Census data a record of history

AS you fill out the Census this August 9, there is one box which holds particular power for generations to come.

Question 61 on the form asks if you would like your information stored confidentially in the National Archive, or destroyed.

If you elect to have it stored it will sit in the archive for 99 years before being released.

Curator of Glengallan Family History Centre Donna Fraser said it was important to consider what that meant.

“From the point of view of historical research, in particular family research, census information is very helpful in not only locating your forebears but also tracking their movements over the years,” she said.

“I think people should consider that their privacy will be respected for the next 99 years but it may be very important for someone tracking their family in 99 years time.”

She said a census gave the whole picture.

“I was recently at the National Gallery in Canberra and was at an exhibition about Irish immigration,” she said.

“And I saw a quote saying we are not just who we are but where we came from.”

The Census should be completed on August 9.

The eCensus website is open from July 28 to September 5.

More information is available online at www.abs.gov.au/census or call the Census Inquiry Service on 1300 338 776.

Key Census dates:

• July 28 – eCensus opens to the public.

• July 29 – distribution of Census forms begins.

• August 9 – Census night.

• From August 10 – collection of Census forms.

• June 2012 – first results released



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