Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy 1940 Census Day!

Well, its only taken 10 years (actually 72 if you think about it) but the 1940 census has been released and as we genealogists should've expected the websites that are offering not only images but indexes for this important record are overloaded with visitors trying to find their parents, grandparents and the like.

Delaware was the first state to come online and is complete along with Washington DC and Virginia (last time I looked anyway). Depending on which website you go to, the availability is going to be different for each one. But what can you do if your state isn't yet available?

First, be PATIENT, the records/images aren't going to magically appear no matter how much hype there has been about them.Second, try using the Ancestry and the 1940s Era records that they have unlocked for the next 8 days and get ahead of the game for the 1940 census. Find your relatives in 1930, jot down their address AND the Enumeration District and then use Steve Morse's website to convert that ED for 1940. That way, when your state DOES become available (and you can page through the images though no index) you can make things a little easier, especially if your relatives lived in a big city, like Chicago, like mine did. Third, use some of the updated records at FamilySearch and fill in other blanks. I did that earlier today and finally found my paternal grandparents marriage record. My paternal grandfather was listed as CARWIN, but I didn't care because I have been waiting a long time to actually SEE that record. So if I can wait to see that one I can wait a little while longer to find them in the 1940 census living in Chicago AND find my dad for the first time in ANY census.

They say patience is a virtue, well for genealogists I think it'll be a test of just how long we can hold out. And look at it this way, we have 10 more years to wait till the 1950 census is released.