Monday, April 2, 2012

1940 U.S. Census Released Today!

Being new to the world of genealogy, today's release of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census by the National Archives is an exciting event for us!  Census records have been extremely helpful for us, not only by providing us with the location of many of our ancestors, but also revealing their birth years, where their parents came from, and where they worked.  Many times, they have also introduced us to new members to add to our family tree.

S and K in the mid-1940s
One set of our grandparents in the mid-1940s.

United States census records remain private, held at the National Archives, to be released to the public only after 72 years.  There were some new questions added on the 1940 census that had not been asked previously.  For example, for the first time, the enumerator marked who was providing the information for each individual household.  You can view a complete list of the questions and blank census forms here.  This has me thinking back to the 2010 census we just filled out.  Do you remember what questions they asked?  I wonder if the information I provided will be useful to my ancestors 70 years from now?

F in 1944
Our grandmother's eldest brother F in uniform in 1944.
Do you know many members of your 1940s family served in the
war that defined this decade?

Free access to digital images of the census will be available today, April 2, at 9:00am EST on  Beginning at 8:30am, on the same website, will be a live webcast of an opening ceremony.  Information from the census is not yet indexed, but if you know where your ancestors were living, you can use the enumeration district to locate them. has access to the images as of midnight and will immediately begin uploading the images to their website.  Several organizations have plans for immediate indexing of the census to make searching for family names possible.  FamilySearch, along with some other organizations, are sponsoring this website and blog, which are rallying people to help index the census as quickly as possible once it is released, so that it can be made available to as wide an audience as possible.  Another fun site was the facebook page of the National Archives where fun photos and facts have been posted.  I've enjoyed counting down the days with these organizations and look forward to witnessing all of the events throughout the day today.

For those of you who have been anxiously anticipating the 1940 census release to locate some of your ancestors, we wish you the best of luck in your research!  Happy 1940's Day!

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I am excited that you are so excited! This has been the talk of a few ladies in my neighborhood that love family history. What a gift!