Several months ago, when I blogged about the upcoming release of the 1940 census, the release date was more than a year away. Now, as of this posting, we’re looking at 134 days to go!
I’ve been anxiously awaiting access to the 1940 census ever since I got bitten by the genealogy bug more than 10 years ago. I can’t wait to find out where some relatives migrated to after the Great Depression and how many relatives were able to attend school. I am also excited about seeing my maternal grandparents recorded as adults for the first time on a census.
Here’s why you should be excited, too! On Thursday, it was announced that Archives.com and the National Archives have partnered to offer FREE digital access to the 1940 census starting April 2, 2012, at 9 a.m. EST. (Website’s name and URL to be announced.)
Here’s the catch, though. The 1940 census hasn’t been indexed by name yet, so you’ll have to find out some important geographical details before you dive in to those 3.8 million scanned images. According to the press release, “researchers will be able to search the 1940 Census by address, Enumeration District (ED), and geographic location. Researchers will be able to browse images by ED number directly, or use address or geographic information to locate the appropriate census schedule.”
Don’t let that discourage you. If you’re just starting out in your research, take advantage of holiday gatherings over the next couple of months to ask elders and kinfolk about names, birth dates, birthplaces, and addresses from the past. Make sure you put the information in a safe place for future reference, as it will be of great help when you begin your census searching. Visit Archives.com for a blank 1940 federal census form, updates and more.
p.s. The National Archives’ YouTube site has four short films about the 1940 census, which were used to train enumerators. Don’t you just love historical footage?