Census Begins for 2010
February 7, 2010
The government has begun counting the people in America for the decade 2010 as required by the U. S. Constitution. The last census taken was for 2000. Wikipedia says the 2010 Census will use only a short-form asking basic questions, such as name, gender, age, date of birth, race, ethnicity, relationship, and housing tenure at a cost of over $11 billion. This will be the first census to use hand-held computing devices with GPS capability. Unlike the 2000 census, there is no Internet response option offered. The results determine the distribution of $400 billion in federal tax money allotted to states and communities.
The census for the years 1790-1930 is one of the major tools we genealogists use to search for ancestors in our family tree. Beginning with the 1850 census, we find children in the household of their parents, state, county, and city or township where they lived, occupation, whether married or single, mother of how many children living and dead, etc. The early censuses only give the name of the head of household, and the numbers of males and females without their names. Now, in hopes that a future researcher can find us, and because it is the law, it is our turn to fill out the census.
Although for those arriving in the mail on March 15—with the return deadline of April 1—the count has already begun in a remote town in Alaska. It is necessary to begin enumerating in the severe climate because travel is easier before the spring thaw.
The first person counted was the oldest Noorvik resident Clifton Jackson, a World War II veteran, enumerated on January 25. His enumeration is unique; the U.S. Census Bureau Chief Robert Groves took his data personally, the only one by Groves.
Groves made the trip to Kotzebue on a commercial plane. From there he took a charter flight to his destination some 45 miles away in Noorvik, which is without any roads into the village. Noorvik is located north of the Arctic Circle near Alaska’s western coast, and it does not have any roads to connect to any other towns. Sled dog teams met the census party and transported them to their destination at the local school. There, after the signing and the festivities, the party spent the night in one of the classrooms. After Groves enumerated Mr. Jackson, the residents celebrated the first enumeration with a reception and feast to commemorate the start of the 2010 census count before Groves returned to Washington. Those remaining took the information for the remaining villagers.
I have seen a copy of the census and I do not have a problem with the questions. If you would like to peek at the form, go to http://2010.census.gov/2010census/how/interactive-form.php.
CONVERTING LATITUDE TO LONGITUDE: I found an Internet site to calculate latitude and longitude that I found rather easy to use if I am just trying to get the coordinates for a town or city. The site is, Get Lat Lon, http://www.getlatlon.com/.
PLATTING DEEDS IN METES AND BOUNDS: The original colonies, Texas and 12 other states still use the challenging and troublesome metes and bounds system for describing land. Landmarks used are a stream, large stump, black oak tree, neighboring property line or road. It is tricky when these are rerouted or removed. For those working with metes and bounds, try out Deed Platter at http://www.genealogytools.net/deeds/.
CONVERTING LAND MEASUREMENTS: One of the best sites for this is Measurement Conversion Page, http://longstrom.com/measurementspage.htm.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunions announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: TracingOurRoots@gmail.com.