Sunday, April 1, 2012

1940 Census - Less Than a Day Away!

Well, folks - the day is almost here!  In less than 21 hours from the time of this posting, the 1940 Census will begin to appear online!  Yes, that's right - at 9:00 a.m., tomorrow morning, the first images will start to be uploaded onto FamilySearch.org, the organization which is leading the collaborative effort to bring the 1940 Census to all of us, free of charge.  However, at that time (as I now stand corrected), the entire database will be available on the National Archives web site, and veiwers can even watch the opening event via webcast at http://1940census.archives.gov/

 Tomorrow morning, Family Search will begin by uploading five states: Delaware, Virginia, Kansas, Oregon, and Colorado.  Of these five, only one (Virginia) is a state of interest for me, but since I expect to find many answers about the whereabouts of some of my maternal ancestors in this state, I feel very fortunate that it's going to be one of the first available, since I've signed up as an indexer. :)

To explain the process to those readers who may not have already been notified, I will share the partial text of an email I received yesterday from the folks at The 1940 U.S. Census Project, who are leading the effort to recruit indexers.  If you are interested in helping to make the census searchable, please adhere to the information below, so that you can sign up as an indexer.  No experience is necessary, and you can do this from the comfort of your own home!

Get Ready, Get Set . . .

Thank you for your interest in the 1940 US Federal Census. This will be the last email you receive on behalf of the 1940 US Census Community Project before the images start to become available online.

What You Can Expect on April 2

The 1940 US Census Community Project is creating an index to the 1940 US Federal Census that will be made available for free. This is a joint effort between Archives, FindMyPast, FamilySearch, hundreds of societies, and tens of thousands of individual volunteers. The resulting index will be made available on the websites of the primary sponsors.

On the morning of Monday, April 2, NARA will release the digital images of the 1940 census to multiple parties, including the 1940 US Census Community Project. We will immediately start uploading these 3.6 million images to servers, where they will become available online over time. The ability for people to start accessing some of these images through the community project will take hours, not minutes.

As the first five states are loaded to servers, corresponding projects will be set up to index those images as state projects. We anticipate the first five states will be available for volunteer indexing by 10pm EDT.

The first five states to be loaded and ready for indexing on April 2 are the following:






The process of uploading images and setting up indexing projects by state will continue until all of the states and territories for this project are published, which may take up to two weeks to complete. Every day more images will be made available for browsing and indexing, so you will want to check back often to see which states are available.

The indexing process will be taking place through FamilySearch indexing. If you are already a FamilySearch indexing volunteer, these 1940 census projects will appear as new projects in the indexing software. No new software download or registration process is necessary to participate. If you are not currently a volunteer but want to participate in this historic opportunity, get started by downloading the indexing software and registering today.

You can keep up with the latest updates by visiting the1940census.com often over the next few weeks.

Thank You!

The 1940 US Census Community Project Team

My goal for tomorrow will be to try to locate as many of my maternal ancestors, as possible, since many of them had migrated by then from North Carolina to Virginia.  I will be most pointedly searching for my maternal grandfather, Daniel Webster Hill, who abandoned his family sometime in 1938, and was never heard from again.  How about you?  What's going to be your research focus for "Release Day"! :)

*(This post was revised after I received a comment from reader, Joel Weintraub, of Dana Point, CA.  Thanks, Joel!)

I am a Blogger Ambassador for the 1940 U.S. Census Project, and you can be, too!  Just sign up at https://the1940census.com/sign-up/!


  1. You misinterpreted the information.

    The 1940 community project's website will slowly put up the digitized images for their name indexing project, but the entire, 3.8 million images should appear, magically, at 9 am tomorrow (eastern time) on the National Archives website: 1940census.archives.gov and will be searchable by enumeration district.

    Joel Weintraub
    Dana Point, CA

  2. I'm still no more ready than I was 17 days ago when I posted my are you ready post.

    Oh well, hopefully I'll get up to speed quickly. I'm hoping to find that elusive grand uncle that I've been blogging about for awhile now. Only problem is I've no clue where he may be. Well, I've got the places I've been searching in for quite awhile but outside of that, I have no clue.

  3. Thanks, Joel. I've revised the post! :)