The topic has been designed to help you to flesh out the story of your family a little more - their family structure, whereabouts, etc. Here's a reminder:
‘Census’ Find one of your favourite families in your family tree. Pick a year for a census in which you describe what you know about where they were living, who was likely to be living there, what their occupations were, what else was happening in the country, world at the time… in fact anything else you know about them then. Create your own census, or draw upon a census document you have found during your research to develop your ‘census report’ around.
In some cases, following a set of census records eg. England or Scotland from 1841 to 1911 (and in a few months to 1921) could produce a fairly rational and full story of a family's life. However, even then, children can be born and die between censuses so never appear on a census. This could happen to more than one child in a family across a decade. Families can suddenly appear - if they migrated from Ireland to England or Scotland, for example, and disappear as they migrate overseas.
However a number of our families are beset by a lack of published census results. As we learnt from Elizabeth last week, only the 1901 and 1911 Irish Census records are available in full. In Australia, although there were musters in the early days, there are few dedicated census results with names listed at addresses available. Australian censuses appear to have been (and still be) used more to collect aggregate information to provide a basis for social, economic and cultural policy formation than to provide details of who is living in families.
The following link explores this dilemma - https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Australia_Census
'Thinking outside the square', we are likely to need to draw on other records to see who may have been living in the households of our forebears at a particular time. Electoral rolls can be useful, as Barry found, however remember that they won't include family members under 21 years. Another problem, people may be living in the same household, but for some reason have different surnames, so they are unlikely to appear on the same page of the electoral roll.
Considering these (and other problems) underpins the purpose behind this month's topic, which is really to try to enhance the story of your forebears' lives by 'hypothesizing' possible census results for decades commencing in eg. '01', '11',...'81', if they weren't published. I could, for example, hypothesize my Lee family's 'census results' in Ireland in 1861 based on knowledge gleaned from 1871 Scottish Census and Catholic Baptismal Records from Ireland in the 1850's and 60's, and then follow up with what was on the 1881 Scottish census to explore a little more about what happened with the family a decade after the arrival, when perhaps some of the children had married and had children of their own.
Australian records provide a particular challenge. It will be the work you have done in finding BMD records which will provide much of your evidence, supplementing information from Electoral Rolls when they began to be published. I'd suggest that you stick with the '01' '11' etc decades for the imagined census dates for story telling purposes.
Of course, some of you will be able to do a broad sweep across 70 years of UK or Scottish published census results if that takes your fancy.
If you have time and the interest to understand more about censuses, you might like to watch the video which follows.
I hope this is helpful. Do feel free to respond to the topic in your own way; however if you want to chat about it, give me a call.