03 August 2012

Yippee! Ancestry.com Releases Completely Searchable 1940 U.S. Federal Census

Amazing – the 1940 census has been accessible to the pubic for just 4 months and it is now fully indexed!

This announcement has inspired me to find my dad in this census!  Other than his birth record, it will be the only time he’s found listed with his father who died the next year at the age of 26!

And, I found him!  He’s living with his parents, sister, maternal grandfather and maternal uncle – so cool!

5-336, Salem, Essex, MA
And then I found his paternal grandparents living over in Peabody!  And ... if I didn't need to get back to work I'd be looking for the rest of the family and then my husband's family, etc.  Guess I know what I'll be doing this weekend!

Here's part of the Ancestry.com announcement ...

Ancestry.com Releases Completely Searchable 1940 U.S. Federal Census

A searchable index to 134 million records makes researching family history in the latest available U.S. Census dramatically easier

PROVO, UTAH – (August 3, 2012) – Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, is proud to announce that it has completed the records indexing process for the 1940 U.S. Federal Census, which is available at www.ancestry.com/1940census. All 134 million records are now easily searchable by name, date, place of birth and other key information recorded in the census. These records, which are free to search, offer valuable insight for the nearly 90 percent of Americans who either have family members recorded in the 1940 U.S. Census or are in it themselves ...

Users can now find basic information such as their ancestors’ names and where they lived, but also gain more insight about their ancestors’ daily lives. This information includes whether they owned or rented their home, the value of the residence and how many people resided there. For the first time, census takers in 1940 also asked questions specific to income and education. Interestingly, details like prior military service, the ability to read or write, and whether citizens spoke English – all asked in prior censuses – were not asked in 1940.

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  1. An Upfront with NGS reader shared the following on 6 August ...

    Not all states are searchable by name at this point despite what Ancestry might claim. Texas is one of the states where the index has not been released by The1940 US Census Community Project, and there are several others. You might want to check with [email protected]. as to when they will really be "completely searchable."

    According to the information I received from [email protected] on 03 Aug 2012,

    "It will take a few more weeks to complete the quality audit of the remaining states and publish them online for searching; however, the majority of the 1940 US Census records are already searchable online at the sites of the consortium members. Meanwhile, we hope the feelings you have at this moment of accomplishment are satisfying and will motivate you to continue giving. Families are being united across the generations with every name you index or arbitrate."

    Thanks MVJ for this update!

  2. Another Upfront with NGS reader has been unimpressed with Ancestry's 1940 Census Index and had this to share with us ...

    Ancestry’s 1940 index is a completely shoddy product, riddled with senseless errors and clearly rushed to market without even a basic level of quality control. In many cases, the errors make it impossible to find anyone. A number of the mistakes have nothing to do with the legibility of names, but are careless errors like repeating the race or birthplace of the previous household. Not only is it not “completely searchable,” it is close to being completely useless.

    I know that Ancestry.com is a major supporter of the genealogy community and of NGS, and I have been a subscriber to Ancestry since it went into business. But they have done a very poor job this time ...

    Sandra K.

  3. A new tool website "CensusGenie" has been unveiled and is geared toward the 1940 census and some of the challenges we have faced in using it, https://www.censusgenie.com/ -- if you find it helpful, please post a comment!