Saturday, May 9, 2020

I Suppose That Will Annoy Them

I ignored the repeated "YOU MUST GO ONLINE AND FILL OUT YOUR CENSUS FORM!" messages because I didn't WANT to go ONLINE and fill out the census.  I wanted the paper copy.  That's just me.

So I finally got around to filling it out this morning, and the final question when you list each person's info is about race.  So, OK, white.  Until mid-summer when I'll be very brown.  But then they list a whole bunch of national origin options:  Ireland, England, Germany, etc. and wanted me to pick one. Just one.

My family has been in North America since the 1640s.  One of my ancestors signed the petition protesting the jailing of Rebecca Nurse as a witch during the Salem hysteria.  Others were present at the opening battles of the American Revolution, and different branches that would eventually come together and marry on the western frontier of Virginia served in Washington's Continental Army.  My grandmother remembered sitting on the knee of an uncle who would tell her stories of the battles he'd fought in during the Civil War.  Other men of the family had been there, too, at Gettysburg and Antietam and all those battles that few are probably taught about now but they, like many other veterans, preferred not to talk about their experiences.  Two uncles had grown tired of losing their farmland to the destruction of battles, packed up their families, and headed west to Iowa during the war, preferring the risk of Indian attack to cannonballs coming through their barns.  They settled in what would become the town of New Virginia, IA.  

I've done the DNA thing.  I am pure mutt.  A lot of Northern European, with a bit of the Iberian Peninsula and Middle East as well, which suggests either Moor or Sephardic Jew.  But not a single one of my ancestors came through Ellis Island - we were here long before.

So, thoroughly annoyed by that particular question, I wrote in "American."  That was not one of the options offered.  Too bad.

One of our ancestral homes, built built by Nathanial Felton, Jr., in the 1680s and still maintained as a historic site in Peabody, MA
Troxell-Steckell house, built in 1756, in Lehigh County, PA, also maintained as an historic site
Remember the song "We Built This City"?  Well, my ancestors may not have "built this city out of rock and roll", but we built this nation out of blood, sweat, hard labor and tears.  And so I'm an AMERICAN, census folks.  Just an American.


  1. I wrote the same thing when I filled it out. They'll be pissed at the lot of us.

    1. There was something about that not being the first choice in the list that cheesed me off royally.

  2. Amen to being 'just' American!

    1. I felt like it was just one more attempt to balkanize us.

  3. I did the same thing. I think that, between my Census sedition and my leaving the house to go for walks, I'm headed to Leavenworth for sure. Can I call you for bail money?