Our volunteers' census thoughts

With the 2011 census concluded, we thought we would ask some of our regular volunteers working on historic census materials for their views on the most recent survey.

Phyllis, herself a former census enumerator, thought the size of the modern census was a little intimidating, when compared with the relatively few questions asked in the historic censuses to which we have access (those up to 1911). She also commented on how nice it is for today's enumerators that the census is now machine readable.

Like Phyllis, both Gilly and Chris thought the 2011 document a little on the large side - but both reported that they had no problems completing the form, once they sat down and got to grips with it!

Quite a few volunteers reported that they positively enjoyed completing the form and commented that filling it in made them review their lives: what had happened to them over the last 10 years, the places they had lived in, events around the world, etc. Also, there was a sense that participation in the census brought with it a sense of being counted and being a part of history.

Intriguingly, one volunteer had heard of a rumor that the census was to be used to track down those wanted by police force and security services. I wonder what will be revealed in 100 years, when the 2011 records go public!