My email inbox filled up today with messages from a number of people stating that the 2010 census forms are scheduled to be destroyed after the required data has been extracted. Several people claimed that the Census Bureau and the National Archives have agreed to throw out the 2010 census forms after archiving statistical data. The claim is that the Census Bureau and the National Archives plan to make a data file rather than capture images of the census forms. If true, this means that future genealogists will not be able to find the names of their ancestors in 2010 census records.
There is but one problem: not one of these people gave a reference as to where that information came from. As genealogists, we all should be citing our sources. I spent some time on Google searching for a reliable source for this information, but all I could find is many people repeating the unsourced claims made by other people plus one vaguely-worded press release.
Some correspondents stated that the contract to shred the original documents has been given to Data Killers, a shredding and degaussing company. A look at the company's web site shows a press release issued about eight months ago that describes destroying Census Bureau "hard drives, back-up tapes, CD’s and other types of magnetic media" but seems to omit any mention of paper. Then again, most of the census records are being recorded directly on digital media, not paper.
Here is the press release from last June:
Data Killers has been awarded a year long contract by the U.S. Census Bureau of Washington, D.C.
Data Killers has been awarded a year long contract by the U.S. Census Bureau of Washington, D.C. The nationally recognized data and product destruction company has been contracted to perform on-site data destruction services at all U.S. Census Bureau sites throughout the greater Washington, Baltimore, and Northern Virginia area. The year-long contract, with options to extend, covers on-site shredding of all media types including hard drives, back-up tapes, CD’s and other types of magnetic media.
“The Census Bureau collects a lot of information. They wanted to be sure that all that information was safely destroyed on their premises when it was no longer needed. We brought in our on-site shredder and shredded several thousand pieces for them under the first part of this contract. We have the NSA-approved equipment for all types of media destruction including classified materials,” added Rodney Young, Operations Manager.
Data Killers, a division of Turtle Wings Electronics Recycling, is a woman-owned, hub-zoned company with multiple GSA contracts. “Since we have held the GSA contract for shredding media for almost two years, our Certificates of Destruction have become nationally recognized,” said Zack Boorstein, Vice President. “We perform shredding and degaussing work both on-site and off-site for a number of government agencies and have developed a great reputation.”
“Everyone knows that the Census Bureau is gearing up for the 2010 count of everyone living in the United States as mandated by the U.S. Constitution. I imagine we will be busy helping them protect all this data!” added Boorstein.
"Protect all this data???" They plan to "protect" it by destroying it? Is this true? Will all mention of names and addresses of residents in the 2010 U.S. census be destroyed?
If anyone has a PROVEN, believable source to this rumor, do us all a favor and post a comment below and tell us where we can all read the truth. (Please do not repeat the unfounded rumors that others are circulating; we need something that can be verified.)
The above press release strikes me as being a bit vague; I am hoping for a better reference.