Census information is not available elsewhere for genealogists

Ted Hsu
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As I work to mobilize support for Bill C-626, my private member’s bill to reinstate the mandatory long-form census, I have been asking Canadians how the elimination of the mandatory long-form census has affected their lives and their work. Reverend Peter Mogk responded by explaining how he has used census data to chart his family’s history. Please help me. Please share your experience with census data by emailing me at [email protected].

I find the long form census data most helpful in doing family history research.  In fact, without this source of information, my sense of family, neighbourhood, and community would be seriously diminished.  My family would be smaller and I would be poorer in many ways.
fan chart

As one example, I have been able to trace an ancestor’s movement, determine where and with whom he lived, and verify where he apprenticed and learned his trade.  These touch points have enabled me to identify relatives, whom I never have met but who have gathered family history that includes correspondence with the Prime Minister of Canada.  One unknown ancestor turned out to be a “lumber baron” and entrepreneur remembered by a street name, museum, etc.  Without the census data, none of this would be available to me.

I have been able to ascertain the type of accommodation that was inhabited, determine the origin of lifelong friendships, gain insight into the success/failure of farming endeavours, and discover ancestors who have not been otherwise known.  In one instance, my mother knew of two names from conversations with long departed ancestors.  But no one else had this information.  I was able to develop life pictures and stories of these nearly forgotten members of my family as well as to share this larger sense of family with relatives.  Dates of birth, immigration, and naturalization have been learned from census documents; information nowhere else available.

We all will be poorer with reduced demographic and personal information.  We all will be impoverished by mere voluntary provision of reduced personal details.

Bring back the long form census return.