Thursday, February 11, 2010

Time Travel, Date, April 1, 2082

Pretend, just for a moment, that it is year 2082. Your descendant, Jane is searching for her roots. The 2010 census is about to be released for public use and snooping. Great grand-something-or-other Jane cannot wait to find YOU on the 2010. What were you like, how many people lived in your household, what was your income? Jane wonders about all those questions asked on the 2010 census questionnaire.

Jane is waiting at the door of the National Archives near her on April 1, 2082***. (Ya, they still make ya tromps over to the building, no one knows why. I mean, really, it IS 2082, the internet has been around for about 100 years, give or take.)

Anyway, Jane is doing the pre-genie-dance in anticipation. The doors open, she finds her computerized digital reading port and orders up the census reports for the locality she knows you lived in. She waits just a few moments, these reading ports are the latest technology, fast, efficient.

So, in just a few moments, Jane is gazing at your 2010 census questionnaire. But wait, nope, that is not you! Where are you? She looks around some more, sends in additional search requests, maybe you lived in City Z, not City X as she believed. Jane uses a few different spellings, leaves off your given name just requests your surname. Jane is NOT finding you.****


Well, because back in 2010, some 72 years ago, you took exception to the questions on the census, you felt it was no one’s business. Being just a bit of a rebel, you objected, strongly, and ignored the census forms. OK, so, they fined you $5,000 for that objection, it was well worth it, you kept ole Uncle Sam outta your house and your business.

Poor Jane, her ancestor hunt stymied. No genie-happy dances in April of 2082. Poor Jane.

And, now, we return you to the year 2010.

*Lots of information on the 2010 census can be found here, 2010 Census

**You can even download a widget to your web page that has a countdown to the 2010 census.

***Based on continuance of current regulations that census is released after 72 years.

****Based on the assumption that indexing has improved in the last 72 years. OK, I hear all my genie-friends groaning at that! LOL

*****I realized as I attempted to write this post that I have a lousy imagination when it comes to what it will be like to live in 2082. No science fiction writer am I.

******Thanks to friends Jim and Bob over at Facebook for the “inspiration” for this post.

*******Census graphic found online several years ago, source data long lost.  Brickwall thanks to

*******No question about income is on the 2010 census, thank you Amanda (the librarian) for correcting me.

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.


Amanda (the librarian) said...

Actually the 2010 census will not ask anything about income. Good thing as I DO think a question like that is intrusive and unnecessary (even to our descendants). There are only 10 questions on the census form and no long form this year for anyone. I'm fine with these 10 questions as not only will they help my descendants in the future, but answering them will help my community and state now.

lindalee said...

I keep waiting for mine to come. I think I read on someone's blog or somewhere that we genealogists thinking of "Jane" in the future would be oh so kind to simply make a copy of our census, save it to the computer and then the info will be available before 2082 for family members to see. I plan to do just that.

Carol said...

That is a good idea Linda.

Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

Excellent idea, Linda and Carol! I might not have done that, copied my filled-out census form, but I might have, too. I tend to take copies of "stuff" (and then lose them) but now I will stick it with my genealogy stuff.

Thank you, Carol, thank you, Linda.

I went the 'wrong' direction with your post here. I thought you were going to say that poor Jane couldn't find you in 2082 because you, hubby, animals and vehicles were "on the road again.... just can't wait to get on the road again..."

(Just thank your lucky stars you can't actually hear me singing Willie Nelson's song!)

Love the post!

Carol said...

LOL Sherry, you had me rolling off my desk chair here in Tana, wouldn't that be something to be on the road again in 2082! Wahhooo!

I wanna hear Sherry singing! You could do what Thomas did around the holidays, sing and web cam it and publish the results! LOL

When I look back over the questions asked in past census enumerations and then look at what they are NOT asking in 2010, it kinda makes me sad. No question on income, or property values. I personally think comparing the answers to those property values in 1860 and 1870 census for same families is VERY interesting, what affect did the Civil War have on my ancestors.