Give Your Descendants a 2010 Census Care Package

Tuesday, 23 Mar 2010 | by Mark Tucker

My family received our U.S. 2010 Census form last week and included in the mailer was a message for the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau which included among other things a reminder that this census will not be made public for 72 years. Using 25 years as an estimate for a generation, that means that this information won’t be available to my descendants for about 3 generations.  That is unless I make them a care package.  Here are my ideas:

  1. Complete the 2010 Census form and scan it.  That way it becomes immediately available as part of your family history.
  2. Take a picture of your family in front of your house and take a second picture that includes the entire house.
  3. Use your favorite online map: Google, Bing, Yahoo, MapQuest, etc. and find your neighborhood or street on the map.  Switch to aerial view, take a capture of the screen image and highlight your house in the context of your neighborhood. You may choose to highlight other points of interest. 
  4. Take your video camera and do a walking tour of your neighborhood. Who knows what your neighborhood will look like in 72 years.
  5. Use the map of your neighborhood or on a separate sheet a paper, include the names and addresses of your friends and neighbors.

What other ideas do you have for a Census care package?  What items do you think your descendants would want to see?  What do you wish your ancestors would have included in a care package?  If you choose to do a 2010 Census care package, share what you did.


  1. What an amazing idea!

    Comment by Regina — 23 Mar 2010 @ 9:08 am

  2. That is such a great idea! I am definitely going to do this! Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by A.C. Ivory — 23 Mar 2010 @ 9:08 am

  3. Most tweetable advice.

    Comment by Tamura Jones — 23 Mar 2010 @ 9:26 am

  4. I was going to just scan mine, but I really like your idea of including a map and pictures! Thank you for sharing!

    Comment by Sara Davis — 23 Mar 2010 @ 9:31 am

  5. What a great idea! I will also share the info with those I am collaborating with so it is in more than location.

    Comment by Donna Peterson — 23 Mar 2010 @ 9:35 am

  6. Great article! We’re going to do this!
    My husband is writing his memoirs and possibly we’ll include this as the last “chapter.”
    Sue Edminster

    Comment by Sue Edminster — 23 Mar 2010 @ 9:56 am

  7. I would include a sheet with some of the information which has been collected on past censuses but is not collected on this one, such as occupation, birthplace, parents’ birthplaces, and other brief data bits one might want to include such as military service, education, or religion.

    Great idea, though, and I’ll put the package together as soon as I can get to it (around my very heavy academic schedule right now). I did make a copy of our filled-out census sheets.

    Comment by Karen Packard Rhodes — 23 Mar 2010 @ 10:20 am

  8. A very awesome idea! Love it!

    Comment by Cheryl Palmer — 23 Mar 2010 @ 10:21 am

  9. What an awesome idea – I’m off to follow up on some of your tips right now.

    Comment by Mary Warren — 23 Mar 2010 @ 10:56 am

  10. Now why didn’t i think of that? It’s a great idea… except we already completed our census return and sent it back. Hmmm… maybe I can scan someone’s blank, or find a blank somewhere?

    Comment by KathyJN — 23 Mar 2010 @ 11:36 am

  11. What a great idea! I mailed ours in already and was so disappointed at what was left out, like where I was born!! But I’m going to ask my sister if I can scan her blank one and use it to make a care package for my great, great, great grandchildren.

    Comment by Barbara Holz Sullivan — 23 Mar 2010 @ 1:12 pm

  12. This is a GREAT idea! We are all about digitizing & preserving them :) (we have a place you can hold them and share and preserve forever so this is all about what we are passionate about).

    Comment by Sam Henderson — 23 Mar 2010 @ 6:50 pm

  13. Great Idea! I had scanned my form but the other activies will make it more meaningful.

    Comment by Mary — 23 Mar 2010 @ 7:01 pm

  14. Your article was most tweeted by Genealogy experts in the Twitterverse…

    Come see other top popular articles surfaced by Genealogy experts!…

    Trackback by Most Tweeted Articles by Genealogy Experts: MrTweet — 25 Mar 2010 @ 8:35 am

  15. [...] recommend considering putting together a Census Care Package like Mark Tucker describes in his blog post found on Think Genealogy. This package includes a scanned copy of your completed census form, maps [...]

    Pingback by April 2010 Family History Expos Newsletter — 25 Apr 2010 @ 3:38 pm

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