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Repeal the 1920 Census Act

Comment 3rd July 2010

Repeal the 1920 Census Act and the Information Commissioner's ruling that the 1921 census should not be publicly available to view until 2022.

Why does this matter?

There are many people in this country who are now actively involved in family history research as their foremost hobby. The 1921 census will not be viewable until 2022, for the following reason: "The stated government position from the ONS is "its intention to release the entirety of the 1921 census returns in 2022, in accordance with the non-statutory '100 year rule' which was adopted to reflect this undertaking of confidentiality"."

This will be the last census available to most researchers: the 1931 census was destroyed and the 1941 census did not take place. It is possible to view the 1911 census now but this means that the next one will be viewable in 2022 followed by 2052 – rather a long wait and probably a wait too far for people already in their 50s.

It is easy to view publicly and freely the birth, marriage and death registers from 1837 until 2005. It is possible to obtain electoral role information from local authorities from, in most cases, 1918 onwards. So, what are the confidentiality issues blocking the early release of the 1921 census?

As an aside, it could also be a money earner for the Government in these times of dire shortages.


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