Wrangling the 1921 census from the federal government

- 25 June 2013 in lifestyle

There's a buzz in the Canadian genealogy community this week. The 1921 Canada census has been digitized and is ready to be placed into the hands of Canadians around the world as of June 12. But you won't find it on the internet.

The louder buzz is that the federal government won't release the census to the public. Wait. They will release it; that's the law. However, they're taking their good ol' time doing so.

Elizabeth Lapointe at Genealogy Canada (http://genealogycanada.blogspot.ca/) alerted genealogists and historians to this unpleasant news in her post "Breaking News: 1921 Census of Canada." We've already waited 92 years for the release and now a little game of "let's see how popular I am by the amount of mail I receive" by the government is going to keep it hidden for a few more days or weeks.

So what can you do? Answer their call and start sending mail (both paper and e-mail) to the person at the helm - Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore.

The quickest method to get your thoughts about this issue to Minister Moore is to visit his page (http://www.pch.gc.ca/pc-ch/minstr/moore/cntct/index-eng.cfm) and enter your message into the space provided.

The second option is to write a letter and mail it through Canada Post. No stamp is required. The address is Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6.

Interested parties can also call Minister Moore (613-992-9650) or fax him (613-992-9868) to voice their opinion.

Letters can be short and to the point: "I'd like to see the digitized 1921 Canada census released to the public now, not later. We've already waited 92 years."

Or letter senders can add more details about the importance of the census to genealogists and historians, stressing the fact that this is one of the most important censuses in Canadian history, documenting those who survived two tragic worldwide events - the First World War and Spanish Influenza.

Unfortunately the House of Commons has adjourned for the summer. Although Minister Moore was absent until June 24, he should return to a mountain of messages delivered while he was away.

Frankly, I can't believe the digitization has been completed. After all, it's only been 12 days since Library and Archives Canada received the census from Statistics Canada. How could they possibly scan almost 200,000 pieces of paper in that period of time? After all that includes weekends!

But then I'm reminded of what I saw yesterday at the library: the "products" of a 3-D printer. When I saw the small plastic cup, comb, statuette and other items produced by the printer, I stood there amazed. My first question - which I'm sure others have asked and many more will - was, "Do you photocopy the item to make a duplicate?"

The answer is, "No." The printer is programmed to generate the object.

This now gives us the opportunity to create an item by program, send it through e-mail to another person who can enter it into a 3-D printer and produce it, perhaps thousands of miles away from where the program was conceived.

Which leads me to believe there is technology available that can digitize a national census within days of release. So where is it?

Diane Lynn Tibert is a freelance writer based in central Nova Scotia. For more genealogical stories, visit her Roots to the Past blog (https://rootstothepast.wordpress.com). Submit a query. It's free! 1787 Highway 2, Milford, Hants County, Nova Scotia B0N 1Y0; or e-mail tibert@live.com.

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