Sunday, 27 March 2011

Census Day 2011

Today is the day of the latest decennial census here in Scotland, and for the first time we have been able to supply our information online. We were also given a paper copy as an option, meaning that this time around we have had two possible ways to submit the required information. And that has allowed for a bit of fun in the Paton household!

I answered the census first on paper to make sure that I had all the details right for myself, my wife Claire and boys Calum and Jamie. An interesting question for me is "What is your ethnic group?" Crikey, what is my ethnic group?! The options were Scottish, Other British, Irish, Gypsy/Traveller, Polish, or Other. I'm from Northern Ireland's protestant community, though not religious in the slightest. Am I ethnically Scottish? My Ulster lot arrived from Scotland with the Plantations. Am I Irish? I was born on the island of Ireland, and have some southern Irish connections also. Am I Other British, being Northern Irish? As in not-Scottish, having been born in Ireland? You can't beat an identity crisis like those enjoyed by your average Ulsterman! lol I opted for ethnically Irish but put my national identity as both Scottish and Northern Irish (Tick all options that apply!).

With the written document complete, I then used the online website to submit the required details to the Scottish Government, the whole procedure taking just a few minutes more. With that completed, I received a receipt code to confirm that the Government had received the information required. So that then left me with a redundant paper copy! Now the census asked some seriously dreary questions, so I decided to get my boys and wife together, and to go through it and ask for some additional material, scribbling the extra information onto the pages also.

So now posterity will know that my eldest son's favourite bands are Queen and Bon Jovi; my youngest son's favourite book is "Star Wars: Clone Wars annual 2011"; and my wife speaks English very well, but has her own "Clairey words" that only she understands, and has a birthday celebrated only every four years!

Then the interrogation got much more in depth! So my eldest son's religion is accompanied with the note that he goes to church reluctantly, my youngest returned home on Census Day from a sleep over at his best friend's, and my wife's favourite quote comes from her father in Ireland, who once answered someone knocking on his front door with "Feck off, there's nobody home!"

I've still to ask myself some additionally probing questions, but hopefully anyone reading the paper version, if it survives for another hundred years, will know just what made us tick as a family, and not just what our contribution to the state's problems were! lol



  1. I also pondered over the ethnicity question for quite a long time, having a mixture of English and Scottish ancestry and not considering 'Other British' to be a recognised ethnicity! I eventually went for White Other: Mixed British.

    I also decided to submit the online form and keep the paper copy with my personal family documents for posterity. I wasn't quite as creative as your family but I think my descendants will be able to tell that I have awful handwriting, I like coffee and I'm pretty messy :P


  2. Likewise, I submitted ours online and have kept the paper copy in our archives. I added extra bits of details to the paper copy, including the answers to the questions that were not asked!

  3. Same here. Am I right in thinking that the paper versions will all be pulped anyway after they've been scanned?

    I too had fun with the national identity boxes and managed to fit most of the kids middle names in - just in case anybody does some digging about in the future and needs an helping hand to point them in the right direction. It would be nice to think that the children might live long enough lives to look themselves up! For my part, I shall be actively pushing up daisies long before 2111 comes around.

  4. I had trouble with the national identity question, as I blogged here: