Friday, June 8, 2012

1940 US Census Index Update

Eager researchers now have two sources to find indexes for parts of the images for the 1940 US Census. As previously reported in this blog, a huge team of volunteers has been very busy indexing these images by name and location. Now Ancestry has announced that it is beginning to bring up indexes of full states. Currently only Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Nevada and New York are searchable by name there.

 It is important for researchers to realize that there are at least two separate projects racing to complete indexes to this census. While Delaware and Nevada are searchable by both and it appears that Maine will be very soon, New York and the District of Columbia are not in that category. New York, the most populist state in 1940 is only 47% indexed by the consortium headed by FamilySearch and So if your ancestors were in New York, you will need to look for them on Ancestry. If you don't have a subscription, don't worry. This census will be accessible there free of charge at least through 2013. 

On the other hand the consortium announced yesterday that it had passed the halfway point of its index of all 132 million names enumerated that year:

The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project announced today that its searchable index of 1940 U.S. census records has reached – and surpassed – the halfway mark toward completion. Thanks to the efforts of more than 125,000 volunteers, more than 75 million names from the 1940 U.S. census have been indexed with 18 state records already available to the public on all Project partner websites, including the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA),, and The records will also be made available in more than 7,000 public libraries nationwide in the coming months by ProQuest. The national service project, the first and largest of its kind, aims to establish a comprehensive searchable database and make the 1940 U.S. census records available for free.
You will need to check on the progress of both of these ambitious projects every few days if you have not yet been able to find the record for you ancestors in the 1940 Census. How have your searches been going so far?

Friday, June 1, 2012

1940 US Census Name Indexing Status

I am amazed at how fast the 1940 Census is being indexed. The images have been available for just 2 months and many states are completely indexed and can be searched by name. These include:
New Hampshire

Some of these are small state which were relatively easy to index, but Virginia and Florida? Even California is 97% indexed. On the other hand, Illinois where most of my wife’s ancestors were living is only 28% complete; North Carolina is only 15% complete and Tennessee 25%. Unfortunately until these states are completely indexed, searching by name will not be available.

Several other states are 100% indexed but are not yet searchable by name because the indexes have not be fully processed. They will be available soon.  They include:
South Dakota

You can check on the status of your favorite state. After you have clicked on the link in the previous sentence, run your cursor over your state of interest. 

Thank you to Family Search for taking the lead in this huge volunteer effort. And thank you to the volunteers who have made this possible because of their "love of the game." This is a great service to the genealogical community.