Saturday, March 24, 2012

1940 Census - Nine more days!

In just nine days, the 1940 Census will be here! I imagine that while we wait, many in the genea-world will be stockpiling the necessary food and beverages to sustain us while we dig in and begin to search for our family members. Many of us will be diligently seeking to knock down brick walls; others will just need to confirm information that has been suspected all along, or passed on by family lore. Whatever the goal each genealogist has, we're sure to have cleared our calendars for April 2nd, so the fun can begin!

As the BIG DAY grows nearer, I've begun to contemplate my approach to the 1940 documents. After all, the images that will be released on April 2nd are just that - images of the actual census documents. However, there will be no index available right away, so the only way to find our folks will be to flip page by page through the virtual documents for whole cities or counties, or if we know an address or neighborhood, to use one of the available resources to try to locate the enumeration districts, so that we can at least narrow our searches down by neighborhoods.

The tool I've decided to use (at least for now) is Steve Morse's ED Finder, which allows users to input an address, along with a cross street, to determine the probable enumeration district(s).  If you don't know the address, or if the people you are searching for in 1940 lived in a small town, Dr. Morse has several other tools on his site which may help you to narrow down your search for the correct enumeration district.  Click here to view the full site.  (Also credited are Drs. Joel D Weintraub and David R Kehs.) 

As I began to use Dr. Morse's tool to find enumeration districts for some of the people on my family tree, I realized that I wanted to have an organized system of recording the information, so that once the census is released, I could systematically move through the list of people I needed to find.  Therefore, I created a new form, which I'm calling my, "1940 Census Enumeration District Locator".  Anyone who would like to use this document is more than welcome. Here  is a direct link to the document, which you can download, or you can email me at yarsan@aol.com, and I will gladly send it to you as an attachment.

Before I close, I must put a plug in for the effort to recruit more indexers for the 1940 Census.  This is truly a "more the merrier" situation, or a case of "Many hands make light work". :)  As a 1940 Blog Ambassador, I'd like to encourage anyone who is reading this to join the effort as an indexer. 132 million people were living in the United States in 1940, so it will take a LOT of people to make this project successful. Signing up to help is easy as pie!  Just go to https://the1940census.com/ and give your name and email address, and you're in!  You can even choose which state you'd most like to work on! So, come on and join in the fun.  Just nine more days, and we're in! :)



  1. Hi, Renate! Love the idea of the form. I guess I need to start organizing my searches plans too. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Renate, Thanks for posting this as I'm trying to get up to speed quickly on the 1940 census.

  3. Mavis and Jennifer, thanks for your comments. Glad if I could be of some help! :)


  4. Terrence A. GarnettMarch 25, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Great Idea Renate I will definitely download your form for use.