous American and Canadian census information has helped a great deal to trace the origins of my Dad’s family. My Dad knew his grandfather, “Noni” as they called him, but did not know much (or anything it turns out) about Noni’s life except that he came from Quincy, Massachusetts and came to Canada when he was 18. Even my grandfather, “Pop”, did not know that Noni left home when he was 15 or the fact that Noni had a brother and two much younger sisters, all with the same parents.
Census information told me of my great-uncle Luther Albert, who was two years younger than Noni, stayed at home, got married and lived in a boarding house when he divorced, then he disappeared. The census also helped in identifying that there were two girls also born to the family; however, I was not able to get much information on them. I still don’t have much.
The early day census information was never as detailed or accurate as it is (hopefully) in this day and age of filling out forms electronically. However, it felt like a very personal way to glean some valuable tidbits. I found out that the spelling of our family name had only one “t” at the end in British Census data; however, an extra “t” was added when they came over by ship (not the Mayflower, unfortunately, LOL).
I can’t and don’t rely totally on census information of course. I search for birth, death, marriage, etc. certificates and have even found some surprising sources. My Dad came across a book in Pop’s belongings from a high school teacher who recalled several notable students, one of those being my great-grandfather. Noni wrote a piece on what he was doing at that time, and it filled in a lot of information about Pop’s life as he had passed away before we found the book and never really talked about his family. I realize now it was because he didn’t know anything!
I hope one day I will make it to Massachusetts to see if I can find some of the missing pieces to the puzzle. However, for now, I am just happily sifting through the information I do have.
Oh, and in the year 2108 my census information from this year will be available to my descendants! Oh, I don’t have any! Well, the descendants of my nephews, cousins, etc. might find it useful in 92 years!