Emilio Reyes, founder of Stop Tribal Genocide posted this on Facebook earlier. Remember when he exposed the Bureau of Indian Affairs wrongdoing in regards to Census Tampering?
|Emilio Reyes founder|
Stop Tribal Genocide
Census enumerators visited numerous homes over large areas. Simple human error certainly occurred. Sometimes individuals who answered the census questions may have been mistaken regarding certain details about their family members. Due to this, we cannot fully rely on the information provided on federal censuses. Before the 20th century it was not important. In such cases, if no one was available, the census enumerator will provide the information for the individual. Census information can also be inaccurate because of the people falsely adjusting the census. That is known as “padding the totes.” (Arlene Eakle, Ph.D.)
The object of padding the totes was most often to manipulate things to achieve statehood or other political goals. Adjusting the census for political reasons was not uncommon. (Minnesota 1857 census) Jurisdictions facing increased taxes might also understate their populations to keep overall per capita taxes lower.
People then, as now, were not always forthcoming with personal information, especially when the government is involved. Furthermore, in the Mexican-era, padrones recorded the surname of non-Indians but did not record surnames for Indians. Evidently, In the U.S. federal census, many California Indians are listed as Mexican or White. Census takers used their own opinions when filling in this category.
In 1902, in the city of Sacramento, there was a claim that many families declared no census taker called on them, and the present census of 1900 would seem to confirm that belief. In 1910 Thomas Daley and F.C. McDonald, census enumerator from Helena, Montana pleaded guilty to padding census return in the federal court. They were sentenced 24 hours in jail and fined $1000 each. Two more enumerators were said to be arraigned on the similar charge. In 1911 a detective from Spokane, Washington was indicted for census padding. Thereafter, Census supervisor, Guy E. Kelley, and Stacey M. Corwin, one of Kelley’s assistants, and W.A. McKenzie, a special agent of the United States census Bureau were indicted by the Federal grand jury which was investigating census frauds. The jury returned 14 indictments to Hanford, eight of which were census cases. One charge of him with conspiracy to aid violation of the census law and other charging that he induced census enumerators to make false returns.
The worst census problem of all is one that most people are not aware of. The census records that you look at, usually on microfilm or digital microfilm or online, on not the original census records. The census taker made the census record as he went from house to house. He may have used pre-printed forms or just wrote on whatever paper was available. When done he compiled the records onto the pre-printed forms each night or much later on. He was required to make another copy to be submitted to the Federal Government. He did this by hand and it would seem it was often done hurriedly and carelessly. The new copy, full of new errors, is what we have now. The original copies were mostly discarded, or filed away locally, and lost over the years. Some remain, but as far as I know, there is no easy access to them, at least not all in one place.
Other researchers have made comparisons between the original census records, where available and the "copies" we have now, and have found numerous transcription errors. In some cases the surnames as originally noted were totally different on the copy. Alterations on race was often given. Given names were different, ages, birth places, etc. were often changed from the original to the copy. I'm sure the census taker did not do any of this intentionally, but it happened, and it is one of the several problems we have with the census records we use.
In conclusion, agencies of the U.S. Government such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Office of Federal Acknowledgement are fully aware the U.S. Federal censuses are not a reliable source of information. Some researchers continue the use of these records to hurt Native Americans thru tribal disenrollment and other means. Be aware of these people, they refuse to understand kinship.