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Article Published March 1, 2002

Gordon A. Watts POST-1901 CENSUS NEWS (Canada)
By: Gordon A. Watts,

Greetings Readers, and Members of Parliament

CBC "This Morning"

As I write this I have been listening to the CBC "This Morning" show on the Internet. I rose this morning at 5:00 AM to be able to listen to it on CBC Charlottetown, PEI, as I had advance notice that Shelagh Rogers would interview Senator Lorna Milne and Professor Chad Gaffield about public access to Historic Census records. I had been contacted some time ago about participating in this interview as well but was not contacted again when it was scheduled. Considering that the interview lasted only 15 minutes, it was probably a good thing that only Senator Milne and Professor Gaffield were scheduled.

Both equited themselves well, and represented the interests of those seeking to regain public access to Historic Census records in a well presented manner. I have hopes that the transcript of this interview will be posted on the CBC websites and if so, I will post the URL for it at a later time.

Senator Milne finished up the interview by stating "I'll keep up the battle until the people of Canada win!"

Statistics Canada had been asked, but declined, to participate in this interview. I do not find this surprising, as in my opinion, they are unable to justify their position in this issue.

Bill S-12 in third reading

On Tuesday, 19 February 2002, the Hon. Lorna Milne moved third reading of Bill S-12, to amend the Statistics Act and the National Archives of Canada Act (census records).

The Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, reviewed this Private Member Bill in September 2001, and in December it was referred back to the Senate without amendment. Having the Bill referred without amendment was a major hurdle overcome and we hope this is an indication of things to come. The Bill is now subject of debate in the Senate, and when that debate is concluded, will be voted on. If passed in the Senate the Bill will be referred to the House of Commons to go through a similar process in that place.

During this debate, comment was offered by Senators Lynch-Staunton, Fraser, Comeau, St. Germain, Taylor, and Murray. As expected, Senators Comeau, Taylor, and Murray spoke against the Bill and Senator Fraser spoke in favour of it. Senator Murray indicated he would speak again on this Bill and that he would remain opposed to it. Senator Lynch-Staunton stopped short of saying he opposed the Bill outright, but his comments regarding it were negative. Senator St. Germain simply asked a question regarding what confidentiality aspect was given respondents of early Census.

The full debate of this session is too lengthy to include here but it will shortly be posted on the Post 1901 Census Project website at .

Our legal application

As indicated in my last column our Application for a Judicial Review was presented on 5 February 2001. Our Plaintiffs' Affidavits were to be submitted this week. All the Defendants have filed Notices of Appearance. It will be their turn to submit their Affidavits next. The Privacy Commissioner and the Information Commissioner each have their own lawyers. The Attorney General of Canada, the Chief Statistician and the National Archivist are all being represented by the Department of Justice.

This is a fast procedure we have decided to use. We hope to have results in a matter of months, not years.

We have reached our funding goal for this action and are not, at this time actively seeking further contributions. We will, however, continue to accept contributions that may be sent. The reason for doing so is be able to make pro-rated refunds to a greater number of people when all is said and done. We are gratified that our funding goal of $8000.00 was reached within three weeks of our posting the request for contributions and thank all who contributed for their generosity. Those in Alberta, as the leader in numbers of signatures on petitions, are also the leaders in the amount of contributions made to the legal fund.

1930 Census of the United States

The United States will be making their 1930 Census Records available to the public on 1 May 2002. For your interest I copy here some information relating to this that was previously published in Rootsweb Review: Vol. 5, No. 8, 20 February 2002.
    1930 Census News
    By Barb Marshall

    I spent a day recently at a NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) workshop on the 1930 census. We never got to see the census, but spent the day learning what "tools" are available - such as maps, lists of Enumeration Districts, and city directories - and how to use them to your best advantage.

    Locating your ancestors on the 1930 census won't be easy. I wish I had started a year ago to prepare myself. If your ancestors lived in small towns, you will have to search "line by line, page by page." If they lived in a large city, look now for city directories.

    I spent Thursday and Friday at Sutro Library in San Francisco looking at directories for Chicago, then coming home and looking up the addresses on "Map Quest" and then searching the 1920 census on Ancestry. It's a great way to understand the area each Enumeration District covers.

    My great-grandfather lived in the Rogers Park district of Chicago. I found him in E.D. 193. To find my great-aunt, I began with E.D.s on both sides, namely 192 and 194. Each district went a bit farther away but remained in the same neighborhood. The streets and cross-streets were on the map. Checking the directory section by street name, showed me not only where the street was but, other people who lived there. Sometimes, handwriting is very hard to read. Having more than one name to look for on each page, makes it easier to locate the correct page.

    All of this is going to be important in using the 1930 census. Unless you're searching in a very small town, it's going to take a lot of time to locate those ancestors. Anything you can do now to prepare yourself will make that search much easier.

    [Editor's note: National Archives will release the entire 1930 census (population schedule) on 1 April 2002. Microfilm copies of it will be available at the National Archives in Washington, DC, and at its 13 regional facilities. There are Soundexes (indexes) for 12 Southern states. Knowing the surname and spelling variants of it, plus the state and county where the family resided in 1930 will be helpful to your search. plans to make the images available to its subscribers (see below), plus full-color maps of enumeration districts. Visit for weekly updates. For more information about the 1930 federal census in general, see: Also see: RootsWeb's Guide to Tracing Family Trees: Census Records: Soundexes, Indexes and Finding Aids: ]

    The 1930 federal census will be released 1 April by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). is obtaining copies of the microfilms as soon as they are released and will rush the films back to Utah where they will be scanned 24 hours a day/6 days a week on state-of-the- art scanners until the project's completion. These images will then be posted online.

    As soon as the films are scanned, trained and experienced data-entry operators will begin the massive indexing project, which will aid family historians in locating their ancestors more easily in this valuable census. These indexes should be available within a few months after the films are released and processed. In addition, is working to make available online several finding aids such as maps and descriptions of enumeration districts.

    To subscribe to's census subscription, which also includes the one-of-a-kind 1890 census substitute, go to:
Until next time, Happy Hunting.

Gordon A. Watts

  • Global Gazette articles regarding Census Project

  • Click here for official Census Project Web site

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