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What is the Guadalajara Census Project?

The Guadalajara Censuses Project (GCP) is an experiment in the preservation and public access to the historical resources of two nations who share a common border yet who are often divided by differences in language, culture and history. In much the same sense, this project is an exercise in building a bridge between the humanities and the often presumed foreign, and at times even feared, "universe" of statistics. We began at Florida State University as a graduate seminar in the history of urban Mexico; we have become a multi-national, inter-disciplinary enterprise providing bilingual public access to the rich statistical resources of Guadalajara, Mexico. For the history of the GCP, see History of the Guadalajara Censuses Project.

With major funding provided by the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access, the GCP's current objective is to create a broadly accessible, bilingual database from Guadalajara's population censuses of 1791, 1813-1814, 1821, 1822, 1824, 1838-42, and 1930. We will also offer a user guide specifically crafted for persons with little background in statistics, designed not only for scholars but for students and the general public as well.

Purpose of this Web Site: The purpose of the GCP web site as it is now constituted is to provide an academically sound, practical resource for understanding the history of Guadalajara's populations censuses through 1930. Essays on the history of the city and its various censuses will be found here, along with the reasons why Guadalajara and the censuses of 1821 and 1822 were chosen to feature at this time. Further, we will include essays on the practical problems associated with creating a large and complicated census, database, and our own solutions to those problems. We will give examples of the kind of information one can expect from the completed database, and explore the potential for research. We will explain the technical details of exactly how the database is being created, complete with a list of the specific kinds of data (variables) to be offered. Finally, personnel information and project history is contained in this section of the website ("About the Guadalajara Census Project").

If all goes as planned we hope one day to offer on site an urban database compiled from censuses for Guadalajara, Mexico from 1792 to 1930. It will permit online research for purposes of investigative scholarship, teaching and genealogy. All essays and text will be in English and Spanish to further broaden its user base.

The current project runs from June 1999 thru December 2004. For details of the current project, go to History of the GCP.

Founding Principle: We of the staff of the Guadalajara Censuses Project believe that statistical resources in general and census records in particular are a vital tool of the humanities. In a very real way, they have the capacity to bring into sharper focus the lives of ordinary people, who otherwise leave little evidence of their passing. As the census takers made their rounds they not only described individuals and families, they preserved for future generations the very life of the culture, clues to our understanding a time known only to us now by the great buildings they raised, or the fleeting glimpses of ordinary life captured by writers, artists, newspapers or government officials, who often had other agendas than the preservation of history.

Moreover, a census is far more than a snapshot of one piece of frozen time. Within the generations recorded there are miniature portraits of earlier times, reaching as far back into the past as the oldest generation still living. The gender and ethnic divisions, the kinds of occupations practices, even the names they were given, tells us about a particular generation and they way they experienced history. Even death tells a tale, for in their absence the dead speak to us about who survives and who does not.

It is the intention of the Guadalajara Censuses Project to both provide the means by which all citizens of both Republics may have access to all the information contained in these censuses. It is also our intention to provide the means to use, interpret and explore the data contained in those documents, without preference to scholar, student, genealogist or general public.

Indeed, It is our hope that the information in these wonderfully rich and detailed censuses serve as a bridge between professional historians seeking new understanding of times past, students whose interests lie in a curiosity about life in another time, and families searching for their ancestral roots. For all, the Guadalajara Censuses Project is intended to be an easily accessible window onto times long past, whose realities deserves to be remembered.

"The result of the Guadalajara Censuses research project will be very important not only for the history of this city but also for the history of indepentent Mexico."

Dr. Carmen Castaneda Garcia
Professor of History
University of Guadalajara


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