Tuesday, May 10, 2016

History of the census

Today is the deadline for completing the census.  Our household got the long form, which apparently makes us envied.  Was not hard, was not particularly invasive or demanding (Gee, what do we pay in water and sewage fees?). Kinda made you think, sure.

There is a comments section. My socially-conscious daughter complained about the lack of space for gender-fluidity in the gender identification questions. I complained that all census data should be available after a century.  Sent.

I've been looking at the first census of Canada, taken 350 years ago under the authority of Jean Talon in 1666.  Stephen Harper might be happy to know the historians and demographers have confirmed it is full of inaccuracies.  (Beaverton had a good line: "Tories complain reinstated mandatory census unfair to however many Canadians there are.") The 1666 census took quite a few months to complete, and it includes individuals who died in February and others born in May, who never actually lived at the same time.  

But where else is remembered the brief life of the newborn daugher of Jean Pelletier and Anne Langlois, noted in the census as "une fille qui n'est encore baptisée," eight days old. The parish records (and Marcel Trudel who scrutinised this census in immense detail) report that she was born 29 January 1666, censused c6 February 1666, baptised Marie-Delphine on 7 February 1666, and buried 27 February 1666. 
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