March 2009 Archives
"The Reveller", in a comment in November, raised the issue of whether the proposed introduction of ID Cards could result in future census findings being used as a basis to build up the database of information on individuals that the Government is continually developing. I can't answer this but what I do know is that there has been considerable concern expressed over the past 18 months at least about the conduct of the 2011 Census. This started when it became apparent that the Office of National Statistics (ONS) was to contract out the conduct of the Census and had short listed a German company and the US arms company Lockheed Martin.
In addition to its arms business Lockheed Martin is also involved in surveillance and intelligence work throughout the world and boasts of it ability to provide "integrated threat information". Also the US Patriot Act compels personal data held by any company on systems in the US to be made available to the US government intelligence services without informing the people involved. There was therefore cause for considerable concern. I saw my MP, as did thousands of others, and he raised the issue and there was a Downing Street online petition. Nevertheless the contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin UK Ltd.
Glen Watson, the ONS Census Director, made a statement in the October 2008 issue of Royal Statistical Society News to try to answer critics. He stressed that confidentiality was a key factor in the conduct of the Census; all employees and contractors had to sign a declaration of confidentiality; the Statistics and Registration Act 2007 makes it a criminal offence to disclose personal census data; the contract with Lockheed ensures that only UK or EU based and owned sub-contractors will have access to the personal data. Lockheed Martin UK will design the processing systems but the sub-contractors will operate the day-to-day services; no Lockheed Martin UK or US staff will have access to the personal data; all data will be processed in the UK.
That is the assurance and I very much hope that it will be fulfilled but we all know about the number of times that personal data has been lost by the Government during the past few years, including data lost in the US without any proper explanation of why it was there in the first place.
That's the future, but back to the present where the most exciting development for the family historians during 2009 has been the early release of the 1911 Census Returns. Unfortunately, only the results for England have been released so far and we will have to wait "until the Spring" before the results for Wales are available. Nearly all my family at the time lived in Wales; some were in the USA or elsewhere abroad but very few in England. My grandmother fortunately kept a large collection of Post Cards received during the first three decades of the last century and a number of these indicated that her mother, one of my great grandmothers, was working in Southport around 1911 but I couldn't find her, neither could I find one of great grandfather's brothers whom I believe was in the Manchester area. I did, however find one distant relative living in Hove, Sussex.
The records can be found through the website, www.1911census.co.uk but it's quite expensive to get results. You have to buy credits in advance and you're give a choice of amounts, the more you buy then the cheaper each individual piece of information will be. Depending on the package chosen, to get details of an individual will cost about 90p but to get the full transcript will cost about ÃÂ£2.80. I've paid for sufficient credits in anticipation that my wife and I will be able to make use of them when the records for Wales are available. I'll return to this topic at that time when, hopefully, I've had some experience of obtaining results.
The next Gwynedd Family History Society meetings are:
Bangor, 3 March (first Tuesday of each month) 7.00pm at the Quakers Meeting Hall, Dean Street: J Elwyn Hughes, "Characters in 'Un Nos Ola Leuad'"
Caernarfon, 26 March (last Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at The Library, LÃÅœn Pafiliwn:
Gwen Jones, "Dyddiadur fy Mam"
Dolgellau, 12 March (second Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the Royal Ship Hotel: Rheinallt Llwyd, "Llwydiaid Blaen y Glyn"
Llandudno, 9 March (second Monday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Ebenezer, Abergele Road, Old Colwyn (please note new meeting place):
David Kent, "The Welsh Highland Railway"
Llangefni, 19 March (third Thursday of each month) 7.15pm at Capel Smyrna, Ffordd Glanhwfa: Pat West, "Family History in the Archives"
Pwllheli, 20 March (third Friday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Seion, Lon Dywod:
Aled Ellis, "Achos Athrod Anffodus y Blaenau"