Thursday, March 15, 2012

Coming Soon: 1940 U.S. census

On April 2, 2012, digital images of the 1940 U.S. census will be available, for free, at There are no indexes as yet; that will come later. But there are ways to access the pages for the people you want to find and you can prepare now.

The NARA website has lots of good census information and suggestions to prepare for the arrival of the census. Without an index you need to know the address and enumeration district (ED) of the families you want to find. If you don’t know the address you might look in city directories, the 1930 census, or other records available to you that would have an address. You can find enumeration maps at
Better yet, visit the Stephen Morse website. You can locate the ED by address and locations or convert a 1930 ED to 1940 here. If you haven’t visited this site you should check it out. He has an amazing selection of “One-Step” searches, but we’ll focus on the 1940 census now. If you know where your family lived you can use this website to determine where to look in the census, even without the index. For the 1940 census go to Unified 1940 Census ED Finder.

Once the census pages are online you can access the first page of the enumeration district and look through the pages for the people you are looking for. You can also watch the Legacy webinar “Navigating the 1940 U.S. census” presented by Thomas MacEntee. It is available to view for free until March 19, 2012.

About that index. There are opportunities for volunteers to help with indexing the census through local genealogy organizations or Family Search. The more volunteers, the quicker we have an index. It’s not difficult and is good experience. Get more information or sign up at

Get your list ready.

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