Participation in the 2020 Federal Census:
McDonough County Genealogical Society
The McDonough County Genealogical Society members issued a statement encouraging local residents to participate in the 2020 Federal Census.
According to the Population Reference Bureau website, “The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census be taken every 10 years to count all people—both citizens and noncitizens—living in the United States. [2 ]Responding to the census is mandatory because getting a complete and accurate count of the population is critically important. An accurate count of the population serves as the basis for fair political representation and plays a vital role in many areas of public life.”
It affects political boundaries. The US Federal Census is used to draw political boundaries for representation in the United States Congress as well as make decisions regarding the spending of tax dollars. “We can’t overemphasize how important it is for all residents to complete the Census,” said Julie Terstriep, President of the Genealogical Society.
The 2020 Census can be completed online for the first time in the nation’s history, as well as by mail, by telephone, or in person with an enumerator. Residents will be sent instructions beginning the week of March 12-20, 2020. The deadline to respond is July 31, 2020.
It impacts funding. According to the Tax Policy Center, the Census also affects up to $900 billion in grants, direct payments, loans, and loan guarantees that the federal government distributes annually to states and individuals.
The information is “sealed” for 72 years. The Genealogical Society drew attention to the fact data from the current census cannot, by federal law, be revealed for 72 years making the 2020 census available to the public in 2092. This law protects the privacy of living persons from fraud and identity theft.
It aids in the study of family history. “Every Federal Census is an important tool used by genealogists to help fill in the details of family stories,“ said Terstriep, “The Board felt it was very important for us to encourage ALL residents to be included in the 2020 census.”
The first United States Federal Census was taken in 1790 and is available for all to use online (https://www.archives.gov/research/census). The Federal Census is a vital piece of evidence that documents where families lived, how many members were in the household (and their ages), what their occupations were, and who owned property (or where they owned property),
Currently, the 1940 Federal Census is the most current one available for public and genealogists to use. The 1950 Census will be released sometime in 2022 for public view.
Anyone interested in seeing the 1940 Federal Census can access data for free through the National Archives at http://1940census.archives.gov.
Anyone interested in learning more about how to research their history using the census (and other documents) can attend a monthly meeting of the McDonough County Genealogical Society.
The Society meets at 6 p.m. the third Monday of the month at the Genealogical Center at 201 S. Lafayette in Macomb (Western Illinois Museum). Various speakers will present different strategies or tools to use to document your genealogical history.
The Genealogical Center is able to assist those doing research on Tuesdays 1-4 pm, Fridays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
Membership in the society is $20 per year for an individual, $30 for a family. To become a member, go to mcdcgs.com/membership, fill out the form and enclose a check mailed to the address on the form. Volunteers assist members AND non-members with their research needs.
For more information a