20 May 2008

Prizes for filling in 2010 census questionnaire?

I happened to see the front page of the USA Today newspaper this morning and saw this story headline "Census considers rewards for data." Of course I read the article which is also here. One of the persons commenting on the matter alluded to the problems of census cooperation that stems from the "fear and suspicion of government." Family historians already know that may be the reason for missing people and/or information on the early census enumerations.

Maybe if our ancestors had been given a store gift card or some monetary reward, none of them would be missing on the census. The article reported a concern for people filing multiple returns to obtain more prizes. At any rate, I thought the article was interesting and humorous at the same time. All that is needed is to turn everyone into a family historian and teach them about the other wonderful uses of the census. Surely, everyone residing in the U.S. would all cooperate. I wonder what could be offered to U.S. citizens residing in other countries? I am almost sitting on my hands to keep from commenting on the problems of the government and record keeping whether on paper or electronically.

I thought about the incentives that might have been offered to entice our ancestors to cooperate with the enumerator. What about a horse and buggy ride into town rather than having to ride horseback? Here are a few more ancestral incentives:
  • free horseshoeing for a year
  • discounts on meals at the town hotel
  • marriage by a circuit rider of your choice
  • one hot lead to where a mother lode of gold is located in California
  • five chickens
  • two bolts of non-scratchy fabric
  • two bins of coal
  • excavation of a new root cellar
  • new bonnet or suspenders in the latest fashion

No comments: