NARA is providing free digital images (but not indexed).
Use this URL: 1940census.archives.gov to go to the digital images beginning 9 a.m. Eastern Time, Monday April 2, 2012. This blog very nicely explains how to use the archives.gov site.
It will also be available at these websites; N.B. sites will vary as to which states they have loaded.
The 1940 census will be put online unindexed, although indexing efforts will immediately begin. (see below).
How can I find people on it (if I don't want to wait for the indexing) ?
- Start with the address.
- From that find the E.D. (enumeration district)
- Browse the pages of that enummeration district.
To find addresses
- City Directories (see this site's page Your Guide to Finding Ancestors in City Directories)
- 1930 census -- make note of the E.D. in 1930 too.
- WWII Draft Records
- Naturalization Papers and Petitions; passports.
- Social Security Applications (the application; not in the index)
- Family papers
- Voter registration list
To Find the E.D. and browse images...
AncestryInsider (at Family Tree Magazine) offers some very useful blogs about the 1940 census.
A few details...
- Usually about 30 pages per E.D. -- some more, some less.
- Some enumeration Districts have a letter suffic (A or B) If a number you have doesn't bring up a district, try adding one of those letters.
- If your end page is 37 and the next page is 61, no pages are missing. (And you will notice that the stamped numbers are indeed continuous)
- page 61 is for persons not home at the time the census taker did the enumeration
- page 81 is for transients.
What information is on it?
In 1940, for the first time, extra questions were asked of a sampling. Those sampled were the indviduals who appeared in lines 14 and 29 -- 5% of the population.
- Questions asked of everyone:
- Residence: location, visitation order, owned or rented, value or reant, farm?
- Name of each individual and relation to head of household, as well as age, place of birth, gender, rac, marital status, education ( whether in school since March 1, 1940 and highest grade completed), place of birth, citizenship (if foreign born), residence as of April 1, 1935. Bonus: An X marks the name of the person giving the information.
- Questions asked of everyone over 14:
- several questions concerning employment status.
- Additional questions asked of the sampling:
- Place of birth of father and mother
- Mother tonque (language spoken in childhood home)
- Veteran stautus: women and children under 18 to answer according to status of husband/father. Children under 18 asked if the veteran father is dead. Living veterans to specify the war.
A few details...
- If the highest grade completed is 11, the person may still be a high school graduate.
- If the citizenship column says "AmCit" the person is an American citizen who was born abroad.
- If a person worked 52 weeks but has was paid no wages, he worked for himself (and wasn't paid by anyone else)
There are 3 (count 'em 3!) separate indexing projects in place.
- The 1940 Census Community project -- FamilySearch, Archives.com, Censusrecords.com --a volunteer effort.
- Ancestry.com -- creating its own index; paid indexing. 2 phases; first name only, next more details.
- MyHeritage (owner of My Heritage, World Vital Records and Family Link. ) - Creating its own index; paid indexing.
This means that until all indexing is done, sites will vary in what is indexed. And once it is all done, a name inaccurately indexed in one effort, may be found in either of the remaining two.
Want to help index the 1940 census? Get more information at the1940census.com -- if you are typing in the URL note that it begins with the word the.
More Information, Please!