Some of you may have noticed the bright new button at the top of my sidebar. I am an official 1940 U.S. Census Blog Ambassador, which just means that I get to share some of my passions with you and spread the word about what’s happening in April.
It’s no secret that I love family history; in fact I love all kinds of history. But you probably don’t know that I love census records. Yes, I do! I think it’s because the census shows families. Birth records don’t do that, marriage records don’t do that, death records don’t do that. But census records do. Families are very important to me and there have been a number of family members that I have searched for in vital records to no avail. But I’ve been able to find them on the census with their families and make sure they’re accounted for.
It is really thrilling to me when I find the actual names of my family members written out on U.S. Census forms. So I am really excited for April 2, when the 1940 U.S. Census is released by the National Archives. The 1940 Census is the first census ever to be released digitally. This new video prepared by the Archives explain the preparations that have gone on behind the scenes to digitize the microfilmed images and have them ready to go on April 2. Take a look (and know that the scratchy music at the beginning only lasts a few seconds!):
The 1940s have always fascinated me so I am especially looking forward to searching this census. As the video points out, it describes a country that has just survived the Depression. It reflects “all of the economic dislocation, how many people were immigrants, how many people had what level of education.” And it’s a snapshot in time of a country on the brink of war. This is fascinating stuff to me!
Although the census images will be available in April, it will take a long time to search out our families. 135 million Americans, 3.9 million digital images–you do the math. The images will be searchable by enumeration districts if you can figure out where your family lived in 1940, but it will be so much easier when there is an index created for the census . . . which is where you come in!
The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project is how that index will be created. The more volunteers the better. If you have never done FamilySearch Indexing before, well, why not give it a try? Download the software from the Indexing website and just start doing it. You can do as much or as little as you like. Index a few names when you have time; you can always come back and finish a batch later. If you’re a busy mom like me, you’ll love a project that gets done and actually stays done!
Personally I can’t wait to find my grandparents somewhere in those images.
Who are you hoping to find? Leave me a comment and let me know, and let me know if you’ll help me index come April 2!