About The Author

David Grabitske

David Grabitske is the manager of outreach services at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, Minnesota.

When it comes to showing the worth of local history, some have noted a certain amount of difficulty in making the case to elected leaders. Perhaps one way for local historical organizations in Minnesota to further demonstrate the practicality of their missions is to become involved with the 2010 Census.

In a press release earlier today, State Demographer Tom Gillaspy noted that Minnesota stands to lose one congressional seat for the lack of 1,100 people. One of the biggest issues is where Minnesota’s snowbirds are counted. For months the state has gotten the message out that snowbirds need to remember their home state when returning the census.

Is there a role here for local historical organizations? Many are in solid contact with their snowbird members through newsletters and other means. It seems to be within the twofold interest of Minnesota’s local historical organizations to use their contacts to help with the 2010 Census. First, the primary responsibility of local history organizations is to record history while it happens. The Census is a once-every-10-years snapshot of who lives in the United States – history as it happens. Second, recording the census accurately will augment reference libraries in the future. Most local historical organizations provide wonderful reference libraries that contain copies of past census returns.

Ensuring that Minnesota’s population is accurately counted could help preserve the state’s eight congressional seats, which then in turn would influence the amount of federal aid coming to the state and its local governments. And, ensuring accuracy in the census will help our reference libraries in the future (year 2082). What is your historical organization doing to help with the 2010 Census?

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2 Responses to Making History Count

  1. Our next newsletter will feature an item about Census 2010, encouraging people to make sure they, their families, and friends all take the brief time needed to fill it out. Our emphasis will be on the fact that census records are one of the premiere forms of research used by genealogists.

    We will remind them that 100 years from now, someone will be researching them, and do we really want those folks to be left with unanswered questions about who we were? In this ever-so-humble museum director’s opinion, I would think/hope not.

    Hopefully our local newspaper will be doing an article, so we will try to get a foothold in that also.


  2. Connie Lies says:

    Litchfield formed a Complete Count Committee last year. We have a traveling display and have taken it to a number of functions including a senior expo, school conferenses, and library meetings. We will be attending WIC clinics this month. We have information in Spanish and English including business card size hand outs. We have verified all addresses in the city and made corrections. We intend to post information in the public transit bus, food shelf, and bars. This information is targeted to various audiences with how the census benifits them.


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