Genealogy with Lisa Marker: Genealogy nerd eager for the 1940 census

Friday, March 30, 2012

By Lisa Marker

I admit it – I’m a genealogy nerd. “The 1940 census!” These words have been causing excitement and anticipation in my house for at least a year. Now we have just a few days to go until that year’s census is released to the public.

In the U.S., there is a legal restriction of 72 years before a census can be released to the public. On April 2nd (since the 1st falls on a Sunday), we get our first look.

This is the first census that will not initially have an index of names. This is somewhat disappointing, but of course will be remedied fairly quickly. Within a several month period, it is expected that an index will be available due to the efforts of volunteers. In the meantime, you can still utilize the census, especially if you know where your relatives lived in 1930 (which is indexed), and better still, if they lived in a big city. 

Go to Steve Morse's website and scroll down to US Census. You will find several helpful articles and sites. If you know the address at which they lived, or if you look up the census record and record the citation, including county and “ED” or Enumeration District number, you should be able to use the information at Steve Morse’s site to narrow down where to look on the 1940 census.

There is help in person as well. Go to your local library, genealogy society, historical archives, or Family History Center. Or look online. On Cyndislist alone the articles would probably answer most of your questions.

If you have yet to delve into your family history, this is a chance to find your more recent relatives, and maybe to show your children where their grandparents or great grandparents were, just before World War II.

If you would like to help with the indexing of the 1940 census, they would love your help. Go to this site, create a user name and password, and that should get you started! 

Good luck, and happy discovering!


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