Tuesday 17 May 2022

Ireland's Census 2022 Time Capsule: no official response planned

A big topic of conversation among genealogists in the weeks leading up to last month's census in the Republic of Ireland was what to include in the so-called Time Capsule. This was a blank space – quite literally – into which each household could write or draw whatever they wanted for later generations to discover when the census papers are released to the public in the year 2122.

Given the fun, chatter and preparation for completion of the Time Capsule, I was surprised to read in the Irish Times at the start of May, when enumerators were still collecting census forms from homes, that a survey of householders showed almost 60% had chosen to not leave any message to the future.

There was no obligation to do so, but c'mon... How could anyone waste such a unique opportunity, even if it was only to have a rant about politicians, social issues or the price of a pint? I bet no self-respecting family history researcher was capable of leaving that space blank!

According to the survey, carried out by Amárach Research of Dublin, a narrow majority of those who chose to leave something more creative than answers to the formal census questions had their descendants in mind when they filled in the space.

While not doubting the veracity of the published survey results, I was curious as to whether the survey had been commissioned by the Central Statistic Office (CSO). It seemed unlikely, and sure enough, the Central Statistics Office quickly confirmed that they had not released any 'early' stats from the paper returns already received at their base in Swords, Co Dublin.

Although preliminary Census 2022 results will be published by CSO in June, these will not relate to the Capsule. Looking forward, the CSO has confirmed to IrishGenealogyNews that it does not anticipate that it will be releasing any data in relation to the Time Capsule.