[APG Public List] Another Reason for Missing Census Entries

Ray Beere Johnson II raybeere at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 4 11:00:48 MST 2010

     Here is an interesting article about the current Census <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8497275.stm>, which got me thinking. Surely a certain number of previous immigrants suspected government, for various reasons. I wonder if anyone has ever analysed, throughout history, the attitudes towards each census, and which groups might have actively sought to avoid being listed. Although I am not aware of any specific groups, I could even imagine religious objections being raised in some quarters.
     If it were possible, a cultural analysis, for each decade, of the groups likely to be underrepresented in the Census - and their reasons - would be a very interesting tool for those who can't find their ancestors.
     And, whatever your personal opinions, I would point out that objecting to inclusion in such records is *not* always unreasonable. Nazi Germany used census records as a tool for locating those they wished to eliminate. Even the US - despite the supposed sanctity of the census - got around this during World War II. Census officials told the authorities how many Japanese-American individuals they could expect to find in each area or even block in some cases. This simplified the task of rounding them up to be held in internment camps.
     We use the Census records, and it is a wonderful tool - for us. But we need to remember that not everyone views the Census with interest or delight - and that some even have a basis for their suspicion. Admitting this, and getting a clearer picture of the groups that have and that do shun the census, would provide another tool for understanding some of the gaps we find in Census records.
                                Ray Beere Johnson II


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