RootsChat.Com

General => The Common Room => Topic started by: Paulo Leeds on Friday 12 October 18 12:13 BST (UK)

Title: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Paulo Leeds on Friday 12 October 18 12:13 BST (UK)
...also do you think staff who protect them and cleaners who service the room (s) in which they are kept ever have a sneaky look if they are left in the building alone last thing on a Friday? (lol)

I find it so tantalising that they are sat there somewhere in England, but yet so utterly unobtainable
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Dyingout on Friday 12 October 18 12:17 BST (UK)
The 100 years law is to protect the living.
Although anyone nowadays may live to 100 plus.
The likelyhood is still the majority die before their century.
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: dowdstree on Friday 12 October 18 12:29 BST (UK)
The Scottish Census Records are stored in Edinburgh and are the responsibility of the Registrar General For Scotland.

I believe at the moment staff are preparing the 1921 Scottish Census to go public and online in 2021.

Oh boy would I love to be a fly on the wall and get a sneak preview.  ;D ;D

Dying out answered your question.

Dorrie
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Regorian on Friday 12 October 18 12:34 BST (UK)
Understood, and yet there is the 1939 record. Don't know what detail it contains.
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Paulo Leeds on Friday 12 October 18 12:42 BST (UK)
The 100 years law is to protect the living.
Although anyone nowadays may live to 100 plus.
The likelyhood is still the majority die before their century.

So in what way are we protecting 90-year-old 'Alf' by not publicising where he lived in 1951, for example?
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Paulo Leeds on Friday 12 October 18 12:44 BST (UK)
The Scottish Census Records are stored in Edinburgh and are the responsibility of the Registrar General For Scotland.

I believe at the moment staff are preparing the 1921 Scottish Census to go public and online in 2021.

Oh boy would I love to be a fly on the wall and get a sneak preview.  ;D ;D

Dying out answered your question.

Dorrie

but where exactly are the English census's kept in storage?
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: dowdstree on Friday 12 October 18 12:50 BST (UK)
National Archives at Kew according to "Mr Google"

Dorrie
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: rosie99 on Friday 12 October 18 12:52 BST (UK)
I think that census documents are stored 'off site'  somewhere,  not at Kew

Apparently some National Archives documents are stored in Salt mines
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/gallery/2010/aug/10/cheshire-salt-mine-national-archive
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Paulo Leeds on Friday 12 October 18 13:21 BST (UK)
this is why it is so tantalising.

there is a 'room' somewhere in England that houses all the census's we can't access.

Be that at the National Archives at Kew, offsite from Kew, in a saltmine somewhere - human beings still have access to that room(s) and cleaners probably go in to clean it.

This is very tantalising to me...
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Paulo Leeds on Friday 12 October 18 13:21 BST (UK)
.
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: stanmapstone on Friday 12 October 18 13:35 BST (UK)
"The 100 year rule is not something with legal standing and is really nothing more than office policy," see
http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=764724.msg6175762#msg6175762

Stan
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: aghadowey on Friday 12 October 18 13:58 BST (UK)
So in what way are we protecting 90-year-old 'Alf' by not publicising where he lived in 1951, for example?
The 1939 register gives an exact date of birth.

You have to remember that the purpose of a census is not to provide you with information for tracing your family history. It is mainly used for statistical data and those figures are extensively analysed to provide the government and other bodies with details to show population changes, etc.
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: stanmapstone on Friday 12 October 18 14:06 BST (UK)
You have to remember that the purpose of a census is not to provide you with information for tracing your family history. It is mainly used for statistical data and those figures are extensively analysed to provide the government and other bodies with details to show population changes, etc.
For example, although the the manuscript returns for the 1931 census were destroyed by fire in 1942, full reports were published based on the census returns, See http://histpop.org/ohpr/servlet/AssociatedView?path=Browse&active=yes&mno=2035&assoctitle=Census

Stan
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Sinann on Friday 12 October 18 14:10 BST (UK)
1939 register is not meant to show anyone still living.

I looked up a still living at the time 100+ year old in the 1911 Census only to discover she was illegitimate, most people today wouldn't care that their neighbours could do that but a 100+ year old might.
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Maiden Stone on Friday 12 October 18 15:09 BST (UK)
1939 register is not meant to show anyone still living.

I looked up a still living at the time 100+ year old in the 1911 Census only to discover she was illegitimate, most people today wouldn't care that their neighbours could do that but a 100+ year old might.

There's worse than that. Occupation of some women was recorded as prostitute. Not many in 1911 but plenty in 19th century. 
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: pharmaT on Friday 12 October 18 15:53 BST (UK)
Understood, and yet there is the 1939 record. Don't know what detail it contains.

The 1939 survey was carried out in a rush as the purpose was to plan for the war effort those surveyed were not promised that their data would be secret for 100 years.
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Paulo Leeds on Friday 12 October 18 16:03 BST (UK)
so do we think they are all piled up row after row in some Top Secret metallic room somewhere?
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: coombs on Friday 12 October 18 16:04 BST (UK)
Some falsely think that "when the census was taken that they were promised the info would be closed for 100 years". Such a promise was never made, and I am sure our expert Guy can vouch for that.

Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Erato on Friday 12 October 18 16:05 BST (UK)
It's only 75 years in the United States but no one gets too exercised about it. 
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Paulo Leeds on Friday 12 October 18 16:32 BST (UK)
Some falsely think that "when the census was taken that they were promised the info would be closed for 100 years". Such a promise was never made, and I am sure our expert Guy can vouch for that.

very interesting posts by Guy, how does he know so much?
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: stanmapstone on Friday 12 October 18 16:41 BST (UK)
Some falsely think that "when the census was taken that they were promised the info would be closed for 100 years". Such a promise was never made, and I am sure our expert Guy can vouch for that.

very interesting posts by Guy, how does he know so much?

Just Google "Guy Etchells"

Stan
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Blue70 on Friday 12 October 18 17:21 BST (UK)
So is anyone going for one of those cleaner jobs then? ;D

I'm happy with what we have at the moment. There's the 1939 Register, electoral registers and directories. I can wait for the 1921 census it's less important to me than earlier census records. I have a good idea of what each family household consisted of, where they were living and where they worked. My families after moving around a lot in the 19th century, stayed at the same addresses in the 20th century for long periods.


Blue
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Paulo Leeds on Friday 12 October 18 17:29 BST (UK)
So is anyone going for one of those cleaner jobs then? ;D

I'm happy with what we have at the moment. There's the 1939 Register, electoral registers and directories. I can wait for the 1921 census it's less important to me than earlier census records. I have a good idea of what each family household consisted of, where they were living and where they worked. My families after moving around a lot in the 19th century, stayed at the same addresses in the 20th century for long periods.


Blue

imagine getting caught red-handed with your mop, your feather duster, and a segment of the 1951 census  ;D
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Blue70 on Friday 12 October 18 20:02 BST (UK)
Family history researchers must be a well behaved bunch. I've never heard of census records being available on the black market or bootleg copies being circulated ;D.


Blue
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: jaybelnz on Friday 12 October 18 21:15 BST (UK)
In NZ, and after the nations demographic details have been collated, our Census documents are destroyed by the powers that be.

The only way we can find out where our people lived, are the old electoral rolls!  Better than nothing, but that only gives us those that have registered to vote, and no other family members
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Guy Etchells on Friday 12 October 18 21:34 BST (UK)
Why exactly are the censusís secret for 100 years?

Very often when people mention the 100 year rule for access to census someone claims it was imposed because people were assured it would be closed for 100 years.

WRONG !
There was no 100 year privacy commitment until 1966.
The 100 year closure rule was created in 1966 by the Lord Chancellor.

The first census to claim the census would remain closed for 100 years was the 1981 census.

In 1981 the Registrar General made a promise on the 1981 census forms that the census would be closed for 100 years, this commitment was repeated on the 1991 and 2001 census forms. Unfortunately the Registrar General did not have the authority to make such claims and so that promise was not worth the paper it was printed on.
In fact the Registrar General who made that claim, Arthur Roger Thatcher, had to write to parliament to apologise for exceeding his authority by making such a claim.
In earlier census there was a commitment the census would remain confidential but no time limit was placed on this confidentiality.

The census are kept secret for 100 years for a very simple reason, the Registrar General lied.

Where are they stored?
Census up to 1911 are stored at the National Archives, but as the originals are not accessed on a regular frequency most likely at one of the National Archives out-stores or in one of the Cheshire salt mines used for storage.

The 1921 to 2011 census are still stored at/by the GRO, some are still being accessed and some will be out-stores.

...also do you think staff who protect them and cleaners who service the room (s) in which they are kept ever have a sneaky look if they are left in the building alone last thing on a Friday? (lol)
I am certain the staff do access closed records at both the GRO and the National Archives some will do so in the line of duty some will do so unofficially, it is naive to think otherwise.

I find it so tantalising that they are sat there somewhere in England, but yet so utterly unobtainable
Not so much tantalising, more annoying. During much of my life as a family historian many of the closed records including closed census were available on request and payment of a fee,
The modern ideal of secrecy (often to hide dubious actions) has led to more and more records being inaccessible.
E.G. Until 1976/7 it was possible to visit a superintendent registrarís office and search the Birth, Marriage and Death registers in person, which I did on many occasions up and down the country.

Cheers
Guy

PS According to the Census Act, 1920, as amended and the Census (Confidentiality) Act 1991 I used to claim "it is illegal to release any census taken under the 1920 Census Act at any time in the future unless there is a change in the law".
The loop hole that is going to be used could have been used many years ago to release the 1921 census but the genealogical world were not interested in more census being released. This is because the above laws have been amended but the amendments have not been put into action.
Guy
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Paulo Leeds on Saturday 13 October 18 10:28 BST (UK)
Family history researchers must be a well behaved bunch. I've never heard of census records being available on the black market or bootleg copies being circulated ;D.


Blue

true, and you often hear of albums being leaked etc...
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Paulo Leeds on Saturday 13 October 18 10:32 BST (UK)
So can we not just go back on what this Arthur Thatcher said?

Also how long were the pre-1981 census's kept secret for if 100 years only came in in 1981...?
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Guy Etchells on Saturday 13 October 18 16:08 BST (UK)
So can we not just go back on what this Arthur Thatcher said?

Also how long were the pre-1981 census's kept secret for if 100 years only came in in 1981...?

The Lord Chancellor's Instrument No. 12 of 1966 established the 100-year embargo rule.
Prior to that, the delay in making census records public had been much shorter.
For example, the 1841 and 1851 census records for England and Wales were both released in 1912.

Scottish records were also held for less than 100 years. The 1891 Scottish returns, for instance, were made public after a delay of only 64 years.

Given that the release of returns after 50 to 80 years was the practice in the first half of the last century and that the Lord Chancellor's Instrument No. 12 of 1966 was 55 years away at that point, I would be very surprised if anyone who participated in census before 1971 really believed that their return would be kept private for 100 years.

Only six out of the 15 pre-1910 England & Wales census have been closed for 100 years.
The details of nine out of 15 have been released after less than 90
years. (source Hansard 29 March 2004).

One final point and I cannot remember offhand when this was changed but up until I think the time of the Freedom of information Act (2000) it was possible to apply for details of occupants of a household in the next unreleased census for a fee of £10 The National Archives even published a booklet explaining how to do this, making even the 1966 100 year rule innefective.

Cheers
Guy
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Paulo Leeds on Saturday 13 October 18 16:14 BST (UK)
Thanks for the info Guy.

So how would 'we' scrap what Arthur Thatcher said?
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: coombs on Saturday 13 October 18 16:34 BST (UK)
Proof that it is a total myth that prior to the 1981 census that the householders were promised the census info would remain closed and under lock and key for 100 years. Not true. As Guy said, the 1841 and 1851 censuses were released after 71 and 61 years respectively.

I was once told about 15 years ago (c2003) that I could access a certain household for the 1911 census if I paid vast amounts of money.
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: Erato on Saturday 13 October 18 17:27 BST (UK)
Data from censuses after 1940 are available on application to the U.S. Census Bureau but only to the individual named in the census record or his legitimate heir [proof required].  They charge you for the search, though, and it's expensive.  I doubt the information would be of much value for genealogical purposes since you can't get the entire household, just the one named individual.  Apparently, people mostly request census data to clarify questions of birthplace, residency and citizenship for social security benefits and such.

[U.S. census records are held for 72 years, not 75 as I previously said.  My mistake; I should have looked it up].
Title: Re: Why exactly are census's secret for 100 years? Where are they stored?
Post by: louisa maud on Sunday 14 October 18 17:14 BST (UK)
We cannot change it Paulo, we just have to be patient, not long now for the 1921 and I for one just cannot wait

Louisa Maud