The key thing for the genealogy community was spreading the word about the importance of saying "yes" to Question 60 on the census, which asked Australians if they'd like their physical census records to be retained in the national archives for 99 years.
For the uninitiated, Australia has a default position of destroying census records once the statistical data is removed, which is something the genealogy community as a whole has been trying to change.
To read more about the background to this you should read the recent blog post we ran on the topic.
The Australian Census is coming up on August 9th and millions of records are at risk of being destroyed forever, stopping future generations from benefitting from the information.
We need your help to stop this, even if you are not in Australia. Please read on to see how you can help.
The Australian Census Night is on August 9, and it is a big moment for all Australian citizens. Of all the questions on the census, the one garnering most attention is Question 60, which asks respondents if they want their paper response stored in the national archives, to be released publicly in 99 years' time or if they want it destroyed immediately.
Those of you familiar with historical information in England, Wales and Scotland, for example, will probably be thinking “What’s so special about that?” considering the fact that census data from those countries has been preserved since 1841.
In Australia, however, that hasn’t been the historical case. Instead, once the statistical data has been captured, the actual census records have been religiously destroyed.
New information from Sensis, the publisher of the White Pages in Australia, has highlighted the increasing popularity of non-Anglo Saxon surnames in New South Wales (NSW), the most populous state of Australia.
And the change is not a small one.
The Daily Telegraph, one of the major daily newspapers in NSW, has reported that 7 of the top 20 surnames in NSW have Asian roots – a sign of the changing face of Australia.
Those surnames, Lee, Nguyen, Chen, Kim, Wang, Zhang and Li, will finally help the rest of the world understand what many Australians already know and love – the fact that Australia is no longer a white, Anglo-Saxon colony in the middle of the South Pacific.
For those unfamiliar with the term, “Irish Australians”, or Australians who claim to have Irish heritage, were the 3rd largest heritage group at the 2006 Australian census with almost 2 Million people, or just over 9% of the population, falling into the category. That’s quite a large chunk!
Now, the good thing about having Irish heritage is that even in normal times exploring your family history is easier than in most other cultures because of the excellent records that exist all over the world.
That having been said, now’s a pretty good time if you’re in Australia. Below are some reasons why: