If you’re anything like me (and I have to think you are, reading genealogy blogs), you’ve probably spent the last year or so waiting for the release of the 1940 census. I feel like I’ve been watching that countdown on Ancestry forever, so the fact that it’s being released tomorrow is kind of blowing my mind right now. I can’t wait.
A week or so ago I got an e-mail from Ancestry inviting me to register for the chance to join the 1940 Aces program. Lo and behold, I got an e-mail yesterday telling me I had been accepted!
Basically what it entitles me to is exclusive information about the 1940s census as it’s uploaded in the coming weeks. Pretty fantastic, huh? Here’s what I have so far:
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 onAncestry.com. Note also that the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be accessible free of charge throughout 2012 on Ancestry.com.
Ancestry has a microsite where you can learn about the 1940 census (click here). They’ve also just released Enumeration District Maps for 1940, which will really end up being helpful in the coming days. For those who don’t know, enumeration maps outline the area included in each district.
These maps will be really useful in the coming days, because, as it says in the little blurb up there, the 1940 census is being released initially as a browse-only collection. That is, it won’t be searchable right away. In order to find your ancestors, you’re going to have to do it manually. For people who’s families lived in big cities (like mine), knowing the enumeration district number is going to be really important. I’ve checked out the maps for Kings County already to try and figure out where my family lived. I’m sure I’ll be going back to them periodically as the census is released.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned for more information!