At 12.01am Monday, at the NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) offices in Maryland, we received the 1940 US Federal Census images. We immediately headed to our new data center to begin uploading the images for our users.
As we’ve announced on this blog, we’re providing access to the census (images and index) for free and we’ll provide automatic alerts whenever there’s a match between your family tree and a census record.
The index will also be provided and will be added to as the work is completed. Researchers around the world have been waiting for this census for 72 years, and we are proud to be part of this historical event.
I already have a list of history mysteries that I’m hoping the images will help solve. Of course, as a long time genealogist, I know that the more data we can access may be somewhat of a two-edged sword.
While we find more information and finally answer some questions, the new data often raises additional mysteries.
So, I guess I am hoping for both: Answers and more mysteries, which will give me more data to track down, and more leads to other resources that I’ve not yet considered.
What was so special about 1940?
The US was coming out of the Great Depression, the economy was improving, people were full of hope, and they didn't know that in two years, they'd be at war. See a photo right of the January 1940 Senior Prom of Samuel J. Tilden High School (Brooklyn, New York). In less than three months, everyone in the photo would be recorded in the 1940 census.
What is a census?