Monday, August 22, 2011

1940 Census Will be Free on

Subscription genealogy website has decided to make the 1940 census images and index—which will be on the site after the 1940 census is opened next year for research—free to search and view through 2013.

That’ll be more than 3.8 million images with 130 million records. Even better, they’ll be indexed by 45 fields, meaning you’ll be able to search on the name, street address, county, state, parents’ birthplaces and more.

The records won’t be on right when the census is released April 2, 2012, by the National Archives.’s press release says they’ll commence “streaming onto the website in mid-April 2012.”

The digital images will be accessible free of charge at NARA facilities nationwide through our public access computers as well as on personal computers via the internet.

The 1940 Census will not have a name index when it opens on April 2, 2012. In order to locate someone, you will need to know his or her address and the Census enumeration district in which that address was located.

What can you do now in preparation for the opening of the 1940 Census?

1. Make a list of all the people you want to look for in the 1940 census. Think broadly--ancestors, their siblings, cousins, etc.--anybody to whom you are related.

2.Collect addresses for these people for whom you plan to search.

Sources for addresses include:

City Directories (NARA has original Circa 1940 City Directories for Washington, DC. The Library of Congress holds a large nationwide collection of city directories and many libraries hold local directories.)

The 1930 Census (useful for people who did not move between 1930 and 1940). If you have a person's enumeration district (ED) number from the 1930 Census you can use "The Converting between 1930 and 1940 Census ED1940s in One Step" search utility at to find the equivalent ED for the 1940 Census.

World War II Draft Records (contact the National Archives' Regional Location for the state in which your ancestor lived).

Naturalization Petitions or Declarations of Intent filed close to 1940 (contact the National Archives' Regional Location for the state in which your ancestor lived)

3.Identify the enumeration district (ED) in which each address was located. There are currently several ways to do this:

Search the 1940 Census Maps for Enumeration District Numbers
Go to the Archival Research Catalog (ARC):

Enter 1940 Census maps + the county + the state: 1940 Census maps Sussex Delaware

You can narrow the search by including a town name in the search: 1940 Census maps Sussex Milford Delaware

Note: Not all towns will have individual maps. You may need to look at county maps for some towns. In the search results, click on the map to see a larger version of the map.

More to follow as we get closer to this major genealogical event.