Saturday, March 31, 2012

It will be epic...the 1940 census will be

The other day I heard a woman talking about the release of the 1940 census, which is set to occur on Monday. She was confused as to whether she would be able to search it starting Monday or even be able to see it. I wanted to explain to her what I know about the release, but didn't want to be that "know-it-all-genealogist." You know the one I'm talking about.

Anyway, to ensure that my "know-it-all" status was legitimate, I signed up for the 1940 Aces Program set up by They will be sending me updates on the process of releasing the census and will provide clarification on the process as they move through it. This is a blurb they provided to better help explain the process of releasing the 1940 census:

"The National Archives and Records Administration will open the 1940 U.S. Federal Census on April 2, 2012—the first time this collection will be made available to the public. Once we receive the census, we will begin uploading census images to our site so the public can browse them. Initially, this collection will be what we call a browse-only collection. This means a person can scroll through the pages of the census districts much like you would look at a microfilm or a book. At the same time, we will be working behind the scenes to create an index of the census that will eventually allow people to search for their family members by name as they currently can with all other censuses on Note also that the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be accessible free of charge throughout 2012 on"

The bottom line is that as soon as the NARA releases the paper census to the public, will begin scanning it and posting those images online for individuals to browse. Behind the scenes hordes of volunteers and professionals will be creating an index of the pages for a searchable database. I was also excited to learn that will be providing the 1940 census for free throughout 2012.

For more information and updates on their progress you can visit their 1940 census page. You will also be able to access scans for free from the collaboration between FamilySearch,, and Learn more here. Epic!


Tessa said...

I would have been happier if Ancestry had played nice and been part of the team that is indexing and keeping these records free with no time limits.

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Yes, I agree. But for now it's another free option.