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?
As a genealogist, I’m excited about the release of the 1940 census. Not only will it be online but - better yet - it will be available directly from WorldVitalRecords.com and MyHeritage.com on the very day that NARA releases the census to the public.
It is essential for researchers to know their enumeration districts (EDs) to ensure their early success on April 2nd. The last thing you want to do is call Grandma to help you find the location you should be searching instead of actually spending time in the census images.
Everyone at MyHeritage is very excited about the release of the 1940 US Federal Census.
We will offer free access to it on our site - read more about it on our blog post.
Meanwhile, view this short historical footage video from the US National Archives about the taking of the 1940 census. It shares the important civic duty of Americans to respond to the questions: "You cannot know your country, unless your country knows you!".
Did you find this video of interest? Do you have questions about the 1940 census? Let us know via comments below.
You can find the 1940 Census records at www.myheritage.com/1940census