Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A Census Conspiracy?

There is news! Today, I saw this post on Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter regarding the release of the 1921 Canadian Census.  He points to this post by Elizabeth Lapointe of Genealogy Canada where Elizabeth claims that LAC sources told her the census has been fully digitized and its release is being held up by the Minister's Office.

I say claimed because I try to be skeptical of everything I read on the Internet. However, I don't disbelieve Elizabeth's post in the slightest. Unfortunately, it has become clear that every federal government announcement is strictly controlled by the Prime Minister's Office. I would like to think that Elizabeth's advice that we write to the responsible Minister would make a difference. It won't.

I am confident that the 1921 Census will be released in the coming weeks. It just won't be on the timetable of any genealogist or archivist.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

1921 Canadian Census Update

Today I learned that Library and Archives Canada has issued a news release regarding the 1921 Census:
Library and Archives Canada is committed to making the 1921 Census’ rich and complex information accessible and available to all Canadians, no matter where they live, in the next few weeks. Further details on the 1921 Census’ availability will be shared once they are available.
A few weeks, they say. What they don't say is how the census will be available. I'm sure we would all like to be able to view the census online, indexed and free. I don't see that happening in a few weeks.  Perhaps a paper copy will be available downtown at the LAC building, but that doesn't satisfy the criteria of availability to all Canadians.  Really, what is the point of speculating?

I will be on the lookout over "the next few weeks" and will let you know what LAC does with our Census.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

I Know I've Been Out of It, But What Is LAC's Excuse: the 1921 Canadian Census

As you know, for most of the last 18 months, I have been preoccupied with my new hobby, "having cancer." While I am technically off chemo, I still take cancer-fighting medication daily and get regular IV treatment. I am still spending an awful lot of time at the hospital. Over the next two weeks, I'll be there for a pain-relieving epidural, an echocardiogram, blood tests and my IV treatment. There hasn't been much time for genealogy.

Still, it's on my mind. I've been preparing to make an introductory genealogy presentation to my daughter's class. In the last few days I've been reading more genealogy blogs. That's where I saw the news: the 1921 Canadian Census has been released (that is given to LAC for public access)! It was news to me. There's been nothing in the paper. Not long ago, the lead up to the release of the 1940 US Census was overwhelming, even impossible to avoid. Not so this year.

These two blogs about the 1921 Census, by esteemed Canadian geneabloggers really caught my attention, and I recommend you read them:
What is going on at LAC, Library and Archives Canada? The organization has been having a tough time of late. Budget cuts. Service cuts. Criticism on a wide scale. Recently, the embattled head of LAC resigned. John Reid reports that LAC has indicated it will make the 1921 census available as soon as possible. You wouldn't know if you visited LAC's website. Of the measly four news releases issued this year (yes, only four), none pertains to the Census.

You know, I've been looking forward to this census. My grandfather. Luigi Bertolo and his family came to Canada in 1913, not long after the previous was taken. The 1921 Census would be the first where I'd find my ancestors. I'd be happy to spend as much time indexing this census as I did on the 1940 US Census. I'd be happy and I'd be proud to index it. I would find the time.

LAC, I know I've been busy. What's your excuse?

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