Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Green Genes Part 2

This is one column from Ireland's 1911 census form. The columns preceding it asked inhabitants to list their names, ages, vital statistics, etc. And in this final column? This is where you were to indicate if you were an idiot, imbecile, dumb, deaf, lunatic or some certain combination thereof.

I don’t know. I’ve known a lot of Irish people in my time and I feel as though these descriptions could be generously applied while actual clinical diagnosis would really not be needed. Contemplating some of America's more vociferous Irish-Americans - Joseph McCarthy (lunatic), Sean Hannity (dumb idiot) and Bill O’Reilly (lunatic imbecile) most readily come to mind.


  1. The final column in the 1860 U.S. census was very similar to this. It asked if you were "Deaf, dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper or a convict." The reason the final two (pauper and convict) were omitted from the Irish census was that it went without saying that most Irishmen were paupers and all the convicts had been sent to Australia.